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The Top Five Vampire Novels Ever Written

posted by Donna Freitas

twilight_idol.jpgFor those of us diehard Buffy/Angel fans who can’t seem to get over the fact that so far nothing can truly replace Buffy and Angel (and probably Spike, too), at least on the small screen, and for those of us who revel in a good dose of the paranormal now and again (and again and again), I propose my all time favorite vampire novels as a fix!
1. The “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer. When I picked up “Twilight,” the first time I read the entire book in a single sitting–all 600 pages of it. Then I read it again. And again. And then I prayed that Meyer would meet her impossible deadlines (which she did, thank God) and deliver us books two and three, “New Moon” and “Eclipse” respectively. Both of these books resemble her first novel in the way that reading them is like experiencing a temporary but insanely intense drug addiction.
The “Twilight” series introduces readers to the best paranormal love triangle ever, with Edward Cullen playing the role as the sexiest 17-year-old vampire heartthrob with the most chivalrous sense of virtue the world has ever known. Jacob Black is his long-haired, sweet-natured rival (whose quirk I won’t give away, since it’s a spoiler), and Bella is the human caught between these two gorgeous, unusual suitors. The rival between Edward and Jacob is so fiery it has even jumps off of the page. In addition to T-shirts that say “I heart Edward Cullen,” you can purchase baby tee’s that say “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” depending on your preference. I’m “Team Edward” all the way. And I’m already counting the days ’til the release of book four, “Breaking Dawn,” due out next summer.


2. “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. I am continually amazed by the amount of people I know who have not yet cracked open this gothic horror classic. Bram Stoker’s tale is not only the archetype for much of the lore we know about vampires today, but he serves up the quintessential blood-drinking, terrifying villain in Count Dracula. I first picked up this book because I was trying to read through the classics, but soon I forgot such noble purposes. Stoker had me at page one, and I often imagine that “Dracula” must have been the “airport fiction” of its day, since it’s impossible to put down.
3. “Interview with the Vampire” by Anne Rice. I’m sure some readers will be appalled that Rice’s popular novel is not perched at number one on my list–but even as a truly dedicated all-things-vampire fan who was ready to love it as much as the next person, it’s a clear third on my list. While I found Rice’s tale of the vampire Lestat, told through the eyes of Louis (the vampire he sired), engaging, it inspired none of the drug-like story obsession and passion for characters that “Dracula” and “Twilight” did. Sorry all you Rice fans!
4. “Thirsty” by M.T. Anderson. M.T. Anderson is a master of all things dark, twisted, and darkly twisted. But he also has a fantastic sense of humor. He tells the story of fifteen-year-old Chris, who lately, has been experiencing some strange new desires. One has to do with Rebecca, the girl he has a crush on. Maybe that’s new but not terribly strange for a high school boy. The weird part is how Chris would rather drink her blood than kiss her, an urge he can’t quite explain. But by book’s end, he will have to confront this desire and then some. Warning to potential readers: Anderson’s books are truly, wonderfully, weird.
5. “Peeps” by Scott Westerfeld. This novel introduces the vampire as a virus, and it’s sweeping New York City. Whether or not vampires are a necessary virus–one that will some day save the city from an even more terrible infection–is the question on everyone’s mind, especially for Cal, this story’s hero and latest infectee. And how do you catch the vampire virus? On this, Westerfeld is most clever. Vampirism is a sexually transmitted disease. Westerfeld’s timely, issues-conscious twist on the vampire novel is fantastic.
There are more vampire novels in my life, but none of them come close to my top five. I’d love to know your favorites–especially if they’re worthy of knocking one of these off my list!



  • Dena

    I really liked Salem’s Lot (the book and the movie).

  • Gina

    i’d never read any of these (i’ve read LOTS of vamp novels, just none of these.)
    so i’ll be heading to the library at lunch!

  • Rainingwolf

    My favorite is the series by Charlaine Harris; the Sookie Stackhouse series. It has romantic triangles, vamps, weres etc. Good plot lines and great characters.

  • Darlene D Reid-Rericha

    My favorites so far are The Blood Books by Tanya Huff, who also had a series on Lifetime. They involve an ex-Toronto police officer, now a private investigator, Vicki Nelson – her ex-partner, who is in love with her, Mike Celluci – and a 550-year-old vamp who was turned when he was 17, and is also in love with Vicki, Henry Fitzroy. Very enjoyable!

  • Denise

    My favorite authors are Christine Feehan, Sherilyn Kenyon, Kim Harrison, L.A. Banks, Lynsay Sands, Charlaine Harris, J.R. Ward. That’s just a few but if your looking for some good books that’s a place to start

  • Kelly

    I really love the macobe that is not too drenched in the overly Sexual like Christine Feehan, Sherilyn Kenyon, and Laurell Hamilton (who is just pure raunchy sex). Charlene Harris, Kim Harrison, to name a few are REALLY good about keeping the story to the point and just brings in a touch of the “romantic”. I am also glad that BeliefNet is an open forum and will allow this genre to be explored. Thanks Beliefnet.

  • Patricia

    To really Enjoy and Understand INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE by ANNE RICE you SHOULD read her full series of THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES!!

  • Tom Beck

    You should read Chelse Quinn Yarbro’s Saint-Germain chronicles. Not sure if any of them are still in print (if they aren’t, they oughta be), but any list of great vampire novels should include hers.

  • Brandi

    The Coments of the top 5 were helpful. Some susgetns are The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward, The Dark Series by Cristine Feehan, The Hollows Series By Kim Harrison, Finally my favroite the Anna Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton.

  • Judith Farrow

    I agree with Mr. Beck about Ms. Yarbro’s Saint-Germaine chronicles.

  • Gene Rogan

    I am familiar with the Saint-Germain series, and might rate any one of these in the top ten. I don’t like Anne Rice at all. I feel she doesn’t have a clue of what a vampire is, never mind what, their “tortued” existance would be like. I am not familiar with the “Twlight” series or “Peeps”, so I can’t effectively comment on these. I do have five of my own faves. And these are
    1) Dracula – Bram Stoker. The first and still world champ.
    2) Salem’s Lot – Stephen King. King’s own version of what it would be like if “Dracula” came to America. Some believe (I am one) that “Barlow” was Dracula using (as he did in Stoker’s novel)an assumed identity.
    3) They Thirst – Robert McCammon. One of the first really effective treatments of a 700 year old vampire adjusting to the changes in the modern world, yet asserting his place on the top of the “food-chain”. Long out of print, a copy can be scored on e-bay, from time to time.
    4) The Keep – F. Paul Wilson. Technically not a “vampire” novel, per se. However fleshes out many of Vlad Dracula’s relationships with his fellow boyars, and how they, save one mistrusted him. The one being how shall I say Wilson’s Satanic substitute Rasalom (such as Morgoth or Sauron was in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic works).
    5) Midnight Mass – F. Paul Wilson. The first and only “true” vampire novel he penned. A very interesting read.
    Honorable Mention
    Anno Dracula -Kim Newman. A novel set in an alternative reality, where van Helsing and his fellow vampire hunters (from the novel “Dracula”) fail to destroy Dracula and Dracula returns to England to find himself only a heartbeat from the British throne (after seducing then marrying Queen Victoria).

  • Espresso

    The only vampire novel I ever read was “In the Forest of the Night,” by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.

  • Teresa Dowling

    The novels by Laurell K Hamilton ( The Anita Blake-Vampire Hunter Novels) are truly among the best ones I have ever read including Dracula. I never could get into the St Germain series but they are very well written.

  • Lara

    If you like these vampire novels than try reading I am Vampire, can’t remember who it’s by but it’s very good.
    Also, if you are in to other preternatural readings, try the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher as well as the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. These have vampires as well as wizards, werewolves, and anything else imaginable.
    I am also a tried and true Anne Rice and Stephen King fan so anything they have written is always tops on my list.
    But Dracula will always be the number one vampire novel ever written – thanks to Bram Stoker for such a great work of art!

  • Lara

    OOPS – my bad. In my previous post I said the first book you should try is called I am Vampire – it’s not. I just remembered it’s called I am Legend. It’s about a very old vampire – and again it’s a very good read. :)

  • Jenny

    If you read Anne Rice’s second tale “The Vampire Lestat” you might like it better than “Interview”, and it does tell the history of how vampirism began…a virus? Very interesting, and full of history, rather gripping.

  • Oriana Latega

    Thanks 4 ur top 5 the twilight series seam good. Im gonna get it tomorro!, but some of my favs r the Dark series by Christina Feehan. These dark studs are members of a different speicies that kept me up aaaallll nite and always coming back for more! Also some of the Dark Hunter series from Sherrilyn Kenyon. Between the were-panthers, wolves, dragons etc…the greek gods and the lost city of atlantis u never know where ur Dark hunter will turn up and save u.!!!!I could go on forever vamps r my passion and paranormal my love.

  • Wendy

    I love the very urban novels by L.A. Banks. I’ve read every book in the series. It not only includes vampires, lycanthropes, witches and warlocks…it has multi-racial characters and involves God, Satan and every historical figure (fiction and non) known. I have learned about so many different religions and history just from her novels. And can’t forget the love story between the star Vampire Hunter and her Vampire love.

  • Joann

    My top picks:
    Lost Souls – Poppy Brite
    The Palace – Chelsea Quinn Yarboro
    Fevre Dream – George RR Martin

  • Nikki

    Yall have left out the best ones ever, but it not only has vampires it has necromancers and all the weres from wolves to rats to swans and that is the Anita Blake series written by Laural Hamilton. I have all of them and can’t wait for new ones. She also has a series on faries that is awesome.

  • Charlene

    The best vampire series I ever read was Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series. The main character is this guy named Harry who can talk to dead people. He is in a constant battle to defeat vampires. It is a fiendishly wicked read. I have read all the books in your list and I think Harry’s story tops tham all.

  • Darline

    Yes your list is great but try ‘Though A Crimson Veil’ by Patty O’Shea this book has romance mystery action and everything one would want in one story

  • Yton oton

    If agree that those books are among the top five ever. If I was nominating a book for the new century I recomend The Stoker File: the lost diary of Bram Stoker by Tony Noto and Bram Stoker. The Diary part of the book was written for the most part by Stoker himself and its exciting to see this re-engenering of his Dracula novel to contemporary times

  • angela

    Laurell K. Hamilton is good but gets more strange and unusual as the story lines progress in each book. There are several. My very favorite though would have to be the whole vampire series by Anne Rice. Interview With A Vampire was only the beginning of something very wonderful.

  • http://recompostaje.com/img/sexy/ Jorbidok

    interesting, i’ll be back later

  • Alyxandor

    Really…Twilight? …..Really? You didn’t just put one of the worst Vampire novels of all time above Dracula, a story that enchanted and horrified the world for over 100 years…. this is a sad time we live in and I am disgusted with anyone who believes Twilight is anything more than a repressed Mormons attempt at publishing her wet dreams about a teenage boy. The books were filled with shallow and uninteresting characters that do nothing than try to appeal to the idiotic scene tweens of America. If you want a good modern vampire love story with an excellent plot and realistic characters than pick up a Sookie Stackhouse novel or even watch True Blood and you will ask yourself why Twilight is even a best-seller. My guess is a lucrative deal with the devil… but that’s just silly…..but would explain a lot. lol

  • Your Name

    I agree with Alyxandor that the Twilight series were written badly great story line but I got so tired of her over using the word “pursed” anyhow should not be in anyones top five unless your 13. A must read is “let the right one in” my fav at the moment…

  • Genie

    Breaking Dawn by Meyers really does reach beyond those teenboppy aspects of the previous novels. I was also hesitant myself since my thirties are creeping up. She really is a page turner. I just wish it was a little more explicit.

  • anniikka

    get over the meyers hate, people :) I’m not thirteen, I see all the mistakes made in her writing, but she did something no one else did for a long time – she made up a story that’s unbelievably captivating. the bad writing is something you start noticing later on, but if you read it for the wonderfully fresh story, the series is real nice. even though she borrowed some plot twists from another writer, she gave the thing a whole new dimension. the books are enjoyable and the lapses tolerable.
    as for my other faves, you got most of them. anne rice tops the list. the lady is brilliant, although the books do get a bit obscure as they progress. then there’s rachel caine’s morganville vampires. I know, I know, teenagery, but I still enjoy them, despite not being in my teens anymore. the reason is simple – it’s refreshing to find books in this genre that do not push sexuality over the top.
    I’m a serial reader, so I like picking series to read, but most of them are disappointing. some start out with interesting storylines only do spiral into nonsense and/or heavy push for cheap erotics. definitely going to have a look at some of the books you guys mentioned

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