My Favorite Book of 2022 (So Far): Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman Review

Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman is one of those rare books that made me feel seen. This isn’t exactly without complication - it made me feel simultaneously vulnerable and as though I have never had any original experiences.

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Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Recommendation: Buy (available at Bookshop.org*)
My Recommendation System, Explained

Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman is one of those rare books that made me feel seen. This isn’t without complication. It made me feel simultaneously vulnerable and as though I have never had any original experiences. With the main character, Sol, being a trans man, a vampire, and deeply into fandom, I felt like this book was written for me. Heck, Ao3 gets name dropped in the first scene, which made me place the novel down and stare into the distance from shock. The book even has the current trans name trends down (prophets are in; Sol is short for Solomon).

Beyond the immediate connection I had with the character, Dead Collections is a well-paced novel that takes place in a mostly world - except that vampirism is real. Like most books in this genre, it is a fantasy romance. Sol is working at an archive when he receives a collection about Feet of Clay, a 90s sci-fi show that he was deep into the fandom of. With the collection (left behind by the series’ showrunner after her death), he also meets the showrunner’s widow, Elise.

With Elise, Sol begins to process the way that he’d been living: disconnected from others and alone.  Of course, not everything can be easy. Sol’s been living in his office as a practical matter. If he had to arrive before dawn and leave after dusk, his commute would be a nightmare. However, one of the newer hires discovers his living arrangements - and she doesn’t like Sol at all. While falling in love, he has to navigate finding a rental apartment that meets his needs and won’t leave him incinerated.

This love story touched me deeply. Like Sol, I also have had very few romantic relationships in my adult life and had accepted that as a way of being. This is a love story for people who don’t think love stories are for them, and unfolds in a way that feels tender and real. Both characters are vulnerable with each in other in ways that encourage them to grow, and ultimately is about the hope that trans people can find happiness.

Pick it up if you like:

  • Monsters in Love
  • Queer relationships that feel truly queer
  • Fandom and how it interacts with identity

Content Warnings:

  • Assault
  • Transphobia and Homophobia
  • Ableism

Representation Notes:

  • Transmasculine author
  • Jewish trans man main character
  • Vampirism as disability
  • Fat, gender-questioning love interest

Not Sure? Try Some Other Reviews!


*Transgenre Books is a Bookshop Affiliate, which is an online book marketplace that supports independent bookstores with profit sharing. If you make a purchase through a link to Bookshop.org, I earn approximately 10% in commission. Choosing to buy via my affiliate link helps keep this site free and running, but I also strongly support use of your local library and used bookstores.


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