Vampire fiction has never been more popular: these days there are countless books and series chronicling the adventures of the undead.
But it was Bram Stoker, our birthday boy, who got the trend started with his eponymous villain, Dracula. Since then, vampires have captured our collective imagination in all their different forms. Where in days gone by, vampires were corpse-like creeps who you could ward off with a bit of garlic, these days they’re creatures of mysterious allure.
Here, to celebrate Stoker’s 119th birthday, we break down some of fiction’s best vampires and where to find them:
Old school garlic-hating vampires…
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
While the gothic horror genre had been around for a while at the time of Stoker’s writing, this tale of the undead broke the mould. Turning up in people’s bedrooms uninvited, sleeping in a coffin, and sucking blood, Dracula does everything you’d expect a vampire to do. The novel is written as a collection of letters, telegrams and diary entries making it all the more haunting for how realistic it feels.
Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice
Interview with the Vampire tells the 200 year long life story of vampire, Louis. Forced to hide his true form from the world, Louis seeks out companionship in other vampires across America and Europe, for better or worse. While here the depiction of vampires is in keeping with classical trends, Rice’s novel also gives an unusual insight into the emotional toll of being undead and its loneliness.
Edgy alternative vampires
The Saga of Darren Shan, by Darren Shan
This epic twelve part book series follows hero, Darren Shan, a normal boy who finds himself in with the wrong crowd… vampires, to be exact. When Larten Crepsley, a powerful vampire himself, succeeds in coercing Darren to become his assistant and a half vampire, Darren struggles to accept his new identity. The series follows Darren’s journey into the vampire world, his learning about the vampire clan and his bid for their acceptance.
Vampire Wars: the Von Carstein Trilogy, by Steven Savile
Fans of all things Warhammer will love Vampire Wars: Von Carstein Trilogy. The Von Carstein’s were an infamous family of vampires who waged war on the Empire. Calling on other friends from zombies to skeletons, these vampires won’t take no for an answer until the Old World is theirs to rule. This series creates a distinctive world with its own rules and laws, taking the vampire fiction genre in a whole new direction.
Broody and Badass
The Vampire Diaries, by LJ Smith
A hugely popular series of novels before becoming a hit TV show, The Vampire Diaries led the trend of characterising vampires as a species with as much capacity for compassion as for killing. The Vampire Diaries follow high school senior, Elena, as she falls for brooding vampire, Stefan. While Stefan must fight his feelings for Elena for her own protection, his revenge-driven brother, Damon has different ideas.
Twilight, by Stephene Meyer
The love between Bella Swan and the dreamy undead Edward Cullen has enraptured millions of readers the world over. A handsome vampire with a conscience, Cullen is a far cry from Stoker’s creepy Dracula. Bella falls for Edward when he saves her from a car accident, though initially he fights his feelings for her. But when a vampire coven arrives in town, Edward has to risk everything to protect Bella.