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Vampire Books That Don't Suck

Kyra S.
The list author says: "As part of my ongoing campaign to find and publicize (to the extent of my limited ability, anyway) vampire books that are actually, you know, good, which is to say those that don't involve sparkling vampires, stupid love triangles, whiny narrators, and bad writing. Basically I'm just trying to find vampire books that aren't Twilight, although not being Twilight and not sucking don't necessarily go together (the Vampire Kisses series, for instance, looks fairly horrific). I've already reviewed a couple of these books at my book-review blog (lostquiteclassically.today.com) and plan to cover all of them there."
Sunshine
Sunshine
"My very favorite vampire novel ever. Seriously, if you read one book on this list, it should be this one. Well, and Barbara Hambly's."
Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher, Book 1)
Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher, Book 1)
"Don't let the horrible cover fool you--this is historical vampire lit at its best."
Traveling with the Dead
Traveling with the Dead
"Sequel to Those Who Hunt the Night, and maybe even better, in part because the characters spend most of the book traveling across Europe, including a lot of time in a very accurately presented Constantinople (at least it's accurate from what I can tell, having visited Istanbul last year)."
Renfield: Slave of Dracula
Renfield: Slave of Dracula
Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, Book 1)
Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, Book 1)
"My new favorite vampire series. I will definitely read more of these. (From what I hear, the series goes somewhat downhill after a while, which is disappointing...but I still plan to read more.)"
Peeps
Peeps
"A very different, creative, and compulsively readable take on vampires. Also, you will learn far, far more about parasites than you EVER wanted to know."
The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book
"Not exactly a vampire novel, but one of the major characters is a vampire, and he's awesome."
Bloodlist (Vampire Files, No. 1)
Bloodlist (Vampire Files, No. 1)
Lifeblood: The Vampire Files, Book 2
Lifeblood: The Vampire Files, Book 2
Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, Book 3)
Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, Book 3)
"Pretty much all the Dresden Files feature vampires to one extent or another, but this is the first to make them really major antagonists. Also, we meet Thomas, who is awesome (and a vampire)."
Blood Rites (The Dresden Files, Book 6)
Blood Rites (The Dresden Files, Book 6)
"Another Dresden Files book that focuses on vampires. Also, uh, the adult film industry, which is controlled by the succubus-like White Court vampires, and I PROMISE it's less cheesy than it sounds. Way more awesome with Thomas here, among other things."
Backup
Backup
"Notable because it has even more to do with vampires than the other Dresden Files books because Thomas narrates this one. That means we get some pretty cool insights on the nature of these vampires' hunger and humanity or lack thereof that we don't necessarily get from Harry, even if the plot is a little lacking."
HISTORIAN / A NOVEL
HISTORIAN / A NOVEL
"Two historians are drawn into a crazy, deadly mystery that ends up leading all them to Dracula. I liked it, although I'd recommend it to someone wanting another twist on the Dracula legend rather than, say, to the Twilight crowd; it's not nearly as accessible or fast-paced as Sunshine or Barbara Hambly's books."
By Blood We Live
By Blood We Live
"Another anthology of vampire stories by lots of different authors, most of them very well known--a really long anthology, too, so there are a lot of awesome stories in it, several of which I really wished were novels rather than short stories."
Evernight (Evernight, Book 1)
Evernight (Evernight, Book 1)
"The first third of this book reads like a blatant (but better) Twilight rip-off--but it's not, and I can't say why without spoiling most of it. I'll definitely check out the other books in this series."
The Darkangel (The Darkangel Trilogy)
The Darkangel (The Darkangel Trilogy)
"This isn't a traditional vampire series, but it's well worth a read."
Millennium Snow, Vol. 1 (Millenium Snow)
Millennium Snow, Vol. 1 (Millenium Snow)
Agyar
Agyar
Many Bloody Returns
Many Bloody Returns
"Anthology of vampire stories, some meh and some awesome."
The Record of a Fallen Vampire, Vol. 1
The Record of a Fallen Vampire, Vol. 1
Myth-ing Persons/Little Myth Marker 2-in-1 (Myth 2-in-1)
Myth-ing Persons/Little Myth Marker 2-in-1 (Myth 2-in-1)
Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)
Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)
"This book was a little disappointing in its execution, but the concept--Victorian London populated with vampires and werewolves as part of the overall social structure--is great, and I did like the worldbuilding."
Goldcamp Vampire
Goldcamp Vampire
"Overall it's kind of a fun book and not quite as campy as the cover makes it look, but it's not what I was hoping for--it's much more of the standard "hey evil vampires are killing people, better do something about that.""
Mansfield Park and Mummies: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights
Mansfield Park and Mummies: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights
"Again, not strictly a vampire book since the whole mummy thing is at the center of this Austen mashup, but it does pretty prominently feature a vampire, and anyway it's way better than most of the other mashups going around."
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
"Much better than you'd think, even if it's not remotely perfect. Overall a fun read."
Fatal Bargain (The Vampire's Promise 3)
Fatal Bargain (The Vampire's Promise 3)
Salem's Lot
Salem's Lot
"As a novel I really liked it; loved the fact that it's basically a (more tragic) Dracula retelling set in a small American town. As a vampire novel a bit less so, because it's really just a study of the nature of evil with vampires getting to play the part of said evil in this particular instance."
Jane Slayre
Jane Slayre
"Shut up, I actually liked it. Uh, more than the original. DON'T JUDGE ME. (Well, the original's all gothic without actual supernatural stuff going on, so frankly, adding the supernatural elements makes sense.)"
The Reformed Vampire Support Group
The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer)
Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer)
"Well, it's got some interesting characters and worldbuilding, and at least it does address the other side of the sexualized-vampire trope. But it's also really info-dumpy, and there's a lot of sex, if that's not what you're looking for."
Bloody Red Baron
Bloody Red Baron
"Yeah, I don't know. It's about vampires in WWI and it does have some really interesting worldbuilding (starting in the previous book, in which Dracula isn't defeated after all and becomes Victoria's consort, I think) as well as some cool stuff with the physicality of the vampire state, but...I don't know. The writing style is strange and it's hard finding any truly likable characters."
Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, Book 1)
Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, Book 1)
"File under "Well, it's better than Twilight thanks to plot, characterization, and worldbuilding, but...meh. Doubt I'll continue the series.""
Marked: A House of Night Novel (House of Night Novels)
Marked: A House of Night Novel (House of Night Novels)
"Ditto."
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)
"Ditto, but somewhat less so. I liked this one okay, but looking at synopses for further books in the series made it sound like mostly YA romance-drama with some vampires thrown in, which...well, if that's what I wanted, I'd read Twilight."
Companions of the Night
Companions of the Night
"Okay, this is only on the list because the first third is actually good, the whole thing is reasonably well-written, and it's a whole lot more explicit about how hey, vampires sure are attractive but they're also scary killer monsters, and also...something which I am calling Stockholm Syndrome, because otherwise it's even worse than Edward/Bella."
Team Human
Team Human
"Basically it's Twilight if Twilight were actually good. ItÂ’s a high-school vampire love story but itÂ’s also got stuff like intense ladyfriendships, an engagement with history, real humor, WORLDBUILDING YAY, a smart and snarky protagonist, and just all-around awesomeness. If you like vampires, or if youÂ’re really tired of vampires lately, you should read this book."