10 years ago vampire books were the thing. After the success of the first Twilight movie, my local books stores had shelves coated plack from all the vampire books to read that had come out capitalizing on the glittering vampire series hysteria. Will vampire books and movies ever recover from Twilight or are they doomed to be cringy glittery high schoolers forever?
Is the hatred rooted in anti-fandom culture?
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 over her. Twilight led me to discovering vampire books and movies I liked more such as the House of Night books, and the Saga of Darren Shan which is still a favourite of mine.
I feel bad for Stephane Meyer. The hate she got was unnecessary, and I’m sure the fact that she 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.
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+, as well as teenage girls, have “poor” taste.
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.
What was it like before Twilight?
Vampires were a YA staple before Twilight. 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. Conveniently, when Twilight was all the range. 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
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
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.
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.
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 Vampanese. 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 Vampanese continued to kill because they thought it was the respectful thing to do, which triggered a war between what then became two species. The Vampanese 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.
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.
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. The House of Night was 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 Vampires 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, just because I think for a while we all collectively cringed at them.
Do you think vampires will ever recover from Twilight?