The Silver Kiss is told by two characters: Zoe, a teenage girl with more on her plate than she feels she can handle and Simon, a 300 year old vampire. This was written long before the teenage vampire craze took over the literary world so don't back out of this review just yet. Despite that this book very much involves a vampire character and his back story I feel that the supernatural isn't the main topic of this book. It's the idea of handling death.
In that, the book is amazing. Through Annette Curtis Klause's creative use of words she gives you this story of two people who are both very lonely, both dealing with the occurrence of death, and yet underlying it all is this sensitive discussion of a very normal, human function that is at times very hard to talk about.
Simon is capable of bringing death out of his basic need to live. He feeds off of life and can easily kill from taking too much. Other vampires take lives without a care, leaving families broken and in mourning. But Simon has suffered his own loses, having seen death as a mortal as well, and he understands the harm and grief it can cause.
Zoe is dealing with that hopeless point of waiting for death. Not for herself but for her mother. Suffering from cancer, Klause writes of Zoe's hopes, desperation, confusion and heartbreak as she witnesses her mother's slow decline. As someone who has witnessed family members suffer from cancer (and some pass) I found Klause to have been dead on with the emotions felt during that horrible time. The most poignant and moving way Zoe was attempting to handle what was occurring to her mother was her considering magic spells. Please, don't immediately think "oh it's a supernatural book, now we're getting into magic" because that isn't the case. Zoe is at that desperate moment of consider any possibility. Does magic exist? Can you make someone you love stop being ill and prevent them from dying? At that point a person is willing to consider anything and hope that they'll find a cure.
I believe that handling death was what this book about while the two characters in play helped support it through the actions they did. There is a spark of romance but nothing too overboard and Simon, although he looks rather dashing, is more grizzly than most vampires that are in literature today. Sleeping in dust and dirt, exhibiting human bodily functions, but nothing horribly graphic so don't concern yourself with that.
I read this book originally when I was in Middle School. I had dived into The Vampire Chronicles and it kicked off my obsession with vampires. I wanted more, all the vampire books I could get, but there weren't many options on the market at that time (hey, it was late 90's). When I read The Silver Kiss, it came at a time just under two years since I had experienced my first death (my grandfather) and the book made me cry. It wrapped up how I had felt so clearly, so perfectly, and its ending was uplifting. It gave me hope and an understanding that I hadn't quite been able to grasp beforehand. I suddenly got it.
This will be a favorite of mine for years to come and I'm sure I'll come back to it time and time again. I bought a copy of the book a few years ago and was really surprised that I never wrote a review on it. I love this book, hands down and I hope you will as well.