Top Five Favorite Vampire Books/Series
I love vampires. There are piles of novels featuring vampires, and I’ve been asked several times why I would want to add to that pile. Part of the answer is simple: I wrote the first draft of Legally Undead almost ten years ago, after Buffy, but before the Twilight series came out—and before there was quite so much vampiric competition. But I decided to go ahead and submit it for publication because in my narrator Elle Dupree’s world, vampires are not sexy. They’re frightening and deadly—and they’re the kinds of vampires I want to read about. Not that I can’t be convinced by a sexy vampire—Damon Salvatore, Spike, Jean-Claude. . . . But the terrifying vampires are the ones that fascinate me. The list below of my top five (recent) vampire books highlights that fascination. (Note that in the case of series, I have listed the first book.)
I loved Black’s short story of the same name and was initially a little disappointed to discover that the novel was not, in fact, a continuation of the same story but rather a new story set in the same world. But that disappointment quickly disappeared as Black’s novel drew me in. The vampires here are horrifying—and being the single (potential) exception to that rule makes the love-interest vampire equally terrifying and attractive, adding up to the kind of vicarious adrenaline rush that draws me to vampire tales in the first place.
I re-read this book every year or two—I just finished the latest re-reading in November. McKinley does a beautiful job of setting up a world that is almost, but not exactly, like our own. The eponymous protagonist almost seems to ramble sometimes, but the voice is perfectly her own and the things she reveals about herself are beautifully woven back into the plot. Also, the vampires are creepy as all get-out!
Unlike most of the books I read, Quiver is not speculative fiction. It’s a psychological thriller about obsession—specifically, obsession with Elizabeth Bathory, the psychotic sixteenth-century Hungarian countess who bathed in the blood of her (many!) victims in an attempt to make herself younger. Luhning’s depiction of a dissatisfied academic pulled further into a world of horror and intrigue is both compelling and unsettling. So this isn’t really a “vampire” novel in the strictest sense—but it draws on vampire mythology in interesting ways.
This was probably the first book I ever heard called a “urban fantasy”—though the term Hamilton used for it was “paranormal mystery.” In the early novels of this series, Anita Blake, is based more on the gritty noir detective than the romance heroine. Though the series shifts toward the erotic later, the early novels are still among my favorite paranormal mysteries/urban fantasies.
This series has landed on my favorite vampires and my favorite shapeshifters lists. I’m a fan of shapeshifter novels in general, and of this series in particular. I like Hunter’s twist on the shapeshifter standards—in these novels, Jane shares her body and her consciousness with a big cat she calls Beast. Watching the two of them negotiating their shared life is almost as much fun as watching them work through whatever mysteries and problems come their way because of Jane’s job as bodyguard to vampires.
My own vampire novel is Legally Undead, available May 27 from World Weaver Press
A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.
Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.
But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire draining the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs--not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.
As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.
Legally Undead Trailer:
Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming May 27, 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.
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Be sure to add Legally Undead to your Goodreads bookshelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18366353-legally-undead