Fangs and Stilettos
inGroup Press (2012)
Reviewed by Madeleine Sullivan (age 18) for Reader Views (5/12)
I have read my fair share of the recently popular supernatural-themed books, ranging from the “Twilight” series to “The Zombie Survival Guide,” some of which were well done, and some of which were... less excellent to say the least. “Fangs and Stilettos” by Anthony DiFiore definitely fell on the excellent side of the spectrum, and was a fun take on vampires and “supernaturals” (a general term for zombies, vampires, werewolves, mummies, oracles, and amazonions, to name a few of the categories).
In “Fangs and Stilettos,” supernaturals have been cursed to never reveal their identities and to only ever work in the fashion industry, all to keep the supernaturals from wreaking havoc on the rest of the world. No one is sure what would happen if a supernatural tried to break the curse, but the international organization Caligae polices all supernaturals to make sure no one ever needs to find out.
Of course, where there is power, there are power-hungry people, and this is only too true at Caligae. The leader of Caligae has a plot to unleash her own power and attain ultimate dictatorial world domination. Into this backdrop are placed an unskilled, naïve set of teenagers, just realizing their places in the chaotic fashion industry. As naïve as they are, they do not have the same fear of Caligae and may be the only people capable of saving the world.
Throughout the book, I found the plot unpredictable, and felt myself carried along by the twists and turns. Many young adult books tend to be driven by weak characters, written with formulaic plots, or dominated by silly love triangles; “Fangs and Stilettos” had strong characters, and it was refreshing to see a plot driven, yes, partially by these strong characters, but also by dramatic schemes of world domination.
The writing was also excellent. I find that there are two types of good writers – those you notice and those you don’t. While I enjoy basking in witty word play, it is also enjoyable to forget that I am reading and just enjoy the story, a task DiFiore did excellently. The pictures painted were vivid, the characters believable, and the story central.
I would recommend “Fangs and Stilettos” to a variety of readers in the late-middle-school to high-school range, particularly those intrigued by fantasy, but looking for a light-hearted unique take. Of course, anyone in love with fashion, or head over heels with supernaturals should also read “Fangs and Stilettos.” Anthony DiFiore has crafted a perfect vacation read, just in time for summer.