A decade ago vampire books were *the thing*. After the success of the first Twilight movie, my local books stores had shelves coated black from all the vampire books to read that had come out capitalizing on the glittering vampire series hysteria. So, will vampire books ever recover from Twilight or are they doomed to be seen cringy glittery high schoolers forever?
Is The Hatred Rooted In Anti-Fandom Culture And Misogyny?
Twilight wasn’t amazing looking back at it. 12-year old me was a big “Twi-hard” but I couldn’t even stand New Moon at the time. Bella literally didn’t go outside for months after Edward left, even though their relationship was toxic to begin with (a boy breaking into your room to watch you sleep is not romantic). Jacob wasn’t much better because of how possessive he was.
The hate Twilight got was unnecessary. I’m sure the fact that Stephane Meyer allegedly based Edward Cullen on Gerard Way and he then wrote the scathing Vampire Money about saying no to having a song in the soundtrack must have hurt. It’s also not her fault that 50 Shades happened because of it.
Vampire Money is one of the best albums on Danger Days though.
Sexy Vs. Scary Vampires
Twilight is blamed for vampires falling from their scary status in horror to YA and sex symbols. Vampires being sexy wasn’t a new thing, they’ve always had that appeal, but it was at this time that True Blood took that and ran with it.
I still feel that as poor as I think Twilight aged, a lot of hatred was rooted in people hating the mainstream without watching it, and the constant dismissal of anything that attracts young girls and LGBTQ+ people.
It’s why so many bands can’t get respect, the second the have a large teenage fanbase older people don’t give them a chance due to an inherent belief that this demographic can only like things for superficial reasons. Twilight might not hold up well, but most of the vampire genre was painted with the same brush afterward. There’s this inherent belief that LGBTQ+ people, as well as teenage girls, have “poor” taste.
The Hatred Of YA
A lot of people hate YA for similar reasons. YA is meant for younger readers, of course teenagers are going to want to relate to other teenage characters.
Although I don’t keep up with YA as much anymore, because I can’t relate to it, I prefer it to a lot of Adult Fiction which sometimes seems to want to shove as many explicit scenes and language in as they can, because they can. I swear like a sailor so the language doesn’t bother me, I just find a lot of Adult Fiction a bit too crude at times, and not as welcoming.
You might like these zombie & apocalypse YA books.
Valid Reasons To Hate Twilight
There are countless reasons to hate Twilight. The problem is, the people who hated Twilight passionately, didn’t hate it for those reasons. They just hated teenage girls having fun.
You can say the same about Disney adults. There are valid issues worth addressing, but the hatred seems to just be misogyny.
So, here are the reasons why Twilight is problematic:
- Edward and Bella’s relationship is so unhealthy
- Breaking into someone’s house to watch them sleep is creepy
- Jacob is too possessive and entitled
- Edward is also too possessive
- Jacob imprinted on a baby
- The Quileute Tribe have reportedly not been compensated
- The insinuations that the wolves, who are Native Americans, are savage animals that cannot control themselves is racist, even if that wasn’t anyone’s intention
- Stephanie Meyer reportedly did not want diverse actors playing vampires
- Everyone is somehow fine with Jasper being a Confederate soldier
- In Midnight Sun, Edward sees Bella’s classmates as kids, yet dates Bella
Vampires Before Twilight
Vampires were a YA staple before Twilight. So, when wondering will vampire books ever recover from Twilight, if you were hoping for no more YA, you’ll be disappointed.
The Vampire Diaries books came out in 1991, the Saga of Darren Shan (aka Cirque du Freak) was released in 2000, but both of these got their big-screen adaptions in 2009, when Twilight was all the range but I think that was mostly poor-timing and not an attempt to cash in. Although the Vampire Diaries TV show was one of my favourites (the books not so much) the film based on the Saga of Darren Shan flopped.
We can’t talk about vampires and not acknowledge Buffy the Vampire Slayer which started in 1997.
Although vampires were never fully off the radar before Twilight, it was the trigger for the genre becoming oversaturated, and I feel like it never quite bounced back or earned the respect back.
Are Vampire Books Still Popular?
The main concern when wondering will vampire books ever recover from Twilight, is about how the genre is doing today. In the fan-fiction world vampire books are as popular as ever, but commercially…
They’re actually not doing badly. There are a good few vampire books coming out this year.
Vampires aren’t as popular as they were in the Twilight era. Twilight came in at the tail end of the Harry Potter films so it was almost trying to fill the gap before it had even opened. As Harry Potter came to an end, there was a lot of “what’s the next Harry Potter?” speculation. Of course, who knew that to this day the Boy Who Lived refuses to die.
Once vampires had run their course dystopian fiction took it’s place with The Hunger Games, and Divergent being the forerunners. The black vampire wall in my local bookshop was replaced with Hunger Games knock-offs. There was also a very very brief YA and movie phase of… tragic love stories, triggered by The Fault in Our Stars.
I don’t pay attention to YA as much anymore but for the past few years, I’d say superheroes have been the big trend in pop culture.
Fun fact: Josh Hutcherson was a part of both YA booms as Steve Leonard in The Vampire’s Assistant, and Peeta in The Hunger Games.
What Genre Are Vampire Books?
To give one answer for what genre are vampire books fall into is impossible; they’re in everything. Usually horror and YA, but they find a place in pretty much all supernatural tales, as well as romance, and even comedy.
Vampire Books To Read That Aren’t Twilight
I still love vampires. I dressed up as a vampire almost every year as a child for Halloween. Even if I’ve recently begun to appreciate witches more, vampires will always be my favourite supernatural creatures. Here are some vampire books to read:
Dracula wasn’t the first vampire story but is arguably one of the founding fathers of horror as the character has never left Halloween, horror, and pop-culture.
There are so many adaptions and retellings as this is one of the most iconic vampire books and movies but start with the original book by Bram Stoker. The book is about Count Dracula trying to move from Transylvania to England so he can create more vampires and feast on new blood, but it doesn’t go as smoothly as he hoped.
2. Interview With The Vampire
The first of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire is the life story of Louis de Pointe du Lac where he chronicles his 200 years as a vampire, with Lestat and Claudia.
I thought it was called Interview with A Vampire for years but it must be a Mandella Effect. The movie adaption is also well worth watching. It’s easily one of the best vampire books and movies.
3. The Saga of Darren Shan
The Saga of Darren Shan is a story of a young boy stealing a vampire’s venomous spider, and paying the price with his own immortality to save his best friend who was bitten by her.
Darren Shan (yes, he did name the protagonist after himself) did something special with this take on vampires because he created a whole new series; the Vampaneze.
Vampires originally killed when they fed but when a few vampires wanted to spare their prey, they started feeding differently. They started leaving their hosts alive, while the Vampaneze continued to kill because they thought it was the respectful thing to do, which triggered a war between what then became two species.
The Vampanze have purple skin because of how much blood they drink. That wasn’t going to happen in the film so they made Josh Hutcherson wear purple contacts.
These books are more for kids, but I do think older reads might appreciate it. Darren also writes horror for older readers, like Sunburn.
4. The Saga Of Larten Crepsley
Larten Crepsley was one of the most beloved characters of the Saga of Darren Shan, so the fact that he has his own series about his life before meeting Darren was a dream come true.
Now if Vancha March also got a saga I’d be over the moon.
5. The House Of Night Series
The House of Night series by mother and daughter Kristin and P.C Cast was one of Twilights‘ biggest rivals. These books were like a more grown-up Harry Potter combined with Twilight as it’s set in a Vampyre boarding school.
I say grown up because I was 13 reading them, and was a bit too young, I’d recommend it for 15/16 and upwards.
Zoe Redbird is a normal high school student when she’s marked to become a Vampyre. Zoe’s the chosen one the second she becomes a vampire fledging as what’s meant to be a hollow crescent moon on her forehead is full, and her tattoos appear before all her classmates. She has to leave her old life behind and become a student of the House of Night, but dark forces are at play.
So, Will Vampire Books Ever Recover From Twilight?
I think things are going back to the way they were before Twilight. They’ll probably never be the hit thing again but I’m happy with that. As someone who wants to one day publish her own vampire books, I hope they regain the respect they once had. I think for a while we all collectively cringed at them.
What about you, will vampire books ever recover from Twilight? If not, check out these Halloween books instead.