For 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!