First Kill Book Series in Order – Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite Reading Guide

First Kill Book Series in Order - Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite Reading Guide

Netflix has been producing stellar content for years now but still manages to surprise its viewers with new, innovative stuff – and fresh takes on well-known genres. Recently, one particular show called First Kill amazed viewers with incredible storytelling and a hot take on both the vampire genre and teenage romance.

In case you didn’t know, First Kill was actually based on a short story written by V.E. Schwab that can be found as a part of an anthology named Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite. It consists of eleven short vampire stories with a fresh take on the genre.

If you want to sink your teeth into some awesome vampire reading, the book will certainly amaze you. Here’s a complete reading guide, including all the short stories from the Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite anthology. Enjoy!

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite Anthology: At A Glance

The First Kill short story is only one of eleven short stories in the book, all written by incredibly talented young authors. Some stories are more “horror-ish,” while others focus on the topic from a more humorous side. Here’s the list of all the short stories in Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite at a glance.

  1. Seven Nights for Dying – Tessa Gratton
  2. The Boys from Blood River – Rebecca Roanhorse
  3. Senior Year Sucks – Julie Murphy
  4. The Boy and the Bell – Heidi Heilig
  5. A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire – Samira Ahmed
  6. In Kind – Kayla Whaley
  7. Vampires Never Say Die – Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker
  8. Bestiary – Laura Ruby
  9. Mirrors, Windows & Selfies – Mark Oshiro
  10. The House of Black Sapphires – Dhonielle Clayton
  11. First Kill – V.E. Schwab

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite Anthology: Fully Explained

1. Seven Nights for Dying – Tessa Gratton

Tessa Gratton’s short story, Seven Nights for Dying, is a fantastic opening to the anthology and one of the stories from the book that I loved the most. Many vampire stories focus mostly on the “feeding” aspect of vampirism and that “thirst” for blood. And although it includes some of those elements, too, Gratton’s story takes a very different approach.

Instead of focusing on only one aspect, how about weighing all the aspects of vampirism on a much bigger scale? That’s exactly what the main protagonist of the story has to do. A teen girl has seven days to decide whether she wants to be turned into a vampire or not. 

She weighs all the aspects of eternal life on a bigger scale and how she could use it to do some good and have an impact on a historical scale despite the blood drinking. It’s a very well-written story where the character has a choice to make instead of just being bitten and having no say in it.

2. The Boys from Blood River – Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse’s story, The Boys from Blood River, is perhaps the darkest entry in the entire anthology, but a truly epic one nevertheless. It’s a fantastic story about fitting in and feeling like you belong – but also about realizing that the grass isn’t always greener in someone else’s backyard.

Lukas is a gay teenager working at a diner. He’s bullied for being different at school, and he contemplates how great it would be just to be somewhere where he feels like he belongs. Meanwhile, there’s an urban legend in his town about the Blood River Boys – a group of vampires living at the river that gets summoned if you play or sing their song.

One night, Lukas is closing the diner when all of a sudden, the Blood River Boys song starts playing on the jukebox. Lukas thinks about how awesome it would be to join the Boys and be one of them, so he jokingly sings the song in hopes of summoning them. 

Be careful what you wish for, though, as he actually summons the Blood River Boys, who don’t really have friendly intentions. Lukas quickly realizes that summoning them wasn’t the brightest idea.

3. Senior Year Sucks – Julie Murphy

Senior Year Sucks has so many layers of storytelling, which is typical for Julie Murphy, an outstanding young author. It includes classic teenage problems, breaking the stigmas about beauty standards and being fat or skinny, and realizing that we have to get rid of our own biases if we want to truly experience life.

The main character’s name is Jolene. She’s a cheerleader but also a prolific vampire hunter coming from a family who exterminates vampires for generations. Jolene is also a chubby girl, struggling with self-esteem because of her body. Anyways, she meets this wonderful, mysterious, cool vampire girl that makes her realize that not all of them are brainless monsters.

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Jolene starts to question her belief system while also questioning the whole system where you have to be skinny or look a particular way to be worthy. She soon realizes that beliefs sometimes keep us from seeing the truth and that you don’t have to look or feel any particular way to be awesome.

4. The Boy and the Bell – Heidi Heilig

This one sent shivers down my spine, as the whole bell concept is incredibly creepy to me. Did you know that being buried alive was not an uncommon occurrence earlier in history? That’s why many people were buried with a bell up on the surface attached to a string that leads all the way down into the coffin. 

So, if the person was accidentally buried alive, they could ring the bell and be rescued. Well, the main protagonist of this story, Will – a trans teen boy – learns that the bell ringing in a graveyard doesn’t always mean good news.

Will is a trans boy who wants to go to medical school but lacks the funds, so he digs up bodies in the graveyard to give them to the school in exchange for the studies. One night at the graveyard, a grave bell rings, and Will uncovers the coffin, only to realize that the one below is a violent, cruel vampire ready to rip out his throat.

The story is great because it includes traditional, historical elements and facts, mixing them with new, contemporary problems such as expensive education, preventing talented young people from ever reaching their potential.

5. A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire – Samira Ahmed

Samira Ahmed’s entry to the anthology is probably the funniest out of all the stories, with a huge dose of dark humor intertwined with real social problems stemming from the roots of our society. It’s an allegory for all the colonizers throughout history who come to a place, ravage it, change it according to their standards, and then leave.

The entire story revolves around an app or an instruction manual called Vampiresand that helps young, newly-turned vampires to cope with the change and learn how to get accustomed to the vampiric lifestyle. It explains that you are never alone. No matter how different you are, there are those similar to you, those who love you and want you to succeed.

Samira Ahmed’s writing style and brilliant, dark sense of humor add another layer to the story that’s really unique, innovative and a breath of fresh air in the vampire genre.

6. In Kind – Kayla Whaley

Kayla Whaley’s In Kind is an incredibly deep story, even if it might seem simple on the first read. It’s a story about a disabled girl whose father decides to kill her out of “mercy” because he can’t bear taking care of her anymore. He doesn’t know, however, that a vampire saved his daughter from death by turning her into a vampire.

Now, the girl’s senses and emotions are extremely heightened, and she gets overflown with anger towards her father for killing her and then capitalizing on the sympathy others show for him – but not her, the real victim. She struggles with the decision – will she show him mercy or come at him with a vengeance?

The deeper layer of the story comes with the realization that, despite vampirism healing the girl’s health, it doesn’t take away the disability she had since her birth. Kayla Whaley is a disabled person as well and wanted to present that one has to accept who they are, and there’s no such thing as a magical way to change that.

7. Vampires Never Say Die – Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker

Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker are the authors of this story and the chief editors of the entity  Vampires Never Get Old anthology. The story tackles several modern issues, mostly related to social media, and how you can virtually become anything you want without people ever suspecting that somebody entirely different is behind the profile.

Brittany is a vampire who carefully observes the behavior of normal humans around her and develops a persona of social media, “pretending” to be a vampire and becoming an influencer with the fake persona she created. She befriends Theolinda and texts her for two years, and they become very close friends.

However, Theo never even suspects that Brittany’s identity actually isn’t just a fake persona created for social media. When she throws a birthday party for Brittany and invites her friends to join, she realizes that they are actually real-life vampires, and things go from zero to run-for-your-life in a second.

8. Bestiary – Laura Ruby

I loved this particular story incredibly much because I actually could relate to some of the aspects of the main character’s personality. Jude is an employee in a zoo that has had an incredibly rough past and feels a stronger affection towards animals than humans, who have done nothing but hurt her for their own capitalistic gain.

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One day, she’s forcefully turned into a vampire against her will, so she struggles with her newfound thirst while feeling more comfortable spending time around animals than ever before. The story tackles the question of who the real beasts are in this world – the animals that we call beasts, or us, humans?

9. Mirrors, Windows & Selfies – Mark Oshiro

Mark Oshiro’s writing style is quite unique, as well as his way of storytelling. It’s done in the form of blog posts written by a boy named Cisco. He’s a natural vampire – a being that shouldn’t even exist. Both of his parents are vampires, and they hide Cisco from the world, forcing him to live under strict rules so as not to be seen.

He grows frustrated with his life, where he can never “see” himself. Not just in the mirror, but actually see who he is and what lies out there in the world that he can never experience. Cisco starts writing a blog under the pseudonym invisibleboy, talking about his life as a natural vampire that shouldn’t even exist.

I loved the modern storytelling as we read Cisco’s blogposts to grasp the story, just like his fictional followers did. They never believed he was really a vampire, which only adds another layer to Cisco being “invisible.” It’s a deep story that you’ll thoroughly enjoy.

10. The House of Black Sapphires – Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle Clayton’s story is deep, riveting, and tackles deep societal issues told in an unorthodox way. The Turners are a black family whose women are incredibly beautiful – because they are vampires. They’ve been made as such by their white vampire “owners,” who enjoyed biting and turning their enslaved for fun.

The Turner family is now always on the move to avoid detection, as they do not age. When they are close to detection, they move, and this time, they go to New Orleans. Bea is the lead character of the story, and she hopes that she can find love in New Orleans that will last forever, despite her vampiric state.

It’s really a fantastic story filled with intrigue, and atop some incredibly amusing vampire action, it’s riddled with deeper societal issues, etiquettes, etc. And, to top it all off, Dhonielle Clayton’s writing is so fluid and immersive that you’ll devour the story in a sitting and yearn for more.

11. First Kill – V.E. Schwab

Last but not least is the story that the Netflix show was actually made from. Schwab’s First Kill is a deep, riveting story of forbidden love, told in a completely new, bold, and interesting way. Julliette and Calliope are two gay girls who come from completely opposite backgrounds. One is a vampire, while the other comes from a family of prolific monster hunters.

Despite their differences, the two fell in love. However, they both struggle with their upbringing and the traditions set out by their families. One realizes that not all the vampires are crazy, unhinged monsters that need to be exterminated, while the other sees that not all the hunters are who they are because they choose to be.

The two girls struggle between their love and their upbringing, but one particular thing I love about the story is that the girls are gay, but the story doesn’t focus on their struggle with sexuality or something like that. It feels like whenever there are gay lead characters, the story always revolves around them exploring and accepting their sexuality.

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However, in this story, the characters know who they are and don’t struggle with it at all. They struggle with other problems. Problems that everyone has.

The Netflix series has a bit of a different vibe than the story, but Schwab worked closely with the writers to adapt the source material as perfectly as possible. It turned out quite interesting and a fresh take on the whole teenage romance/vampire genre. 

I’m not a particular fan of such stories, as I find them tried and worn-out, but if you’re into this kind of stuff, you’ll enjoy the book and the Netflix series.

  • Luka loves psychological thrillers, horrors, and mysteries. However, high fantasy and fiction are his primary interest, especially Tolkien's Middle-earth universe, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Marvel universe. Amateur filmmaker, screenwriter, cinematography, and trivia enthusiast.