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Title: Fangs and Stilettos Author: Anthony DiFiore Publisher: inGroup Press ISBN: 978-1935725077 Pages: 256, Paperback/Kindle Genre: Young Adult/Humor Reviewed by: Brandon Nolta, Pacific Book Review Date Review Completed: September 22, 2012
The world can be a place of wonder and mystery, and it’s tempting to think sometimes that there are secret societies and conspiracies in the halls of power. What if, though, there was a secret society in the world, a society comprised of many beings of strange and immense power, which was responsible for the global machinations of… the fashion industry? Wait, fashion? That’s the odd and fabulous world Anthony DiFiore illuminates in Fangs and Stilettos. As the book opens, readers are introduced to Natasha and Marciano Genet, twin siblings adopted by famed designers Maude and Claude, who appear to have the world at their feet. Working in the industry – Natasha for her mom, Marciano for his mom’s arch-rival – both love what they do, and have a dazzlingly vast wardrobe to show for it. However, there is much the siblings don’t know, and things began to fall into place when the siblings learn a massive secret: the fashion industry is stuffed to the gills with supernatural beings – vampires, mummies, werewolves and more – who are bound to the pursuit of sartorial style by a powerful curse cast thousands of years ago by the mother of all such beings. Even more disturbing, Marciano and Natasha are Thirteens, among the most powerful of the magical kind, whose powers are amorphous and not easily taught or invoked. Thrust into a plot that threatens all supernatural beings, and their families in particular, Marciano and Natasha must work with their mummified aunt, an Amazonian bodyguard, a couple of vampires and their technologycontrolling adoptive sister to stop a pair of sorceress sisters from blowing the lid off the fashion industry and exposing every magical person on earth. As one might expect from the summary given, DiFiore’s book is not intended to be a serious fantasy. Fortunately, the writing doesn’t fail the story; DiFiore keeps a light tone throughout, and while some of the characters do monumentally stupid things, things never become too farcical to stay afloat. Stereotypes abound to a certain extent – two of the most fashion-conscious male characters are presented as gay in probably realistic but overly familiar ways – but the skill with which situations and
plots are set up keeps the story from getting bogged down in cliché. No matter how outrageous the action gets, DiFiore clearly cares for the characters, giving them a touch of real emotional development even as their behavior goes over the top. The cliffhanger ending makes DiFiore’s plans for continuing the story abundantly clear, but given the humor and warmth evident throughout this narrative, readers won’t mind coming back to this universe for another set of adventures with Marciano, Natasha and the rest of their unusual clan.