I love vampires.
I think I’ve mentioned it before, but it was Christopher Pike‘s Last Vampire series that did it for me first. I was about eight years old (I know, precocious) when I read them, and I loved all of them. I was entranced by the idea of someone old enough to have been around when Krishna walked the earth, and at the time I didn’t even know who Krishna was.
Throughout the 90s, there were tides of vampires. From YA writers like L.J. Smith and the Night World series to Anne Rice‘s Interview With The Vampire, a steady stream of bloodsuckers existed for most of the decade.
And then came the twenty-first century, and with it the craze of Twilight. Fast on the heels of Edward and Bella came the Southern Vampire books, The Vampire Diaries, The Passage, vampires, vampires, more vampires.
Vampires who could walk in the sun, vampires who couldn’t sneeze, vampires who ate grizzly bears, vampires who ripped spinal cords through chests, vampires who snuggled. Vampires who brooded, vampires who didn’t brood, and mostly vampires who brooded.
Are you annoyed yet?
I thought I’d never get sick of them. I really didn’t. My first two and a half completed books were vampire-adjacent, and the protagonist of the last one was one. But after realising they’d be damn near impossible to sell these days, I put them aside, expecting to come back to them later.
One novel later, I found that something crazy had happened. I was feeling a bit sick of suckers myself.
Here’s the thing. I still think vampires can be done well. The Passage is a perfect example of something fresh and interesting. The Historian is another phenomenal vampire novel. The Vampire Diaries is one of my favourite shows on the air for its attention to character development and its attention to Ian Somerhalder.
The problem is that shows like True Blood have gotten so far into tropes that I’ve lost a lot of investment. I felt this season fall flat with the vamp blood drug and Lilith standing around wearing only viscous fluids. And because of the tropes that have taken over the genre, each time I see something new with vampires, my brain gets a little drained of blood.
I want it to be good. I want it to steal my soul and whisk me away to a land where the shivery sensations of the sexy vamp still reign. I want it to terrify me with guttural beasts like those in the 30 Days of Night graphic novels. I want to see the scope and depth of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
But lately I’ve seen half-hearted twists on the old themes, and with the exception of The Vampire Diaries, not much to keep me watching.
My opinion, however, isn’t the one that matters most. It’s yours!
What do you think?
For me, I hope vampires go into hibernation for a little while and then return with a vengeance. And hopefully less glitter and teen angst. As much as I feel they’ve been overdone lately, they will always have their place staked in my heart.
What were your favourite vampire books when you were growing up? What are some of the best interpretations of the vampire mythos you’ve seen?
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