Relax, readers: this isn’t another YA paranormal romance that’s as emo as emo can get, though it initially seems like that. Cold Kiss actually has some humour, the kind that’s funny without trying to be, so there’s a natural ease. Yes, there’s a heroine with a “special” name (Wren), sort of a love triangle (undead Danny and somewhat-sorcerer Gabriel), and family secrets (using energy), but the author is clever enough to keep the story from falling into overdone territory.
We don’t get into the details of how Wren and Danny fell in love, but people in love can do the stupidest and selfish things – like resurrect from the grave a boyfriend and keeping him in a neighbour’s garage. As Danny clings tighter to Wren, our narrator realises she made a terrible mistake, but is dead-set on solving the problem alone. Yes, I know we’re supposed to keep adults out of YA fiction, but Wren has several opportunities to ask her mother for help, and it would be smart to. Might even be a nice mother-daughter bonding experience. Alas, she doesn’t.
And Wren’s a bit contradictory when it comes to her friends: “…even when Danny was alive, I didn’t abandon them, not completely, the way some girls do as soon as they have a boyfriend.” Yeah, but after Danny dies and is “brought back”, Wren spends all her time with him, blowing off her friends. She claims she really wants to get back in their good books, but instead she’s off with new pal and potential love interest Gabriel. But they forgive her.
Amy Garvey crafts a different kind of zombie novel with an odd shot of whimsy. Cold Kiss contains magic, family secrets, and more than just a little Weekend at Bernie‘s vibe. It’s kind of fun, and works really well as a stand-alone. And I hope it is – it doesn’t need a series. Though runaway zombies make for a rather entertaining read.