Advertisement
A dark room lit only by candles with a singularly unique piece of furniture lying at the center of the room. Closer inspection leads you to find out that the incomparable piece of furniture is a coffin. That is when your brain goes into overdrive mode, with all the stories that you have ever read about the bloodsucking bat-like creatures of the night, commonly called vampires, swirling around in your head. That is what the vampire fiction can do to you. The best books of this genre ever published, have managed to create an alternate reality, paving the way for vampire lifestyles among the people, who are so inclined. There has been a lot that has been said about vampire myths and legends, all of which is obviously questionable. But, is it a possibility that these myths are based on reality? Flipping the pages of some of the best books on vampires ever written, you may have a feeling that these stories are true but doubted it due to lack of proof. Are vampires real? All the books listed below are based on the premise that these creatures of the night are real, and each one of these books is good enough to make us believe that they probably are.

For Adults

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker's Dracula is probably the first book that pops to one's mind when you hear the term vampire fiction. With Count Dracula as the antagonist of the novel, the book took the world of fiction by storm, when it was published in 1897. The novel is written as a series of letters and journal entries supplemented by accounts from newspapers. These letters and journal entries are written by several narrators, who are also the main characters in the novel, who team up to fight Count Dracula. Stoker spent almost seven years researching for the novel studying European folklore about vampires, which is the reason for the historical references that the novel contains.

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
The first novel in the series, The Vampire Chronicles, the book is set on the premise of an interview between a young reporter Daniel Molloy and a vampire, Louis, who recounts to him, his life spanning 200 years. It is an interesting tale of how Louis is transformed into a vampire by Lestat. At the time of the transformation, in the late eighteenth century, Louis was an indigo plantation owner in New Orleans. The story then spans his life and the many life-changing incidents he experiences, like their adoption of a 'daughter', the death of Lestat and then Claudia, their daughter. The novel was made into a motion picture, starring Brad Pitt as Louis, Tom Cruise as Lestat, and Kirsten Dunst as Claudia.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
My personal favorite among the list, this is one of the few novels that actually manages to send a chill down your spine as you read it. A debut novel by Kostova, she wrote it 10 years before selling it to her publishers. The author based the book on the historical references of the 15th century ruler of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, and combined it with references from Bram Stoker's Dracula. The novel has three different narratives in the form of letters and conversations; of Paul, a professor, his mentor, and Paul's 16 year old daughter, who is the narrator, tying together these three narratives. The novel traces their quest for the tomb of Vlad the Impaler.

Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris
The basis for the HBO series, True Blood, starring Anna Paquin, the Southern Vampire Series has Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress living in the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, as its protagonist. An engaging book series, it is based on the premise that what we believe to be supernatural in the real world, is actually real, and that human beings live with a knowledge of the presence of these creatures. The series states that vampires, werewolves, and other mythical creatures are real, and exist in the world that our characters inhabit. Charlaine Harris has written 10 books on this premise till date, with an additional three books in the pipeline.

For Young Adults

Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer
While not a personal favorite, it has become a cult preference among teenagers and adults alike, and is being claimed as one of the best vampire romance novels to have been released in a long time. Chronicling the love story between Isabella Swan or Bella, a human and Edward Cullen, a vampire, the series is a set of four books, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. The series has won numerous awards, has been translated into 38 languages, and is now the basis for a movie series starring Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart. The fourth book may be potentially divided into two movies.

House of Night by PC Cast and Kristin Cast
This continuing series of books revolves around the life of a young vampire, Zoey Redbird, at the House of Night boarding school based at Tulsa in Oklahoma. Written by a mother-daughter duo, the 1st book in the series was released in 2007, with 7 books being published till date. The series, which is intended to be a 12 book series has been released in 39 countries. Most books in the series have been bestsellers on the New York Times Best Seller list, making them some of the best books on vampires.

Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
A teen cult classic, Lost Souls, is an explosive mix of humans, vampires, and teen angst. Though, the novel has characters from Brite's earlier short story, The Seed of Lost Souls, the protagonist of this novel is a boy called Jason aka Nothing, who discovers his vampire heritage, and sets out on a journey to search for his vampire family and the band Lost Souls. The book released to widespread critical acclaim, praised for its portrayal of teen rage, their need to discover themselves and creating a world where magic and mystery become impossibly real. While the book is mature in its content, and has extremely graphic and violent passages, it is a brilliant read for youngsters.

The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan
A series comprising four trilogies and therefore, 12 books, The Saga of Darren Shan, started of as a side project, to keep Darren Shan, the author busy, while he was in between writing two adult books. The first book, Cirque du Freak, received such good reviews, that it metamorphosed into a series of 12 books, about a young boy, who is forced by a vampire to become his assistant and a half-vampire. The first trilogy, Vampire Blood, revolves around Darren trying to accept vampire traditions and what he has become. Vampire Rites, the second trilogy is about him trying to be accepted by the close knit clan of vampires. In Vampire War, Darren learns about the role he needs to play to decide the fate of vampires, and in the final trilogy, Vampire Destiny, Darren faces his nemesis, the Lord of the Vamapnzee, sworn enemies of the vampire clan. The series of 12 books was published over a period of 6 years, and is widely heralded as the best vampire book series for young adults.

While not a comprehensive list, this collection lists out those books that are classics and have changed the way we, as readers, started looking at vampire fiction, categorizing it as a sub-genre in its own right.