A dark room lit only by candles with a singularly piece of furniture lying at the center of the room. On closer inspection, you find the furniture to be a coffin. Your brain goes into overdrive mode with all the stories that you have read about the bloodsucking bat-like creatures of the night, commonly called vampires. That is the power of a Vampire fiction.
Many books on this genre have managed to create alternative realities consisting of a Vampire lifestyle among people. There have been questionable myths and legends on vampires and the authenticity drives us to ask one of the basic questions. Are these myths based on realities?
Dracula ~ by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker's Dracula is probably the first book that pops to your mind when you hear the term vampire fiction. With Count Dracula as the antagonist of the novel, the book took the world of fiction by storm in 1897. The novel is written as a series of letters and journal entries supplemented by accounts from newspapers.
The letters and journal entries in the book are written by several narrators, who are also the main characters in the novel teaming up to fight Count Dracula. Stoker spent almost seven years researching for the novel studying European folklore about vampires, which is the reason for the historical references that the novel contains.
Interview With the Vampire ~ by Anne Rice
The first novel in the series, The Vampire Chronicles, the book is set on the premise of an interview between a young reporter Daniel Molloy and a vampire, Louis, who recounts to him, his life spanning 200 years. It is an interesting tale of how Louis is transformed into a vampire by Lestat.
At the time of the transformation, Louis was an indigo plantation owner in New Orleans. The story then spans his life and the many life-changing incidents he experiences including the death of his adopted daughter, Claudia. A motion picture, starring Brad Pitt as Louis, Tom Cruise as Lestat, and Kirsten Dunst as Claudia was made on the novel.
The Historian ~ by Elizabeth Kostova
This novel is sure to send a chill down the spine to even the strongest of heart. A debut novel by Kostova, she wrote it 10 years before selling it to her publishers. The author based the book on the historical references of the 15th century ruler of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, and combined it with references from Bram Stoker's Dracula.
The novel has three different narratives in the form of letters and conversations; of Paul, a professor, his mentor, and Paul's 16 year old daughter, who is the narrator, tying together these three narratives. The novel traces their quest for the tomb of Vlad the Impaler.
Southern Vampire Series ~ by Charlaine Harris
The basis for the HBO series, True Blood, starring Anna Paquin, the Southern Vampire Series has Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress living in the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, as its protagonist. An engaging book series, it is based on a reality of the existence and the knowledge of supernaturals by humans.
The series states that vampires, werewolves, and other mythical creatures are real, and exist in the world that our characters inhabit. Charlaine Harris has written 10 books on this premise till date, with an additional three books in the pipeline.
For Young Adults
Twilight Series ~ by Stephanie Meyer
The Twilight Saga has become a cult preference among teenagers and adults alike, and is being claimed as one of the best vampire romance novels to have been written in a long time. Chronicling the love story between Isabella Swan, a human and Edward Cullen, a vampire, the series is a set of four books, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.
The series has won numerous awards, has been translated into 38 languages, and is now the basis for a movie series starring Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart. The fourth book has been divided into two movies.
House of Night ~ by PC Cast and Kristin Cast
This continuing series of books revolves around the life of a young vampire, Zoey Redbird, at the House of Night boarding school based at Tulsa in Oklahoma. Written by a mother-daughter duo, the 1st book in the series was released in 2007, with 7 books being published till date.
Released in 39 countries, most books in the series have been bestsellers on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Lost Souls ~ by Poppy Z. Brite
A teen cult classic, Lost Souls, is an explosive mix of humans, vampires, and teen angst. Though, the novel has characters from Brite's earlier short story, The Seed of Lost Souls, the protagonist of this novel is a boy called Jason aka Nothing, who discovers his vampire heritage, and sets out on a journey to search for his vampire family and the Lost Souls.
The book released to widespread critical acclaim, praised for its portrayal of teen rage, their need to discover themselves and creating a world where magic and mystery become impossibly real. While the book is mature in its content, and has extremely graphic and violent passages, it is a brilliant read for youngsters.
The Saga of Darren Shan ~ by Darren Shan
A series comprising four trilogies, The Saga of Darren Shan, started off as a side project, to keep Darren Shan, the author busy, while he was in between writing two adult books. The first book, Cirque du Freak, received such good reviews, that it metamorphosed into a series of 12 books, about a young boy, who is forced by a vampire to become his assistant.
The first trilogy, Vampire Blood, revolves around Darren trying to accept vampire traditions and what he has become. Vampire Rites, the second trilogy is about him trying to be accepted by the close knit clan of vampires.
In Vampire War, Darren learns about the role he needs to play to decide the fate of vampires, and in the final trilogy, Vampire Destiny, Darren faces his nemesis, the Lord of the Vamapnzee, sworn enemies of the vampire clan. The series of 12 books was published over a period of 6 years, and is widely heralded as the best vampire book series for young adults.
While not a comprehensive list, this collection lists out those books that are classics and have changed the way we, as readers, started looking at vampire fiction, categorizing it as a sub-genre in its own right.