Prom Nights from Hell
Stories by Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Meg Cabot, Lauren Myracle, Michele Jaffe
April 10, 2007
HarperTeen, 304 pages
In this exciting collection, bestselling authors Meg Cabot (How to Be Popular), Kim Harrison (A Fistful of Charms), Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), and Lauren Myracle (ttyl) take bad prom nights to a whole new level—a paranormally bad level. Wardrobe malfunctions and two left feet don’t hold a candle to discovering your date is the Grim Reaper—and he isn’t here to tell you how hot you look.
From angels fighting demons to a creepy take on getting what you wish for, these five stories will entertain better than any DJ in a bad tux. No corsage or limo rental necessary. Just good, scary fun.
— Amazon.com description
This wasn’t my favorite collection (one review on Amazon called it “uneven,” and I’d have to agree), but the tales of paranormal prom nights were amusing overall.
The highlight for me was “The Exterminator’s Daughter,” a Meg Cabot tale about a young vamp fighter. The “never read anything by Meg that I didn’t love” hot streak continues! It was cute and funny, and I think that woman’s brain is a story factory/gold mine. I’d like her to be my friend, please.
“The Corsage” by Lauren Myracle was fittingly creepy and encouraged me to look up more of her work. Fans of the Madison Avery books by Kim Harrison will probably get a kick out the “prequel” included here, but this and the remaining stories seemed too much like book previews to really catch my attention as standalone stories.
If you like this book, you might also like: Love Is Hell, a collection I enjoyed a bit more (stories by Scott Westerfield, Melissa Marr, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin and Laurie Faria Stolarz) because the stories seemed to stand stronger by themselves.
I just read two boy point-of-view books in a row, so why not two reaper books in a row? Let’s break the first one down…
Once Dead, Twice Shy
By Kim Harrison
2009, HarperCollins, 240 pages
Madison’s prom was killer—literally. For some reason she’s been targeted by a dark reaper—yeah, that kind of reaper—intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madison was able to snag his strange, glowing amulet and get away.
Now she’s stuck on Earth—dead but not gone. Somehow the amulet gives her the illusion of a body, allowing her to toe the line between life and death. She still doesn’t know why the dark reaper is after her, but she’s not about to just sit around and let fate take its course.
— Amazon.com description
So Madison’s dead, but not really? I guess she died, but then awoke in a morgue and stole an “amulet” (power source?) from something called a “dark reaper” that is now giving her the illusion of a body when she wears it around her neck. With the help of a “light reaper,” a guardian angel and her 100 percent human crush, she’s got to…do something…I think…to like, save people?
Yeah, well, on the downside: Listen, I know this doesn’t make much sense, and it’s not just because I’m explaining it poorly. That’s really how I felt most of this book. I’m all for characters “changing roles midseason,” as a friend of mine puts it. But when a good guy turns bad so quickly and without any explorations of his motivations, all you’re really left with is a major case of whiplash. I found myself skipping through large portions of the text, and a lot of the resolutions just seemed all too convenient.
But listen, on the plus side: It was still a fun read. I really read it in one evening. And the main character’s a strong girl with plenty of spunk. I can’t knock that!
Also…there was a guardian angel who was like a saucy version of Tinkerbell.
Everyone loves a Tinkerbell.
Moral of the story: Don’t fear the reaper?
If you are interested, just for a quick paranormal read, check out the sequel, Early to Death, Early to Rise.