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Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives, Volume 1    by Ellen Schreiber & rem order for
Vampire Kisses
by Ellen Schreiber
Order:  USA  Can
Katherine Tegen, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Blood Relatives is a new installment of Ellen Schreiber's Vampire Kisses series, but in manga form. Even though I had not read any in the series, the manga was easy to get into thanks to the first couple of pages explaining the backstory.

Raven is the ultimate goth girl she even has a real-life vampire as her boyfriend. Thanks to her boyfriend Alex, her life is almost everything she wants it to be (except she can never go on a daytime date to an amusement park like she dreams about in one scene). Still, her nights are spent on romantic dates with Alex, including a picnic in the local cemetery. There, the two discover recent graves missing headstones. The mystery deepens when Alex finds a toy that belongs to his half-vampire cousin Claude. Raven discovers that Claude and his posse have come to town to get blood vials left by Alex's grandmother. Unfortunately, they find her, and now want to use her to get to Alex. Could Raven's fantasy become a nightmare?

This first volume of Blood Relatives reads very fast. The story moves along at an almost breakneck pace, something that is often missing in Original English Language manga as American comic readers are used to moving the plot with dialogue instead of pictures. Schreiber's dialogue is just enough to explain what is happening and build the suspense and never overpowers rem's plot-moving panels. While uneven in places, rem's artwork captures the goth aspects of the series. She also has a knack for drawing American bishonens (beautiful boys) that will make many teenage fans swoon.

Goth manga fans will definitely enjoy Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives. The ending is a good cliffhanger, that will leave readers anxiously waiting for the next installment. It also creates an interest in the novel series, which might move some mainly manga-readers into a pictureless book.

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