Vampires are some of the most versatile creatures in fiction. Whether they’re used as a conduit for horror, fantasy, or romance, one can’t deny their allure across all genres of fiction. Vampire books are an undying subgenre, and since Bram Stoker published his gothic tour de force Dracula in 1897, vampires have both frightened and attracted us. If you’re in the mood to get a little fangy this spooky season, we’ve curated some vampire books to keep things dark and shadowy.
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10. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
It may seem cliché to include this one on our list, but any diehard vampire fan will tell you that Anne Rice has defined the vampire genre to this day, with a couple of film adaptations as well as a tv show on the way from AMC. And none of these vampire books are quite so delicious as her initial foray into her esteemed Vampire Chronicles, Interview with the Vampire. A vampire named Louis de Pointe du Lac sits down to tell his story, both the one of his life and afterlife. As an added treat, Rice introduced her longest lasting character Lestat de Lioncourt in the novel, a repulsive and fascinating subject that would weave his way into our hearts.
9. Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Nevertheless, life and death are mysterious states, and we know little of the resources of either.
An 1872 predecessor to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this tale often gets lost in the shuffle of early vampire fiction. The novel follows a woman who is preyed upon by a female vampire, and was an early representation of a queer vampire, with Carmilla expressing her desire towards Laura, the protagonist. Sexuality itself is never explicitly commented on, however the story is an underrated gothic horror full of striking imagery. A must read for any fan of gothic fiction.
8. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
A little Southern character adds an extra layer to this vampire tale by one of our favourites of all time, Grady Hendrix. A keen character study of mothers in the south in the 1990s as well as a horrific villain, Southern Book Club delivers laughs and dry humour to rival it’s scares, and takes its place amongst all of the great vampire books that have come before it. It’s clear that readers and studios feel the same way, as the book is in development as a television series. Vampire lovers rejoice.
7. Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
God, the vampire women! What a pack of foaming she-cats!
Kim Newman interweaves historical characters along with the supernatural in this Victorian vampire tale. Vlad Tepes concerts with the Queen, Jack the Ripper is at large, and Victorian London is a downright scary place to be. If vampire books generally bore you, this mashup of people and their stories is sure to keep you wanting more.
6. Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
A terrifying look at what it means to be an outsider, Fledgling follows a young woman with apparent amnesia, who soon discovers that she has powers that she cannot explain. The conclusion? She is in fact a middle-aged vampire, and must now some to grips with that knowledge, and her own immortality.
5. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
I love beauty, but sometimes a thing lovely to behold conceals vileness and evil within.
Yes, you read that right, Mr. Game of Thrones himself. Who knew that the author behind one of the most popular fantasy series of all time had dipped his toes into the vampire books pool as well? It’s 1857, and riverboat captain Abner Marsh agrees to take the haunting spectre that is Joshua York across the Mississippi; the man is beyond strange, but Marsh isn’t exactly in the financial position to ask too many questions. But soon, he’ll wish that he had…
4. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Cementing his horror name along with his famous father Stephen King, Joe Hill delivers an action packed modern vampire epic for a new generation. Victoria McQueen has an uncanny ability to find lost things; objects, answers to questions and the like. She’s also the only person to ever have escaped Charlie Manx, a shadowy figure who lures children into his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith after which they’re never seen again. Charlie’s never forgotten about Vic, and he’s returned with vengeance in mind and a brand new victim: Victoria’s son.
3. Metallic Red by Jennifer Ann Shore
With no need or desire to sleep, my nights were usually spent holed up in my room or on solo adventures.
A vampire story for chick-lit lovers everywhere. Mina Byron is the niece of the vampire King of Appalachia, and she wants nothing more than to blend in. When he agrees to send her to a private school for the living, she’ll have to contend with all sorts of new experiences: love, friendship and discovering her true self.
2. Fake Blood by Whitney Gardener
Even middle graders need a little bit of vampire fun every once in a while. AJ has just started a new school year, and is looking for a new chance to win over his crush Nia. But a girl like Nia only seems to be interested in vampires, so AJ decides to take matters into his own hands when they’re paired up for a group project at school. If he dresses up and acts like her dream vampire, she’s bound to fall for him right? ONLY AJ is about to find out that Nia surrounds herself with vampires for one very specific-and deadly-reason.
1. The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman
The suffering of others is easy enough to endure when it happens in the rearview mirror.
Vampire books can take a grungy turn and be just as effective as any gothic horror. It’s 1978 in New York City, and Joey has been hustling his way through the city as a vampire, forever a teenager in body, but not in mind. One day, he sees them: childlike undead trying to take over the subway system. Are they vampires? Or something much worse, spelling disaster for Joey and the rest of his kind in their city?
Vampire books exist in such a wide array that a reader is guaranteed to find something that tickles their bloodsucker fancy. Keep it spooky this October, and pick up a vampire tale to devour.
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