Adrienne and Don’s Favorite Vampire Books
Adrienne and Don’s Favorite Vampire Books
(Read more about Adrienne Monson on the main article page.)
There are thousands of vampire book out there. Many of them are great reads, but it can be a bewildering experience to try to figure out where to begin. Adrienne and I pick ten of our favorite vampire books and present them below. They are in no particular order. Some of these are obvious reads, but are important enough to the genre to always be included in any list of vampire themed must read books. A few are new, having been published in the last ten or fifteen years, that add great stories to the vampire mythos. They are all great reads in addition to Adrienne’s Blood Inheritance trilogy. Expand your vampire reading and revisit some of the below or check them out if you have not all. Do you have a favorite vampire book or two that you recommend that are not on this list. Are there some here you like or not like? Let us know! How would your list look? Find us on Twitter at @adriennemonson and @donkbrown and use the hash tag #GetSuckedIn.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
This is the book that popularized the dreaded Count in literary fiction. While works like The Vampyre and Carmilla appeared before Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula defined the genre. Dracula is about an aristocratic vampire who came to unlife, traveled to London and prowled the nighttime streets in search of blood and power. Most detail is given to the men and women who confront him. The story contains deep tones of love and loss, horror and death, and sin and redemption. Dracula also allows the modern reader to look back in time at the Victorian view of the world to see the period’s view of women and the stuffy English fear anything foreign.
‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
This 1975 vampire novel by the master of horror became an instant classic. ‘Salem’s Lot takes the reader to the Maine township of Jerusalem’s Lot with protagonist Ben Mears. ‘Salem’s Lot is a scary, gripping and well told story of the arrival of a mysterious vampire and his human servant and how they quickly turn the town into a nest of vampires. Like Stoker’s Dracula, the reader never directly meets or sees things from the vampire’s point of view. But, the villain is ever present in the background, in a chilling and spooky manner. King stays true to the classic vampire themes and with his unparalled way to scare the reader. ‘Salem’s Lot is a fantastic vampire classic.
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
This 1976 vampire classic introduces the world to the vampires Lestat, Louis and others in an expanded vampire underworld that spans two continents. In Interview with the Vampire the vampire Louis takes the reader on a journey from America’s south to Europe where he encounters others of his kind and details the tragedies of the vampire existence in disturbing and frightening detail. Interview with the Vampire is one of many of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles novels.
I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire by P.N. Elrod
Pat Elrod’s 1993 novel is a brooding, eerie and chilling tale of the book’s namesake vampire, Strahd Von Zarovich. I, Strahd is based on the wildly successful 1983 Dungeons & Dragons dark fantasy adventure Ravenloft. I, Strahd has excellent pacing and clear, strong prose that tells a great vampire origin story. Strahd is a compelling figure who is richly portrayed by Elrod, even though she wrote the novel in an existing fantasy setting she did not design. I, Strahd is one of several fantasy vampire novels in the Ravenloft series and is a must read. The author stays true to vampire lore and adds the perfect fantasy spin to the genre.
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
The 1954 novella I Am Legend is one of the greatest vampire stories ever written. I Am Legend is a vampire and science fiction story set in dystopian Los Angeles and has spawned many film copies and started the genre for stories like Night of the Living Dead and other zombie and blood sucker tales in film and books. I Am Legend tells the harrowing story of Robert Neville, the sole survivor of an all-consuming vampiric plague. Matheson brilliantly describes scenes of loss, isolation, and confrontations with the monsters of the night.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Kostova’s 2005 novel is based in part on Stoker’s original Dracula, but Kostova adds a very fun, modern day adventure tale to the story. The Historian’s protagonist, Helen, becomes embroiled in the battle between good and evil when she takes up her father’s decades long investigation for who Dracula really was. The Historian is a smartly written book that Kostova took ten years to write and is a must read.
Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
This 1992 novel by British author Kim Newman is an alternate history to Stoker’s original. Anno Dracula explores what would have been if Dracula had survived his confrontation with Van Helsing and Jon Harker and married the queen of England. Other characters from literature enter the scene and get new spins, especially Jack the Ripper. Even Lestat de Lioncourt makes a cameo. All of this makes for some very entertaining reading. London is terrorized in a uniquely imaginative way in Newman’s retelling.
Enter, Night by Michael Rowe
Canadian journalist Michael Rowe entered the vampire genre with this 2011 novel that is a creepy thriller set in a backwater Ontario mining town. Enter, Night has a unique style as it explores the events of a place called Parr’s Landing after the events happened by virtue of a manuscript that is later found. It reads like a well-researched news story of the time, 1976, when something is discovered to have been sleeping in the area’s caves. While not widely known, we expect Enter, Night to become popular vampire fare for readers of the genre.
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
This 2004 novel by author Lindqvist, referred to as the Swedish version of Stephen King, not only explores the supernatural themes of vampirism, it also tackles some very dark issues of human existence. Set in a 1981 Swedish suburb, Lindqvist mixes fantasy with reality in a gut-wrenching, frightening, and tragic tale of love and revenge. Let the Right One In was a best seller in Sweden, and sure to be a hit with vampire and horror fans everywhere.
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
This 2010 instant classic is a pseudo-biographical, alternate history novel wherein Abraham Lincoln becomes embroiled in the war with vampires that seek to create a vampire nation in the fledgling United States after being kicked out of Europe. Grahame-Smith masterfully weaves history and fiction in this adventurous, frolicking tale of vampires and the American Civil War. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter has tragedy and triumph as Lincoln spends his life fighting the scourge of the undead.