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Vampire Fantasy Books

For more than a century Vampire Fantasy stories have been popular in literature, movies, television shows, but it has existed since the 18th century. Originally, these stories were based on ancient myths—usually Romanian. In these older stories, vampires are often depicted as dark embodiments of evil. There are many old tropes and cliches that were once compelling and inventive: vampires can't see their reflection, garlic and crosses are the vampire's weakness, silver and sunlight are fatal, fanged vampires, vampires as shape shifters, supernatural or superhuman powers, coffins, the list goes on.

Other Features of Vampire Fantasy

  • Level of Magic

Low-None. Vampire Fantasy is more supernatural than magical. It is only recently that vampires have begun to exhibit special powers.

  • Level of Grand Ideas and Social Implications

Variable. Engagement with social implications is not particularly common in newer Vampire Fantasy (those that are heavy on romance and appealing to the young-adult audience). However, some Vampire Fantasy succeeds at making the reader see our society from the perspective of an outsider who is often ostracized and forced into hiding. These types of vampire stories show us how minorities are treated within society. Another common theme is about the value of life—what does it mean to be alive when the undead or the immortal roam the world?

  • Level of Characterization

Variable. There are three basic characters in Vampire Fantasy, the vampire, the human object of desire, and the vampire hunter. Perhaps because Vampire fiction has been around for so long vampire characters have become almost a trope themselves. Some stories capitalize on the popularity of the genre and fail to create three dimensional characters, but other stories create riveting characters that are immensely engaging and just jump off the page. It is worth noting that the vampire character was not always sympathetic. Vampires have been depicted as repulsive and the epitome of evil and also as mindless killing machines devoid of personality. As vampire stories have evolved over the years, so too has the characterization of the vampire.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

Variable. The story's complexity and its accompanying plot depends greatly on the targeted audience. For example, a targeted audience of teenage girls tends to focus more on romance and thus has a relatively simple plot. The reverse is also true, stories meant for a more literary audience have complex and developing plot lines—for example, the classic story Dracula is a series of letters and news clippings where the reader has to pull together the events.

  • Level of Violence 

Moderate-High. Some Vampire Fantasy is going to have the cliched pitchforks and torches that are often the precursor to violent scenes. Other stories are less graphic about violence and more graphic about sex. Nonetheless, with creatures that feed on human blood front and center, violence will always be a part of the vampire genre.

Popular Vampire Fantasy Books Books

By Bram Stoker. Though this book is not the first instance of vampires in literature, it is a defining story. It features more than just chilling storytelling; elements of horror, the gothic novel, sexual conventions, colonialism/post-colonialism, and immigration are all woven into this classic epistolary tale.

By Charlaine Harris. An immensely popular series that has become a popular show on HBO. Vampires are a minority and have only recently been granted a legal status. Sookie Stackhouse is the mind-reading, sexy heroine.

By Laurell K. Hamilton. This series presents an alternate reality where supernatural creatures (vampires, zombies) are simply a part of society. Anita Blake is a tough heroine and necromancer. The series is a mix of fantasy, romance, horror, and mystery.

By Stephanie Meyer. With an almost cult-like following, this series is targeted at the young-adult audience, specifically teenage girls. Vampires are reinvented in this series to be beautiful, sparkly, supernatural beings with special powers. A story of star-crossed lovers, danger and suspense.

By George R. R. Martin. A lesser known novel by the Game of Thrones creator that is a fine example of a more mythic take on vampirism. Fevre Dream is a steamboat sailing up the antebellum Mississippi River, which just so happens to be carrying the lord of the vampire race. It is a blend of history and myth.

By Anne Rice. A now classic tale of confession, this is the first book in Rice's Vampire Chronicles series. A complex story that blends the supernatural with the human condition; it will mesmerize readers. Particularly compelling amongst its pages is the story's philosophical inquiry.

By Les Daniels. The Don Sebastian Vampire Chronicles. This trilogy blends the supernatural with the historical. Each novel takes place in a different historical period filled with strife and centers on Don Sebastian, a vampire wizard

By P.N. Elrod. This series is an example of vampire fiction crossed with detective novels. The series centers around Jack Fleming (vampire) and Charles Escott (human), partners in 1930s Chicago.

By John William Polidori. Written in 1819, this novella is one of the first, if not the first, successful vampire story that begins to define the genre. Successful in its time because of its connection with literary giant, Lord Byron and its use of the Gothic Horror genre

By James Malcolm Rymer. A serialized story of the Gothic Horror tradition, first published in 1845. This epic series introduced many of the common vampiric tropes, like fangs that leave two punctures on their victims, superhuman strength, the vampire comes in through the window at night and attacks a sleeping maiden.