Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives

Volume 1

Written By: Ellen Schreiber

Art By: rem, AKA:Priscilla Hamby

Published By : TOKYOPOP and HarperCollins Publishers

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Vampire Kisses started out as a series of teen fiction written by Ellen Schreiber.  The lead character, Raven, is a teenager immersed in the gothic world with a desire to be something more than just ordinary.  Enter Alexander, a young teen of the night who sweeps her off her feet and into romance.  As an added bonus, Alexander just happens to be a vampire, much to Raven’s delight.  Although she hasn’t allowed Alexander to turn her yet, Raven has often fantasized about what it would be like to be with a vampire and to become one.  Vampire Kisses became an extremely popular novel series among teenagers.  When TOKYOPOP and HarperCollins approached author Ellen Schreiber about making a manga series based upon the novels, Schreiber happily greeted the opportunity to see her written characters comes to life through the world of manga.   

            In Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives: Volume 1, the first of a projected three-part series, we meet Raven, self-professed Goth-girl and her teenaged vampire boyfriend, Alexander.  The two have been dating each other for a short time, but Raven finds a happiness in Alexander’s presence that is lacking in the town of Dullsville.  Although nervous about allowing Alexander to turn her, Raven is certain that Alexander is the right man for her.  Their relationship is a tad strained.  After all, Raven can only see Alexander at night, which reeks havoc on her sleeping hours.  However, Raven is determined to make the relationship work.

            But on one nightly excursion, the two find four freshly dug graves and discover that a new menace has come to Dullsville.  Alexander’s half-vampire / half-human cousin Claude has come to town.  Claude has always been jealous of Alexander and is determined to find the secret to becoming a true vampire – a secret that he believes lies hidden in Alexander’s mansion.  Together with his crew, Claude enrolls in Raven’s school, in an effort to get close to Alexander’s girlfriend and gain access to his mansion.  But is there a hidden agenda that Raven and Alexander don’t know about?  Could there be more to Claude’s scheme?

            Vampire Kisses translates very well into the world of manga.  The novel is written in a quirky style that suits the world of manga to a tee.  The story will peek the interest of any teen and they will be able to relate fully to Raven and her struggles.  True, not every teenager has to deal with the idea of dating a vampire, but every teenager does struggle with being different in the world of teenage cliques.  In addition, every teenager struggles with how far to go in a relationship, just like Raven and her struggles with allowing Alexander to turn her into a vampire.  This “turning” would equate in the teenage world with “going all the way” and thus, her struggle is something that teens could relate to.

            The art work by rem is perfect.  In most manga, the character continue to wear the same clothing throughout the tale, but rem’s artwork is immersed in fashion sense.  Every character is dressed fashionably and the outfits change as the days pass.  The artwork is designed to match the mood of the characters.  Should the characters be very serious, the artwork is very detailed and almost lifelike.  When the mood changes to amusing, the art is less detail oriented and more cartoonish.

            Vampire Kisses: Blood Relations: Volume One contains a behind the scenes look at the making of the manga novel.  Readers can find out what kind of work went in to making each character.  They can view the character at its most premature state and compare it to the finished product.  Also attached is an excerpt of book four of the Vampire Kisses novel series, Dance With A Vampire.

            Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives is a well-drawn manga with an equally compelling story that will relate well to its teenage audience.  At a price of $7.99 U.S., it’s a guilty pleasure that won’t break the average teenager’s bank.


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