Favourite Vampire Books and Why I Love Them
Vampires have been a fan favourite but with their popularity has come an increase in bad writing and therefore a bad reputation. (Personally, I blame the Twilight fiasco – sparkly vampires and falling in love with someone’s unborn child. *Sigh*) But vampires have held onto their position for a reason.
The allure of being fed on by a beautiful creature makes them a romantic fantasy for many. Being able to heal from any wound, live forever, be beautiful and have supernatural agility and powers makes them incredibly entertaining. The drama of being able to recover injuries that could kill a human allows for authors to heighten the conflict and violence without signing their characters’ death sentence.
But with everything in nature, there is a balance. For every skill or ability, there is a cost, resulting in strict rules the creatures must follow. I always loved the balance that comes with many myths, e.g. heal from any injury, but sunlight will burn. It shows how separate they are from the human race and that they must follow their own rules or face the consequences. These rules create some interesting sources of conflict, and it is intriguing to see how each author and/or character will attempt to get around them.
I love stories that follow closely to the tradition myth, but it can also be a ton of fun to see what new and unique ways vampires could be done. My favourite is when they follow the standard paired with a few unique twists.
So, with no further ado, here are my two favourite vampire series (in no particular order):
House of Night series, P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast:
With over thirteen books this series may seem like an intimidating commitment, but they are short and easy to read. In a world where vampires have lived openly with humans for generations which I loved, I enjoy the history and how the two species interacted. The series follows Zoey Redbird who has just been marked with a blue crescent moon on her forehead and must immediately move to a nearby House of Night or face certain death. There, she and every other fledgeling must learn about what being a vampire entails, the ins and outs of their new community as well as regular high school classes.
Unlike standard vampires, there are a select few who are gifted by their goddess Nyx with extraordinary abilities; control over an element, super speed, skill with a sword, etc. It turns out that Zoey is one such blessed vampire and can control all the elements. With each new ability, she is given a beautiful tattoo. I loved this physical marking that showed her as being special, plus who wouldn’t love suddenly getting a tattoo without any pain! I loved the vampires having magic, it made them really stand out. In addition, I enjoyed how integral the goddess Nyx was, they had regular rituals to her, and she actively does things.
The characters were fun, and I loved the twists throughout the series – book two had me bawling. One of the later books felt pointless since very little happened, but it wasn’t too bad. Love triangles are common and most often incredibly tiresome, but this book found a loophole. Instead of having the love-torn character brooding over who they should choose, this book had the character date both in a sort of reverse harem. Now, as long as every party knows about it, polygamy seems to be something that can make many people happy. It was a relief to have the couple (trouple?) just enjoy being in love and support each other instead of being angsty and moping around.
A fun series with snappy, short books and gripping novellas with beautiful illustrations. The series is easy to binge or simply try the first book to see if you like it. Plus the textured patterns on the books are simply beautiful and I love the bright colours in the new editions.
Vampire Academy series, Richelle Mead:
*These are nothing, I repeat nothing, like the terrible movie. It turned a complicated vampire series full of mystery and magic into nothing more than a gossipy high school drama full of angsty teens who happen to drink blood. Like a terrible Gossip Girl with vampires. One of the worst adaptations I’ve seen. It still makes my skin crawl.*
This series holds a special place for me, it was the series that really got me into binge reading. I read whenever I could – between classes, at a café for family breakfast, whenever – the instant I finished one, I’d start the next one. I have struggled with dyslexia, and these were the first big books I read, the sheer size of the large book did and continues to make me nervous and intimidated. But the writing style, pacing, plot and intriguing magic system made these books a fun and gripping read.
Simply put these books are set in a world where a vampire society has lived hidden, alongside the human. The vampires are divided into three categories; Moroi, the living vampires gifted with elemental magic; dhampir, the half-breed offspring of Moroi and dhampirs tasked with protecting the royal Moroi; and the dangerous, blood-thirsty dead vampires Strigoi.
The stories follow best friends Lissa, the last of a royal line and Rose, her dhampir Guardian who share a strange supernatural bond that allows Rose to sense Lissa’s emotions and even at times view things through her eyes. After they had escaped St Vladamir’s, a high-security boarding school for Moroi and dhampir, they are dragged back by the school’s best warrior, Dimitri. Rose and Dimitri instantly have a connection, but since she is sixteen and he in his twenties in addition to being her teacher, they are prevented from acting on their emotions. Someone is leaving Lissa gruesome messages that seem to hint at secret knowledge of Lissa’s powers. Rose and Lissa must figure out who they can trust and what this mysterious stalker wants from them.
I loved this cast of characters. Rose and Lissa’s deep friendship was beautiful, and I loved that they were sisters regardless of their race or background. Christian is your typical brooding outcast, but I loved his backstory, and he became one of my favourites. Lissa and Christiain’s relationship was much less dramatic and every-day compared to the epic scales of Rose and Dimitri. My favourite out of this series and the spin of series – Bloodline – was Eddie, the loyal, good guy who is the epitome of an excellent Guardian and puts everyone’s needs above his own. He is a consistently decent guy even while the world is spinning out of control.
I loved the magic system. The vampire divisions allowed there to be every version of the vampires we know from myths and folklore while still being unique. I adore elemental magic, the way it weaves in with the wielder’s daily life. This book really does this – the brooding outsider has control over fire for example – while still throwing in a few surprises with the magic system. No spoilers, though!
The twists and turns were surprising, and the end fourth of each book was also action-packed with plenty of reveals and tantalising cliff-hangers. These books were great at teaching me the last fourth is when all these action scenes and reveals take place. I loved these books and still recommend them as one of the top vampire books.