Daughters Of Darkness

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Umm where is the erotic in this erotica?

About half of these stories would be rated PG-13, and most of the rest would only barely earn an R rating. Most of these stories are very well written, but I wasn't looking for a vampire romance book when I bought this. There is a serious lack of sex in this book.
Published:
Pros:
Most stories are well written
Cons:
There is a lot of romance, but not a lot of sex.
Rating by reviewer:
2
extremely useful review

About author

This is an anthology of short stories Edited by Pam Keesey. She has edited multiple erotic anthologies about vampires. Her bio in the back of the book also states that she wrote her Masters thesis on lesbian vampires in literature. Pam impressed me with her overall ability to take 10 very different authors and scenarios and make them all fit together seamlessly. She did a fantastic job making the collection.

Pam's choices in this, kind of felt political to me. I am a bisexual woman, so I don't need to be shown that queer relationships can be beautiful. I got the impression that it was exactly that point that the editor was trying to make. The major theme in each story was the beauty of the lesbian relationship whether it was long lasting or fleeting.

There are 10 authors in this book, and each one has a very different style of writing. All of them are talented, and most focus on the sensualism of femininity. Each author has a very different take on the vampire myth and a different idea about lesbianism.
    • Multiple contributoring authors
    • Engaging

Content / Style / Audience

My porn and erotica have been severely leaning towards lesbian interactions since I got together with my boyfriend. Having all the male/female sexuality I could want leaves me craving hot girl on girl action. All of these authors have talent. There is no argument from me there, but this is not a book I read one handed. I really wanted it to be, but alas, it just wasn't explicit enough for me to get all hot and bothered. I couldn't get worked up enough by any of these to have wandering fingers.

This book has a variety of styles in it, so I want to break them down by author and story individually for you.

Dracula Retold by Zana
This story is 4 pages long and reminiscent of post-modernist literature. Proper grammar and spelling rules are ignored. It's a political piece about women's rights using the basic mythology of Dracula, but set in suburbia. There is no sex, but there are blatant lesbian vampires.

I, Vampire by Jody Scott
Another 4 page story but with a completely different style. This reminded me of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in how it was written. It's about a young girl in the medieval era and her family. She has a cruel streak due to her vampirism and her family rejects her, but she uses her charm to become accepted again. The character craves a woman as a lover.

Carmilla by J. Sheridan LeFanu
This is a 60 page story that is more of a novella. It is broken down into chapters and explores the characters in depth. It reminded me a lot of a victorian novel in style. There is no sexuality in this beyond allusions to a breast grope. It focuses more on a vampire seducing a teenage girl.

Daughter of the Night by Elaine Bergstrom
This one is 7 pages and I found it kind of creepy. It revolves around a minor noble that visits a neighboring family that includes a 13 year old Elizabeth Bathory. In it, she takes him to her vampire lover who uses telepathic commands to force him to have sex with Elizabeth. Forced sex with a minor really made me uncomfortable. This is one of the most explicit stories in the book.

Louisiana: 1850 by Jewelle Gomez
This is a 38 page story that I honestly felt was one of the weakest in the book. The author leaves out important details about the main character and moves through time in a way that I found it hard to keep up with. It resembled Anne Rice in style to me, but the author didn't seem as talented or experienced. This is set in a brothel, but there is no sex.

Lillith by Robbi Sommers
This one is 10 pages. It is set in modern day Louisiana and reminded me a lot of an Anne Rice novel in theme even beyond the setting. There is magic and mystery in this much like Rice's vampire novels. This one actually has sex in it, but it is not the focus of the story and it is short and almost felt like an after thought.

Virago by Karen Marie Christa Minns
This is a 17 page story about an educated woman exploring the Amazon and being abducted by a vampire who seduces her. She has a ghost accompanying her, but I never could understand who the ghost was or why she was in the story in the first place. This story isn't poorly written, but I just couldn't get into it. I was constantly confused or I just didn't care about the main character

The Vampire by Pat Califia
This is 16 pages of BDSM and power negotiation. There is humiliation, whipping, blood play and sex in this. This may have been my favorite out of them because of how the author illustrated domination. It felt real. Some Dominants were sloppy, some were feminine. I liked it a lot. This story has some sex, but it doesn't revolve round the sex.

Oh Captain, My Captain by Katherine V. Forrest
This is a 42 pages in length and is a Science Fiction piece. Both women are strong and very independent. At first this seemed weird to me. Vampires in space just seemed wrong, but the writing was well done and the sex was plentiful and hot. The author makes this work really well.

Minimax by Anna Livia
This is an excerpt from a longer piece. It runs 6 pages and it also very post-modernist. It moves through scenes and characters fluidly. I had a really hard time following this, and I felt confused while reading it. It doesn't contain sex, just romance. The characters aren't developed in this excerpt, so I couldn't get invested.
    • Bdsm
    • Erotica
    • Queer

Design

This is an average size trade paperback book with a semi-discreet title. It's states "Daughters of Darkness: Lesbian Vampire Tales" on the cover and spine and also lists the editor Pam Keesey. My fiance didn't even notice this book when I left it around the house, but my boyfriend did and commented on it, so I would say it isn't super discreet. The picture on the cover is a closeup of two women with vampire fangs, so it isn't super naughty.

What I don't like about this is the covers have a matte finish. This kind of finish never seems to hold up as well as shiny covers in my opinion.
    • Soft cover

Personal comments

I feel that this is a good book for those that prefer reading about the seduction rather than the sex. Every story has a lot of emphasis on seduction and sensuality. I couldn't get into it, but I prefer more hot sex than this provided.

It's almost a little too big to read one handed, but with perseverance I am sure anyone could make it happen. *wink*

Experience

I am an English Major, so I have read some of the most engaging and beautiful pieces of written work in the world. I don't look for a masterpiece in my erotic fiction. In fact, I prefer gritty and dirty erotic fiction. I read erotica for the sex, not to be moved by an expert wordsmith. I wouldn't mind that, but I need there to be sex. The more explicit the better for me.

Almost every single story in this book disappointed me when it came to the sex. Many of them didn't have any sex. There are allusions to it, but there wasn't hot vampire girl on girl action in every story which I felt was a major failing. There was romance and seduction in every story, but some of them didn't even get naked together.

As I am sure you can tell, I am very irritated by this book. The writing is beautiful, but I was bored with it because of how tame it was. I got about halfway through it and didn't want to finish. I made myself because I wanted to do a very thorough review.

This is not a book that I will be reading again.
Follow-up commentary
I couldn't bring myself to read this again. I ended up trading it for a toy.

It was sad, but I didn't think I was ever going to enjoy it.
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This review was edited by
  • wrmbreze wrmbreze
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Comments
  • Loriandhubby
    Loriandhubby  
    thank you so much for the through review
  • Bex1331
    Bex1331  
    I really like that you listed every story and what you liked and didn't like, sounds like it's not a bad book, just marketed poorly.
  • ghent529
    ghent529  
    great review! thanks
  • KrissyNovacaine
    KrissyNovacaine  
    Bex- It was absolutely a great book, it just wasn't at all what I expected, and totally not what I was looking for. Plus the one story about Elizabeth Bathory really creeped me out.
  • Owl
    Owl  
    thanks for the very detailed review
  • Owl
    Owl  
    thanks for the very detailed review
  • SassySam
    SassySam  
    thank you, guess I'll stick to true blood fanfiction
  • Dirtydiggins
    Dirtydiggins  
    Smooth.
  • noofbat
    noofbat  
    Good, detailed review.
  • Cindi025
    Cindi025  
    thx for the review!
  • LoooveMonkey
    LoooveMonkey  
    Thanks for the review.
  • junipersgame
    junipersgame  
    Thanks for the review. The story with the 13-year-old sex makes me shy away from this book... I appreciate the warning!
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