Core Best Fantasy Lists
- Top 25 Fantasy Books
- Top 100 Fantasy Books
- Nominated Fantasy Books of 2018
- Top 10 Best Fantasy Books of 2017
- Best Fantasy Books of 2017
- Best Fantasy Series
- Best Stand Alone Fantasy
- Best Young Adult Fantasy
- Top 50 Coming-of-Age Fantasy
- Top 25 Best Indie Fantasy
- Best Fantasy Audiobooks
- Best Fantasy You've Never Read
- Most Influential Fantasy
- Best Non-English Fantasy
- Great Fantasy Books
- Good Fantasy Books
- Worst Fantasy Books Ever
Best Yearly Lists
- Best Fantasy Books of 2017
- Best Fantasy of 2017 (SO FAR)
- Best Fantasy of 2016
- Best Fantasy Books of 2015
- Best Fantasy Books of 2014
Best Decade Lists
- Best Fantasy Since 2010
- Best Fantasy Books of the 90's
- Best Fantasy Best of the 80's
- Best Fantasy Books of the 70's
- Best Fantasy Books of the 60's
- Best Early Modern Fantasy (30's to 50's)
- Best Pre-Tolkien Fantasy
Best Thematic Lists
- Best Anti-Hero Fantasy
- Best Asian Fantasy
- Best Feel Good Fantasy
- Best of the Tolkien Clones
- Best of the Dresden Clones
- Fantasy That Will Blow Your Mind
- Best Fantasy Books for Women
- Best Strong Female Heroine Books
- Best Fantasy Books by Female Authors
- Best Fantasy Books for Children
- Best Vampire Books for YA
- Best Vampire Books for Adults
Best Subgenre Lists
- Top 50 EPIC Fantasy
- Best Heroic Fantasy
- Best Grimdark Fantasy
- Best Gritty Fantasy
- Best LitRPG Books
- Best Military Fantasy
- Best Vampire Fantasy
- Best Urban Fantasy
- Best Dark Fantasy
- Best Assassin Fantasy
- Best Steampunk Fantasy
- Best Literary Fantasy
- Best Sword and Sorcery
- Best Fantasy Mystery Books
- Best Romance Fantasy
- Best Paranormal Romance Fantasy
- Best Vampire Romance
- Best Dragon Fantasy
- Guide to Fantasy Genres
- How to Find Your Next Read Here
- Guide to Vampire Books
- Beginner's Fantasy Guide
- Best Science Fiction Books
- Epic Fantasy
- High Fantasy
- Low Fantasy
- Mundane Fantasy
- Hard Fantasy
- Young Adult Fantasy
- Juvenile Fantasy
- Quest Fantasy
- Coming-of-Age Fantasy
- Heroic Fantasy
- Sword and Sorcery Fantasy
- Swashbuckling Fantasy
- Wuxia Fantasy
- Gods & Demons / Shenmo Fantasy
- Grimdark Fantasy Books
- Colonial Fantasy Books
- Silk Road Fantasy Books
- Flintlock Fantasy Books
- Gunpowder Fantasy Books
- Military Fantasy
- Gritty Fantasy
- Dark Fantasy
- Vampire Fantasy
- Urban Fantasy
- Contemporary Fantasy
- Paranormal Fantasy
- Fantastic Romance
- Romantic Fantasy
- Erotic Fantasy
- Classical Fantasy Books
- Medieval Fantasy
- Court Intrigue Fantasy
- Fantasy of Manners
- Science Fantasy
- Sword and Planet Fantasy
- Dying Earth Fantasy
- Futuristic Fantasy
- Steampunk Fantasy
- Arcanepunk Fantasy
- Gaslamp Fantasy
- Weird West Fantasy
- Political Fantasy
- Literary Fantasy
- Magic Realism
- New Weird Fantasy
- Weird Fiction
- Fantastic Poetry
- Comic/Humorous Fantasy
- Magical Girl Fantasy
- Series Fantasy
- Super Hero Fantasy
- Media-tie-in Fantasy
- Prehistoric Fantasy Books
- Historical Fantasy
- High Historical Fantasy
- Alternate History Fantasy
- Alternate World Fantasy
- Crossworlds Fantasy
- Portal Fantasy
- Christian Fantasy
- Celtic Fantasy
- Arthurian Fantasy
- Mythic Fantasy
- Legend-Retelling Fantasy
- Allegorical Fantasy
- Fables/Fairy Tale Books
- Anthropomorphic Fantasy
- Dragon Fantasy Books
- Bangsian Fantasy Books
- Assassin Fantasy Books
- Arabian Fantasy Books
Martin is well known for his amazing A Game of Thrones, but less so for this highly atmospheric Vampire fiction.
Fevre Dream is what you get when you mix Mark Twain with Dracula.
While George R.R Martin is best known for his extraordinarily successful fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, the acclaimed novelist has also turned his hand to the vampire fantasy genre in his haunting tale, Fevre Dream. Commonly overlooked, Fevre Dream is set in Americas deep south during the 1800s and details the astonishingly atmospheric journey of Abner Marsh, a steamship captain on the Mississippi River. Martin showcases his immense skills as a writer, crafting a mysterious tale of suspense, fear and violence. A mounting feeling of horror compounds for both the reader and the books human characters as Abner Marsh realises that something is terribly wrong with the river and some of his passengers.
The book merges history with myth. Vampires hunt each other up and down the Mississippi river during the great riverboat days of the 1800s, leaving a large body count of innocents along the way. The tale is not really about vampires though, but of the struggle for acceptance and friendship. It's the story about the struggles of friendship (literally) in a landscape that's inimical to it.
While Martins depiction of vampires sticks to most of the well-known tropes, the characters of Fevre Dream are written and described in a way that subverts the readers expectations. Dread, obsession and the threat of bloodletting permeate every page of this highly engaging book and the superstitious backdrop of 1857 Mississippi is the perfect grounding for Martins tale. If youre searching for a sinister re-imagining of vampire fiction, Fevre Dream is one of your best options.
If the premise of this novel sounds interesting, that's because it is. This is a unique novel by all accounts and the fact that Martin can merge so two unlikely subjects together into something that's not only workable but outstanding shows the genius of the writer. This book is mesmerizing on all levels. Martin is a superb writer and this is one of his best works to date. This is the most complex, most interesting, and best damn vampire tale you'll ever read.
And like, it's written by Martin. So read it.
Few books have been as influential on a genre (and on THE Vampire genre as a whole) as this one.
Before I am Legend, vampires were trapped on the pages of Gothic novels.
Then Richard Matheson went on and crafted vampires into the realm of science fiction. The premise centers on Robert Neville, a man who wakes up one morning to find the world has ended; hes the last man alive, with the rest of humanity turned into hordes of undead who by night continually attack his house (or I should say fortress). It's a novel about man's unrelenting will to survive in the face off all adversity.
And a tale about being alone and enduring isolation, without the prospect of ever ending that isolation. This is a rich novel folks, one that everyone should read.
Surprisingly, many people are not aware that the blockbuster horror-survival film I Am Legend is actually based on a vampire novel of the same name.
However, apart from the title, similarities are scarce between Richard Mathersons definitive take on survival horror and the Hollywood movie starring Will Smith. In I Am Legend, Matherson crafts an intense, lonely and terrifying scenario for the protagonist, Robert Neville, a man who struggles between a fear and desire for human contact.
Dont think because youve seen the feature film based on the book that you already know the story. The film in no way matches the spine-tingling chill present throughout the entire book.
While the cause and description of the post-apocalyptic setting in I Am Legend is hardly new, Matherson excels by focussing on how this setting affects Robert Neville, the one-man immune to a virus that wipes out humanity.
The dichotomy between Nevilles menial household tasks and the existential threat of the citys vampiric creatures is a fascinating narrative and Matherson sprinkles his grim tale with sardonic gallows humor during Nevilles increasingly melancholic musings.
While some readers may dislike the brutal conclusion of I Am Legend, Mathersons inconclusive and forlorn ending will undoubtedly give readers something to deliberate on.
Coming in at a close third, well-known thriller and fantasy author, Stephen King, shocked readers with another enthralling fantasy novel, inspired by Bram Stokers Dracula. In his 1975 novel, Salems Lot, King takes an entirely different approach to the vampire sub-genre. After contemplating how a vampire would cope in a modern America, King decided to craft a clever story based on this idea. Bordering on a vampire-zombie apocalypse setting, Kings novels takes the vampire fantasy sub-genre to a new level of terror.
King is one of the most unrecognized writers on the planet. Oh, I know hes made millions from both his books and movie deals, but the literary world has continually given him the snub.
King single handedly reboots the entire vampire myth to a modern-day setting with his book. Without a doubt, Salem's Lot is one of Kings best books (and thats saying a lot since King has quite a fair share of them) and arguably a vampiric masterpiece.
Like with any classic King novel, there is a small community of people who are on many levels disconnected from each other. It is this very disconnection that shelters a lurking evil.
With loving detail, King builds up the community. You get the day to day sense of the community both the goodness present and the inherent flaws. But it's a town with dangerous secrets, with hidden closets and locked doors, a town where evil things can lurk beneath the light of the ordinary. It's a place where the ordinary can become extraordinary. A place where the uncanny can happen.
With Salems Lot, King builds a house of dominos and in one unrelenting chapter, tears it all down. So sit down and enjoy the feast. Its going to get bloody. This is one freaky novel folks, doused with all the King goodness you could ask for. Read it and be scared
Despite this novel only being Kings second book, the engaging pace of the plot will leave you waiting with bated breath to find out what happens next. King has been commended for his uncanny ability to respect the traditional vampire mythology while incorporating a completely unique twist in the story. Kings ability to create a realistic and modern (at least at that time) horror novel was praised for its realism with many reviewers commenting that the story could be set in any small,
American town. Replete with intense action scenes, readers were left stunned by Kings artful descriptions of violence in an atmosphere dripping with menace and mystery. Characterized as being one of the most terrifying vampire novels of all time, expect to be left wide awake after this blood curdling read.
With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne is a definite "must read" for even the pickiest fantasy fans.
In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony. In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it.
From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions. And it is these characters -- the ones you wish you could share a drink with or end up wanting to kill -- that forge the connection between fantasy and reality. Keethro, Titon, Ethel, Annora. These are names you will never forget, and each belongs to a man or woman as unique as they are memorable.
No book would be complete without a its fair share of intrigue, however, and there is no lack of it here. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments. Do not be fooled (or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun) by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first. This is no fairytale.
Although by no means the original or most enjoyable vampire novel, Bram Stokers Dracula is accredited as one of the most well-recognized displays of classic vampire fiction. Responsible for the introduction of the formidable Count Dracula, the father of gothic villains, Stokers Dracula successfully set the benchmark for vampire figures for years to come.
Dracula is the original archetype of vampire fiction and remains a truly captivating thriller that should be read at least once by anyone interested in the genre. Stoker uses the epistolary form to write Dracula and although rather wordy at times, this realistic technique helps make the malevolent and brutal vampire a truly terrifying force.
After reading Dracula, readers will see that before vampires were portrayed as attractive teenage boy, they were terrifying creatures of the night. Stoker uses dark, macabre imagery in the novel to make the reader question the finality of good and evil. Despite several storytelling flaws, the books discombobulated narrative structure actually creates a frantic, realistic tale. This eerie yet captivating horror narrative is a true work of art and is a must read for vampire enthusiasts everywhere.
This is THE progenitor of the entire vampire genre. While this is not the best vampire book in terms of style, originality, or plot (Stoker was a mediocre writer in terms of style at best), this is the book that put vampirism on the map in a big way. It spawned countless derivative books, and brought the vampire myth into public consciousness.
Yes, Dracula is technically not the first modern vampire story written, but it's the story that caught the public's eye and spawned an entire industry. Few other novels have ever had the lasting pop culture influence that Bram Stokers book has had. And for this reason alone, you should read it. And you know what, first-of-the-vampire-works-aside, the story itself also a pretty damn good tale to boot. Worth reading? Oh yea.
From the moment you jump into Vampire$ to the moment you finish, it’s vicious action without apology.
Steakley makes the vampire myth completely believable within the realms of his novel. No nonsense about turning into bats or any of that. No lovey dovey human and vampire harlequin nonsense with a handful of vampires with bad hair really being "decent guys" despite the fact they drink blood for sport. No, in this book vampires are just purely evil, purely vicious, murdering bastards. This book is as close to action perfection that you're going to find.
It's vulgar, edgy, and as good as it gets when it comes to reading about vampire killing. It's also got some of the best male camaraderie and bonding you'll read in a book (the non-gay kind).
The book follows a group of professional vampire killers. They love to drink, swear, and carouse, and they have the full backing of the Catholic church to kill some vampire ass. There was a movie made by John Carpenter based on this book. Forget it ever existed! Vampire$ is a thousand times better than that wreck of a movie. So if you want a kick ass vampire novel that doesn't scrimp out on vulgarity and raw action, Steakley's Vampire$ is the best you're going to find.
Blending science fiction and fantasy, the first book of the Coldfire Trilogy tells a dark tale of an alien world where nightmares are made manifest by a force (called the Fae) inhabiting the planet Erna.
A thousand years have passed since the original settlers landed on Erna, only to find out that heaven was hell -- paradise was haunted by an inimical force that draws on the darkness of the human mind.
But mankind has now come to an uneasy peace with the dark forces through the power of human sorcerers who use great powers of their powerful imagination to shape and mold the Fae, for profit and power.
But the dark forces of the Fae are now multiplying and pushing back against the human imagination...and soon darkness will run amok and humanity will fall...
This is a very different sort of 'vampire' tale, but one blended with science fiction and fantasy.
Coldfire tells a dark and grim tale of an alien world where nightmares become real, where the greatest enemy of man is man's own imagination.
One of the protagonists has sold his soul to the Fae, becoming an evil vampire who preys on young, helpless women. But dig beneath the surface of this anti-hero, and there's a story there. Even more so when the creature is forced to pair up with a priest -- the enemy of all he is -- to stop an even greater evil force in the world.
This is one of the more compelling fantasy works of the past several decades. It's decadent, richly woven fantasy that's lyrical and beautiful to read, with extremely well-developed characters who drag you along for the wild ride.
I guarantee you've never read a 'vampire' tale like this book, nor will you ever again.
This is epic fantasy soaked in a heavy dose of dark fantasy, where the heroes are sometimes villains, where the stakes are so grim and humanity is so desperate that an evil vampiric human must stand against a more demonic, inimical force.
Read it for something completely different.
Books in The Coldfire Tri... Series (3)
I’ve heard it said that it’s impossible for Dan Simmons to write a bad novel; I agree. A man with many talents (his Hyperion is considered one of Science Fictions most beloved novels), Simmons turns his unique skills to the Dracula tale. This books is great because not only does Simmons tell a fantastic thriller tale, he also flips the Vampire mythos upside down. The novel has one of the most convincing scientific explanations for vampires that I’ve yet read about.
This novel’s a fun one. Combine Nazis and Vampires in this piece of horror fiction. Captain Klause Woerman is told to hold a small abandoned keep in the heart of the Transylvanian Alps. When his men start disappearing, all hell breaks loose. For readers looking for Vampire fiction with a horror sting to it, The Keep is up there with the best. It’s a riveting page turner that takes some of the classic vampire lore that we are all used to and adds a whole new twist to it. Just don’t read it at night when you are alone. Especially if there’s a forest nearby.
If you've read Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and company take note, this is the novel you ’ve been looking for. It is in fact one of the best vampire stories out there, if you like some of those books. The Last Vampire is, as the title suggests, the story of the last vampire. The star of the show is Sita, a 5000 year old vampire who’s falling in love with a human who resembles her old (vampire) lover. This is her struggle to find peace. The Last Vampire is a series, but it’s one of the more intelligent and interesting vampire series on the market. I hands down prefer this to the new vampire books flooding the market.
At the time of writing, Rice's 'Interview with the Vampire' was unique in that it was one of only a few vampire fantasy novels that delivered a story from the perspective of a vampire. In what is a truly compelling tale, Rice details the exploits of a 200-year-old vampire named Louis, constructing a world of dark sensuality and enchanting sensory imagery.
The true heart of this gloomy tale is Louis, a vampire aged by his many years and repulsed by the crimes he is guilty of. Rice's prose is almost hypnotic in its simplicity, weaving together years of brutality, loss and self-loathing. After years of death and destruction, Louis narrates his dark history to a young boy in New Orleans.
Rice contrasts Louis' weary immortality with the damaged world around him, focussing on the brooding psychology of a man who stays the same while the world changes beyond measure. This world is rich in detail and depth with Rice describing vampires across the world, from a coven masquerading as actors in a Paris theater to feral vampires preying on people across Eastern Europe.
Rice's preoccupation with detail reaches its zenith in Louis' descriptions of his vampiric senses, imbuing the world with a magical quality that the man's own life cannot hope to reach. Rice's significant attention to detail and stunning narrative culminates in one of the most memorable endings in vampire fiction.
For a powerful vampire novel that tackles some of lifes important issues. Fledgling is not your standard vampire novel. So if you are expecting Twilight 7, dont waste your time. Rather, its an intelligent novel about society, about its prejudice, its power, and the transformation it causes. Its not very often that something new happens in the time-worn vampire fiction genre. However, Butler manages to instill something unique into the genre.
Where horror meets sci-fi, Octavia Butler creates a chilling, blood curdling fable that questions the very nature of humanity. When a young girl discovers she is actually a genetically engineered 'Ina' (essentially a vampire), she is forced to question her reality and attempt to discover what she truly is.
This 'soul searching' novel is a truly refreshing take on vampire mythology. Butler focusses on the vampire-human connections within her plot as the Ina form mutually beneficial 'harems' with humans. While this gives way to some odd and borderline creepy relationships in the book, this overall unique idea is a pleasant change of pace from the usual predator-prey relationship between vampires and humans
In 'Fledgling', Butler introduces and develops very well-rounded and likeable characters, including protagonist Shori. More importantly, Butler creates a well-paced plot that does not dawdle on useless details, concentrating on the vividly realized tale of horror and romance alike.
Humans have been conquered and now the vampires rule. Thats the premise of E.E. Knights wonderful Vampire Earth series. Vampire Earth is a skillful blending of different genres. It's one of those books where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The book (series in fact) follows the life of David Valentine, a man whose parents have been murdered by agents of the Kurians, otherworldly "vampires" that have enslaved humanity. The world is not as you know it, but rather a post-apocalyptic wasteland that's been corrupted and conquered by the alien overlords. Into this world is born Valentine.
For those of you who like your books gritty, you won't have too much to complain about when reading this novel. The action is absolutely vicious and heart pumping when it happens. This book is all about surviving by any means possible. Its not the most sophisticated of the vampire books in the vein of say, Butlers Fledgling. There is no hidden depth to the the novel, no subtext message present (other than maybe "it would suck to be conquered by an alien vampiric race"). But all that other stuff doesn't matter when you read the book.
If you're looking to retrace history back to the roots of the dark and alluring vampire mythology, then Polidori's novella is the book for you. Accredited as one of the original Vampire fantasy novels, Polidori's novella 'The Vampyre', encapsulates the unprecedented horror of traditional vampire mythology, playing on the genuine superstitious fears of the general public at the time of publication. The plot of terror and blood, although somewhat predictable, was the first of its kind written in English prose and, thus, had a great deal of influence across the world, particularly due to its revolutionary re-imaging of the stereotypical vampire into an aristocratic seducer of women.
The story itself is based on a fantastical tale told by a well-known Romantic Poet, Lord Byron, and immediately draws the reader into an exciting account of friendship, deceit, love and murder, taking it from a clichd horror story into an intriguing and diverse sub-genre of fantasy. This novella perfectly introduced the world to a chilling and unique take on vampires, spawning one of the most popular sub-genres of fantasy and horror. Polidori's interpretation of the vampire myth was so revolutionary at the time of publication, it would subsequently be adapted to both film and opera.
Penned by British author, Brain Lumley, this series of horror novels blur the line between fantasy and reality. First and foremost a vampire novel, Necroscope follows the story of man who can communicate with the dead and an evil force known as Thibor Ferenczy, a formidable and truly evil vampire.
The plot of these novels is far from conventional, often eliciting images of insanity on Lumley's behalf, however, the surprisingly crisp, distinctive dialogue and imagery makes for an incredible journey into the world of espionage, communism and most importantly, vampires. Furthermore, Lumley's complex and multifaceted creation of the sadistic and slightly manic villain, Ferenczy the vampire, is completely unique, setting the Necroscope series apart from every other vampire series on the shelves.
With a well-developed and nuanced plot, Lumley encapsulates old school horror in this epic series. By incorporating the real setting of the Cold War into a richly dark and macabre tale, Lumely has created a truly intriguing series, one that is definitely worth adding to your vampire fantasy collection.
Books in Necroscope Series (17)
In a pastiche of sci-fi, fantasy and horror, Justin Cronin's novel 'The Passage' explores an apocalyptic universe where a secret government experiment gone wrong leaves vampires ruling the world while humans face an endless battle for survival. This whopping 766-page book creates an extraordinary alternate universe, immersing readers into the stark and bleak prospects of an apocalyptic world.
Many critics of the novel have highlighted the annoyingly common use of diary entries and military reports in order to outline essential and dramatic plot development. However, this can be forgiven by Cronin's cleverly developed characters and chilling use of imagery.
Cronin's emotive writing coerces sympathy from his readers, even making the vampires or 'virals' likable characters. Set for at least two more subsequent installments, this novel is left on jaw-dropping cliffhangers, leaving readers perhaps slightly confused, but also desperate for more. An intriguing and complex story, 'The Passage' makes for a gargantuan post-apocalyptic masterpiece.
Even better, The Passage is the first in a trilogy, so you can continue following the story through the sequels, which surprisingly, hold up pretty well to the first (though not as good).
Books in The Passage Series (3)
With such a chilling title, it's easy to think 'They Thirst' is going to be another gory addition to vampire fiction. To some extent, this is true as the city of Las Angeles is partially transformed into a literal city of the dead. However, despite the use of some clichd vampire tropes, MacCammon manages to write an electrifying and terrifying tale of awe-inspiring evil. Abandoning any attempt to paint vampires as misunderstood creatures of the night, 'They Thirst' is a brilliant reminder of why humans are scared of the dark and McCammon's prose chillingly fits with the disturbing tone of the novel.
With descriptions like "prepare to face the Prince of Evil and his satanic disciples", MacCammon occasionally draws dangerously close to corny writing. However, these sloppy descriptions are few and are made up for MacCammon's relentless pacing and ruthless characterisation of the novel's villains. While 'They Thirst' has been criticized for its darker take on vampires, many view the inhuman and pitiless vampires as a truly fitting adversary for the citizens of Las Angeles.
This cleverly named comic fantasy novel from the 'Witches' subseries of the 'Discworld' novels, is an oddity amongst the dark, dangerous and terrible world of popular vampire novels today. This satirical novel embraces all that is vampire, and completely undermines it, making for a clever and well written critique of vampire mythology. Based on a family of vampires who invade the city state of Lancre, this book is a delightful read for those who wish to delve into the world of vampires, but don't quite have the stomach for the blood and guts.
Pratchett's novel revolves around multiple narratives, simultaneously describing extremely detailed accounts of each individual's character development and growth. Throughout the novel's final chapters, these plot point converge in a highly entertaining and equally enthralling climax. The pace of this novel is particularly speedy, making for a rapid and captivatingly quick read. Labelled by some as "a bit batty," this novel is the perfect introductory book for those wishing to explore a unique take on the usual vampire mythology.
With excellent prose and endless witty banter, Prachett has created a wonderful series that will stand the test of time and is certainly a welcome change to the stereotypical vampire novel.
Books in Discworld Series (47)
The original Dracula had become firmly cemented in society as the novel that placed the spotlight on vampires, kick-starting a whole sub-genre of fantasy and horror. In 'Dracula Unbound', Brian W. Aldiss paints a fascinating and truly genre defying story that takes the 'sci-fi' premise of time travel and applies it to vampire fantasy fiction. In the elaborate story, Aldiss merges science with the supernatural and manages to weave together several different timelines, sub-plots and genres in an immensely entertaining adventure. The titular Dracula is a truly menacing villain and is used powerfully and sparingly throughout the book. One of the most entertaining features of 'Dracula Unbound' is Dracula's time-spanning relationship with a famous writer, none other than Bram Stoker himself.
While some readers may take offense at the pseudo-scientific explanations, Aldiss' writing is replete with rich descriptions and edge-of-your-seat developments. Aldiss manages to cohesively integrate the classic gothic tone of vampire fiction with intriguing futuristic concepts like time travel paradoxes and nuclear waste. As a world threatening danger looms, Aldiss pulls out all the stops, delivering a climatic ending that will be sure to satisfy science fiction and fantasy horror readers alike.
As the source material behind the hit TV shows of the same name, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's vampire horror novel has received massive publicity after the TV show's success. After reading 'The Strain', it's easy to see why the TV adaption has become so popular. Del Toro and Hogan take the typical horror premise of a 'contagious virus' and apply it to the vampire genre. While the book's plot is largely unsurprising, del Toro and Hogan excel at crafting characters with depth. As the battle for New York City unfolds, mysteries abound and the brutal threat of the vampire menace is made abundantly clear during several 'blockbuster' action sequences.
The book is fast paced and relatively easy to read for anyone interested in the vampire horror genre. In 'The Strain', del Toro and Hogan take a modern interpretation of the vampire mythos that firmly rejects the notion that vampires are misunderstood, dapper and brooding creatures. Focusing on a Dracula-like figure called 'The Master', the book's fiendish vampires are utterly alien and devoid of romanticism, beauty and sympathy. The realism and scare factor in 'The Strain' is a refreshing change of pace and establishes the novel as a truly unique and horrifying entry in vampire fantasy.
Books in The Strain Series (3)
A novel based on an alternative history usually make for a peculiar and enticing read and this series by Kim Newman is no exception. The Anno Dracula series, inspired by, you guessed it, Stoker's Dracula, is peppered with a number of well-known historical figures such as Queen Victoria and Jack the Ripper, making it a far more realistic and believable narrative than most vampire fiction.
Newman's story is truly panoramic, including an alternative ending to Stoker's Dracula that is layered with politics, mystery, love and most importantly horror. Newman, a self-proclaimed horror enthusiast, does not hold back in his fantastical tale, shoving the brutal, horrific side of the Victorian age in the face of his readers. One of the book's strongpoints is the way Newman cleverly utilizes real events to enhance the novel's main narrative, a compelling and inventive history of the blood curdling legend of mass murderer, Jack the Ripper
Through every chapter, an aura of oppressive fear and suspense keeps readers hooked on a series that will continue to excite vampire enthusiasts for decades to come.
Books in Anno Dracula Series (4)
'The Historian' is a clever take on the modern vampire mythology, entwining the tale of the Romanian Prince, Vlad Tepes, and his vicious, vampiric personalityCount Dracula. Blurring the line between reality and superstition, Kostova's chilling novel follows the exploits of an unnamed narrator, studying the history and myth of Count Dracula. One of the most entertaining components of this book is the way that Kostova structures the plot. Using multiple timeliness and storytelling devices, it would be easy for Kostova's story to become diluted and bloated. However, 'The Historian' is tightly paced and the narrative organically unfolds across the book's three separate sections.
Dracula himself remains a shadowy figure and by the book's end, the reader will remain unsure if the legendary vampire is dead, alive or simply a myth. While some readers will be dissatisfied by the ethereal presence of Count Dracula, 'The Historian' is not a retelling of Bram Stoker's magnum opus and keeps the focus on the infamous vampire's legacy. It is this legacy of blood and terror that makes for such good storytelling and Kostova expertly uses the narrator's old letters as a framing device to ratchet up suspense and blend history with legend.
Few people know that the popular television series, 'The Vampire Diaries', actually originated with a passionate series of the same name. Although there are some notable differences between the popular television drama and Smith's novels, the books follow a similar tale when it comes to Elena Gilbert, a woman torn between her love for two vampire brothers.
As clichd as these novels are, with classic vampire fears of sunlight and wooden stakes, they are an enjoyable combination of teenage romance, graphic horror and fantasy, full of complex, well-developed characters and numerous plot twists. As each book of the series progresses, more and more fantastical characters, including werewolves and witches, are introduced, enthralling motives and hidden agendas are brought to light and the vampires of Mystic Falls become more dangerous than ever. The moody undertones of this novel, paired with the classic American high school tale of undying and unrequited love, make for an entertaining and exciting read.
Books in The Vampire Diar... Series (4)
Carnas' 1980 novel is a truly enlightening read, giving an unusual insight into the existential identity crisis of a deranged and murdering vampire. Based on a vampire whose condition stems from a biological mutation, rather than a bite, these five short stories, although all somehow connected to the protagonist, Dr. Weyland, earned Carnas the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 1981.
The villain of the short story collection, an innocuous college professor who runs a sleep study on his students to find victims, is a refreshing take on human evil. Furthermore, Carnas' titillating and enjoyable narrative does not rely on a handsome, brooding male vampire protagonist to entertain her readers.
Although many readers have found the lack of gore and horror to be less than entertaining (Dr. Weyland doesn't even have teeth!), Carnas' take on the modern vampire stays true to its roots and deliver an intense psychological thriller that ties five very different narratives into a multi-faceted and overall absorbing read.
Widely regarded as a classic addition to vampire fiction, 'Carmilla' is usually referred to as a novella rather than a full-length book. However, despite its short length, this captivating story is deserving of a place on this list for its attention to detail as well as the haunting focus on the vampire, Carmilla, and her young prey, an heiress named Laura. Carmilla takes the disturbing idea of unknowingly living with a vampire and crafts a deeply sinister tale of obsession, misperception and fear. As one of the earliest novels about vampires, Carmilla is heavily influenced by the Gothic style of horror fiction. Despite the conservative time of writing, Carmillia is permeated with ground-breaking ideas, including lesbian relationships and female protagonists.
However, it would be a mistake to label Carmilla as a pleasant tale of sensuality and friendship. The relationship between Carmilla and Laura is the bedrock of this novel and while their poignant discussions are sometimes innocent, Le Fanu succeeds in layering a constant feeling of suspense and menace to Carmilla's innocuous words. In a quarter of the length of other vampire fantasy novels, Le Fanu successfully creates an unforgettable character relationship between Carmilla and Laura, laying the foundations of the contemporary mythology of erotic and carnal bloodsuckers.
This inventive interpretation of the vampire myth, with vampires feeding on more than just blood, was one of the first psychic vampire novels of its time. Considered a classic among Victorian gothic novels, this book blurs the line between fact and fiction, posing a horrifying vision of a brutal, vampire ridden reality.
Viereck's prose and plot, although somewhat clunky to begin, does begin to build momentum, eventually culminating into a well-executed ending, with refreshing and innovative plot twists along the way. The fact that Viereck created a vampire who wasn't just after blood but for your mind and soul, creates a far more riveting psychological thriller that has readers asking 'what next?' for the entirety of the novel. Viereck's vampire is relentless and formidable, feeding on the human psyche with no remorse. This book may not be as well received by those looking for blood, guts and horror. For others, 'The House of the Vampire' will make for an entertaining and unique vampire thriller that left readers wanting more.
This 19th Century novel epitomizes the Gothic genre, centering on the dark, eccentric story of a bloodthirsty vampire and his crumbling aristocratic family.
It has been an endless source of debate for readers as to whether the protagonist, Varney, was in fact a literal vampire, or if the authors just wrote him to act like one, making the narrative somewhat distorted and confusing at times. Despite this, Varney the Vampire has been attributed to being one of the few books that revolutionized the classic vampire genre, along with Bram Stokers Dracula.
Sometimes referred to as The Feast of Blood, this novel really is a truly bloody and horrific tale, with graphic scenes of deceit, attempted murder and pitch-fork brandishing civilians.
Being originally published as a weekly column, the chronology of the book is fairly sporadic and sometimes, downright undiscernible, however, any self-respecting vampire enthusiast should give this book a try, if only for the unusually entertaining undertones of the novel.
Despite being published around the same time as Stokers Dracula, Marryat presents a vastly different and original tale. The vampire in this novel has been argued to be a metaphor for hysterical woman, which, given the time period this book was published, would be a reasonable assumption.
This hysterical vampire, who sucked the life out of the people around her, is shrouded in ambiguity, leading to two very different interpretations of this novelthen again, she was probably just a vampire.
With such vivid and intriguing melodrama, Marryat presents a painfully accurate image of an estranged, Victorian lady, while providing readers with a story that does not conform to the overused paradigm of a blood-sucking vampire.
As a truly horrifying and muted Gothic novel, this books realism makes it all themore frightening for readers.
This exceptionally entertaining novel features a highly likable and relatable protagonist and a bunch of vampires that are a far more accurate representation of the blood sucking fiends, in comparison to their young adult fiction counterparts.
These vampires are rotting, blood sucking, walking dead, which when you think about it, is a far more accurate illustration of what a traditional vampire really is. Although the label vampire romance may instill fear in your heart, dont be fooled by this generalized label of McKinleys novel. McKinley designs a dynamic cast of characters within her largely well-conceived plot, giving readers a taste of some unconventional characters in a vampire story.
Sunshine is a novel that strayed far from McKinleys usual writing style and genre, making it a refreshing read for McKinley fans. While the X-rated themes in this novel make it more appropriate for young adults, the mature and tactful writing style employed by McKinley makes it suitable for teens and adults alike.
Far from a trashy teen romance that populates the paranormal romance genre (which, regrettably, has given the high-quality, more serious works of Vampire fiction a bad name), McKinley makes a feisty, truly admirable protagonist who shines in the face of danger, keeping you enthralled as her story unfolds.
It was inevitable that Myer's corny, teen vampire romance would be one of the best-selling fantasy series of this day and age. After a quite lull in the vampire fantasy sub-genre, Myer managed to ignite the flame of vampire fantasy with new vigor, causing a world-wide vampire obsession. Myer cleverly used what she knew every teenage girl wanted - an attractive, yet painfully unreachable teen heartthrob - and created a modern and captivating love story, seamlessly melding these two very different sub-genres' together. The multifaceted plot of this story has something for every reader whether they're looking for a story of love, passion, violence, magic, drama and most importantly vampires, giving this series sweeping popularity with people of all ages and outlooks.
Although a vampire falling in love with a human and vice versa isn't unchartered territory, Myer's emotional and captivating narrative immediately draws readers into the depths of her saga, compelling them to follow the twists and turns of Bella and Edward's love affair. Myer's four-part series earned her a number of prestigious nominations and titles, including being named best book of the decade by Amazon. Myers novels have also been adapted into a multi-million-dollar movie series of the same name.
Books in Twilight Series (4)
While we've given a selection of some of the more serious works of Vampire fiction, sometimes you want a more low brow read, one full of teen angst, young adults, and some of the trappings that made the Twilight books a hit.
In that vein, Richelle Mead created a pretty solid YA masterpiece when she penned the Vampire Academy series, a lighter, more romantic take on the vampire genre, set in a schoolyard stage.
These books, typically targeted at young adults, perfectly combined a classic teenage vampire story and twisted it into a truly unique and detailed vampire fantasy.
While this book does stick to some tradition vampire lore, Mead creates an entirely new narrative and unprecedented take on the vampire world that is free of awkward phrasing and sappy characterization.
The use of a highly trained guardian to protect a mortal vampire princess from immortal vampire assassins is certainly a twist on the classic vampire novel that no reader has seen before.
Although the various subplots of this series are fairly predictable (hint: the protagonist falling in love with her trainer/vampire princess falling in love with a nave nerd), it is the entire vampire reality that Mead creates which makes this series a far more intriguing and compelling read than most other vampire novels.
While the film adaptation of these novels wasnt exactly a box-office hit, this novel and its accompanying film are an entertaining and easy read that can give you a good hit of vampire fiction to keep you going until another vampire novel hits the shelves.
This 12-part series took the teenage vampire sub-genre to new levels with its relatively original and relatable plot line. The authors of this series took a tired and overused genre and turned it into an entirely unique tale involving a vampire night school, a young female heroine and an endless series of dramas, involving love, deceit and life or death scenarios.
Because of that, it's a worthy series to add to the list of best vampire books.
Although this series has enough love triangles to put The Days of Our Lives to shame, the far more steamy and heated love affairs of protagonist Zoe and her group of fledgling vampire friends, make for a more mature and juicy read than some of the more juvenile works of vampire fiction pumped out these days.
Understand that this is more of a low-brow fantasy and certainly nothing as deep or thoughtful as the more serious treatments of vampires by other authors, the series is regardless, pretty damn fun to read.
Although the Cast family has received some very (VERY) mixed reviews for this series due to more than a few misguided statements involving a gay best friend and female sexuality, the overarching story of the book was complex and well-paced, building up to a gripping fight against a greater threat to the House of Night Vampire family in the final novels of the series.
The Cast family may have demonstrated just how well they can write like a group of ill-informed and completely judgmental teenagers with this incredibly unusual series, but it is possible to look past the flaws and enjoy this series as a fun, guilty dive into the world of vampirism.
Goofy, yes. A Guilty pleasure read, maybe. Something you should read if you want Days of Our Lives, 'The Vampire Edition'? Absolutely.
Books in House of Night S... Series (12)
Our Version of the List
At a Glance
- 1 Fevre Dream (George R.R. Martin)
- 2 I Am Legend (Richard Matheson)
- 3 Salem's Lot (Stephen King)
- 4 Dracula (Bram Stoker)
- 5 Vampire$ (John Steakley)
- 6 Black Sun Rising (C.S. Friedman)
- 7 Children Of The Night (Dan Simmons)
- 8 The Keep (F. Paul Wilson)
- 9 The Last Vampire (Christopher Pike)
- 10 Interview With A Vampire (Anne Rice)
- 11 Fledgling (Octavia E. Butler)
- 12 Vampire Earth (E.E. Knight)
- 13 The Vampyre (John William Polidori)
- 14 Necroscope (Brian Lumley)
- 15 The Passage (Justin Cronin)
- 16 They Thirst (Robert McCammon)
- 17 Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
- 18 Dracula Unbound (Brian Wilson Aldiss)
- 19 The Strain (Guillermo Del Toro)
- 20 Anno Dracula (Kim Newman)
- 21 The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova)
- 22 The Vampire Diaries (L. J. Smith, Aubrey Clar...
- 23 The Vampire Tapestry (Suzy McKee Charnas)
- 24 Carmilla (Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu)
- 25 The House of the Vampire (George Sylvester Vi...
- 26 Varney The Vampire: Or (Thomas Preskett Pres...
- 27 The Blood of the Vampire (Florence Marryat)
- 28 Sunshine (Robin Mckinley)
- 29 The Twilight Saga (Stephenie Meyer)
- 30 Vampire Academy (Richelle Mead)
- 31 House of Night (P. C. Cast)
Publicly Ranked Version of the List45 items >>
- Dracula (Bram Stoker)
- I Am Legend (Richard Matheson)
- Salems Lot (Stephen King)
- The Vampire Lestat (Anne Rice)
- Vampire$ (John Steakley)
- Vampire Earth (E.E. Knight)
- Sunshine (Robin Mckinley)
- Marked (P. C. Cast)
- Ravens Deep (Maggie Stiefvater)
- Blood (Truman Capote)
- Club Dead (Charlaine Harris)
- Saint Vampire (S.H. Bown)
- The Keep (Jennifer Egan)