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Best Vampire Books

A list of the best of the best of vampire fiction

Vampires have experienced a huge renaissance the past couple years (with the release of the Twilight Books by Stephanie Meyers). However, those who have been weaned on vampire books such as 'Twilight' are sorely missing out on the really good vampire fiction out there.

That’s not to say that Twilight books are “bad” (they are meeting a market need for certain people) but they are certainly not complex books by any means and they certainly don't do anything "new" in the genre. Such books are for kiddies and the supermarket crowd -- fine for the average person, but not for the discriminating reader.

If you are tired of reading all the crappy, derivative vampire books on the market or you simply want to branch out of your Twilight phase and experience OTHER vampire novels that are delectable, then read this list of the best vampire books in the genre, period.

Let me be up front and say that the vampire genre is not my particular field of expertise - I've read enough vampires books to make some good recommendations (and I've done a wackload of research into the genre scouring for stand-out vampire fiction), but unlike say epic fantasy, I'm not as well read as I should be. That means there is a very real possibility there may be great fantasy books missing from this list because I have not yet read them.

Make sure you also check out our similar lists which give more recommendations of books that contain Vampires.

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Award Nominations:1983 LocusF, 1983 WFA

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. 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. 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 bast damn vampire tale you'll ever read.

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Few books have been as influential as this one. Before I am Legend, vampires were trapped on the pages of Gothic novels. Richard Matheson 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; he’s 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. Don’t think because you’ve seen the feature film based on the book that you already know the story. The film in no way matches the spin-tingling chill present throughout the entire book.

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King is one of the most unrecognized writers on the planet. Oh, I know he’s 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 King’s best books (and that’s 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 Salem’s Lot, King builds a house of dominos and in one unrelenting chapter, tears it all down. So sit down and enjoy the feast. It’s 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

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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. 

Available on Amazon & Audible, Barns & Noble, iTunes, Google, and Kobo.

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, I 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 Stoker’s 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This is one of the best novels featuring vampires in the modern era.

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For a powerful vampire novel that tackles some of life’s important issues. Fledgling is not your standard vampire novel. So if you are expecting Twilight 7, don’t waste your time. Rather, it’s an intelligent novel about society, about its prejudice, it’s power, and the transformation it causes. It’s not very often that something new happens in the time-worn vampire fiction genre. However, Butler manages to instill something unique into the genre.

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Humans have been conquered and now the vampires rule. That’s the premise of E.E. Knight’s 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. It’s not the most sophisticated of the vampire books in the vein of say, Butler’s 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.

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