I’ve already blogged about vampire books in some capacity but I wanted to write up a more comprehensive list. So from the classics to new YA releases, here are some vampire books I think are worth checking out.
I can only speak for myself, but for someone who loves vampire books, I felt that most of what I read as a teen fell flat. Maybe that’s why I DIY’d with some fan fiction? Aside from the glaring issues with Twilight, a lot of the books I tracked down didn’t captivate me or felt like a poor retelling version of an existing vampire story.
I love The Vampire Diaries TV show, but, for the first time ever, hated the books it was based on – and I tried; I read a lot of them. So, for the sake of poor vampire-starved teenage me, I decided to compile a list of what I think are the best vampire books.
Best Vampire Books List
1. Militia of the Lost – Laurence Beveridge
Princey wakes up with no recollection of who he is. He joins the Fearless Vampire Killers with the goal of reclaiming Grandomnia from the Cardinal.
Laurence Beveridge from the band Fearless Vampire Killers wrote this book. It is the second of his three published books but you don’t need to have read Ruple & Evelyn first – nor do you technically need to know much about the band but the emotional scenes definitely hit harder when you’re as emotionally invested as I am.
2. The Saga of Darren Shan – Darren Shan
I’ve mentioned The Saga of Darren Shan too many times on this blog but it hands down is my favourite vampire series and my favorite book series ever, so I had to mention it.
Darren and his friend Steve go to a freak show. While Steve is trying to convince Mr. Crepsley to turn him, Darren decides to steal his spider. Soon Darren is living the life his best friend always wanted and is part of a war between the Vampires and the Vampaneze bigger than himself.
Although these are kid’s books – and the 12 books are tiny – do not underestimate this series. The world-building and dept of characters is something that stayed with me all these years later. The first few books are simple but it gets much darker and more complex as it goes on.
3. The Saga of Larten Crepsley – Darren Shan
The Saga of Larten Crepsley is a prequel to The Saga of Darren Shan and is all about Mr. Crepsley’s life before he met Darren.
If you’re a big fan, it will destroy you emotionally.
4. Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
Stephen King is always a failsafe author for me. When I don’t know what to read, I read one of his books because I know I won’t be let down. His second-ever book was about vampires!
Salem’s Lot is about a man, Ben Mears, who returns to a town he lived in as a child 25 years later to write a novel. He learns that the residents are turning into vampires!
5. Interview With The Vampire – Anne Rice
Interview With The Vampire is one of the most popular vampire novels. It’s the first of the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.
Louis de Pointe du Lac chronicles his 200 years as a vampire and his time with Lestat and Claudia.
6. House of Night Series – P.C. & Kristen Cast
Zoe Redbird is terrified when she is Marked. The mark, a crescent moon that appears on your forehead, sentences teenagers to four years at the House Of Night as they underdo the vampyre transformation – a process which can be fatal.
I was pretty into the House of Night series when I was 13. To be honest, I think some of the appeal for me was feeling rebellious because they were intended for slightly older teens.
That said, I liked how the authors incorporated elements of Wicca into the story and the meaning behind the vampire’s tattoos. I love it when authors make their version of a vampire more original. I’ll admit that it might not hit the same if I tried to re-read all these years later, but I really enjoyed them at the time.
I will say, sometimes the authors take it a bit far trying to sound like teenagers, and to teenage me, it felt like a caricature. So older readers or anyone with a short fuse will hate this. They also got outdated really quick, slut-shaming and making fun of eating disorders might have flown in 2009 but not now.
7. Dracula – Bram Stoker
Dracula became the face of vampires so it had to appear on this vampire book list. You might be surprised to learn that Dracula actually wasn’t the first-ever vampire novel!
The book is about Count Dracula attempting to move from Transylvania to England so he can create more vampires and feast on new blood.
8. The Strain – Guillermo del Toro
I’ve mentioned before that I love when authors give vampire’s their own spin. I don’t think anyone did it quite like Guillermo del Toro – who you may recognize as the director of Pan’s Labyrinth. If you can’t stand YA romance novels or sexy vampires, you’ll love how gruesome this tale is.
In The Strain vampirism is just that, a strain of a virus threatening New York.
9. The Lost Girls: A Vampire Revenge Story – Sonia Hartl
Holly Linddell was turned in 1987 by her boyfriend, Elton. Decades late he ditches her and she ends up meeting his other exs. Holly, Rose, and Ida want to kill him before he turns another girl.
I love the twist of the generic teenage-vampire love story trope. And I also love seeing sapphic vampire books that aren’t super male-gazey.
10. A Dowry Of Blood – S.T. Gibson
A Dowry of Blood is a retelling of Dracula’s Brides. It’s from Constanta’s perspective who is his first bride. The book is a poetic open letter to her husband.
It’s a novella so would be on the shorter side, but is every bit as compelling as the vampire novels on this vampire book’s list.
11. Metallic Red – Jennifer Ann Shore
Mina Byron is a half-vampire and wants to embrace her human side. Her uncle, who just so happens to be the vampire King of Appalachia, agrees to send her to a private high school. Mina’s new life comes at a cost.
Although this is YA, a lot of older readers seemed to enjoy Metallic Red because of how witty it is.
The Final Word On The Best Vampire Books List
As an adult who would still like to read vampire books, I still find it lacking. So, feel free to leave any recommendations you have down below. Hopefully, this means there’s space in the literary world for the vampire series I hope to release one day.
Have you read any of these vampire books? What would you consider to be the best vampire books?