In case you haven't noticed, Raven Madison is goth. She's also a mournful outsider whom nobody understands, and she's hopelessly in love with a vampire who is basically a male version of her. And while Ellen Schreiber tries to stir things up in "Vampire Kisses 2: Kissing Coffins," this sequel to her inexplicably popular vampire romance is more of the same -- hilariously overwrought teenybopper romance, flat characters, and a vampire mythos thinner than tissue paper.
With Alexander gone, Raven has gone emo... or rather, less self-consciously emo than before. And after watching a hokey vampire romance with the cutesy name of "Kissing Coffins," she decides to go searching for him in the neighboring town (which she calls "Hipsterville"). Because in real life, all populations are segregated into "normal" and "weirdo of every variety and degree," and stuck in towns accordingly. Riiiight.
But of course, she runs into an Evil ShockRockerGoth vampire named Jagger at a local cliche goth club -- and he follows her back to Dullsville, where he kidnaps Raven and tries to force her into a vampire covenant ceremony at the graveyard. It turns out he has a hilariously contrived reason to hate Alexander, who arrives in the nick of time to save his beloved Hot Topic Goth sweetie-pie -- and though they're glad to be reunited, Jagger is still planning his revenge on Alexander.
It becomes painfully apparent in "Vampire Kisses 2: Kissing Coffins" that Ellen Schreiber is not actually doing an elaborate parody of the vampire-romance genre. She's in deadly earnest, and genuinely believes this to be serious stuff... when, in fact, it makes "Twilight" and its ilk look like deep and emotionally complex classics.
Too bad there's no real plot, just Raven contemplating how GOTH GOTH GOTH she is in every way, and wandering randomly around Hipsterville asking random people about Alexander (like an actor who PLAYS Dracula). Halfway through the book, Schreiber apparently realizes that this is a thin plot even for a teen romance, so she tries to stir things up by throwing a bad guy into the mix, and has Alexander pop out of nowhere to save Raven from a hilariously cheesy vampire "wedding" ceremony... and the plot just sort of sputters out there.
Nor has Schreiber's writing improved much -- she recycles some lame word puns ("knight of night") and views everything through a glass not-so-darkly ("Moss and ivy grew on the roof like a gothic Chia Pet" -- a gothic Chia pet?). And while she attempts to spin up a secret vampire subculture, her bloodsucking mythos is as thin as her plot -- apparently vampires are DEAD, but they can produce similarly dead offspring as well as LIVE human babies... no, it doesn't make any sense to me either.
Raven remains the same selfish, whiny, immature wannabe as she was before, with her contempt for all non-"freaks" and her shallow infatuation with vampirism. Schreiber wildly overemphasizes what a mallgoth Raven is -- every single thing she owns or comes into contact with must be UberGoth (including her TABLE LAMP). Schreiber also tries to flesh out the tepid Alexander... and fails miserably. Apparently he's the offspring of vampire bohemians (wha?) and boohoo, he wishes he were human. Yawn.
"Vampire Kisses 2: Kissing Coffins" is a painfully silly, plotless mess of a vampire romance -- and the supposedly eternal true love of Alexander and Raven is as thin and ridiculous as their characterizations. A fangless wonder.