When the weather turns cooler and the nights grow longer, when leaves begin to turn the color of pumpkins, that’s when it comes: the hunger. It starts softly. A horror movie here. A spooky comic there. Then it grows, and if you’re anything like me, before you know it, you find yourself elbow-deep in novels. The hunger never really goes away; it just sleeps. It waits. And vampire books are like vampires themselves: one feeding just isn’t going to cut it.
Vampire fans have been pretty lucky for the past couple of years. Between Stephanie Meyer’s return to the world of Twilight with Midnight Sun and Jay Kristoff’s Empire of the Vampire—the bastard lovechild of The Witcher, Interview with a Vampire, and Castlevania—we’ve had plenty to sink our teeth into. But with everything going on in the world, you might have missed some new vampire books that absolutely deserve to be added to the Bram Stoker canon.
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Silvia Moreno-Garcia of Mexican Gothic fame recently re-released her cult hit, Certain Dark Things, about a girl descended from Aztec blood-drinkers whose family comes under fire by a European clan encroaching on their territory. As the last survivor of a hit, Atl, along with her bioengineered dog, finds herself in need of help in the neon streets of a reimagined noir Mexico City as she runs from shark-toothed mob monsters. Unfortunately for her, vampires are illegal in Mexico City, and the cleaning crews–and cops–aren’t about to let Atl keep a low profile. Come for the vampires, stay for the critique of colonization and police corruption.
Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite edited by Natalie C. Parker and Zoraida Córdova
This is one of those books that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Natalie C. Parker and Zoraida Córdova have put together a brilliant anthology of vampire stories, including such authors as Rebecca Roanhorse, Mark Oshiro, Tessa Gratton, and V.E. Schwab, among others. With a list like that, how can you go wrong? And Schwab’s sapphic story “First Kill” is currently slated to appear as an eight-episode series on Netflix soon.
The Lost Girls: A Vampire Revenge Story by Sonia Hartl
You know the story: boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy happens to be an ancient vampire, and girl wants to be turned. Only…what if, after fifty years or so, boy is tired of girl and wants to fall in love with the next teen? That’s Lost Girls in a nutshell. A group of teenage girls turned by the same vampire get together to kill him and keep him from turning the next teenager, who has no idea what she’s in for. Plus, there’s an additional complication when Holly falls for the human girl she’s supposed to be protecting from her ex.
Walk Among Us by Cassandra Khaw, Genevieve Gornichec, and Caitlin Starling
Walk Among Us is another anthology, this time with a tie-in to the Vampire: the Masquerade series of roleplay games. But don’t worry if you’re not well-versed in the World of Darkness; each story is perfectly approachable as a beginner. In Genevieve Gornichec’s “A Sheep Among Wolves”, a young woman tries to fight her depression with a support group that turns out to be more than she bargained for. In Cassandra Khaw’s “Fine Print”, alpha male tech bro learns what it means to be prey instead of predator. And in Caitlin Starling’s “The Land of Milk and Honey”, ethical farming is taken to an entirely new level of unsettling.
A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
Every word in A Dowry of Blood drips gothic romance in this reimagined queer tale of Dracula’s brides. With swift pacing and a tight plot, it’s a quick read that I finished in one sitting. Who doesn’t want to read a breakup letter/murder confession against an abusive POS? At its heart, Dowry is a tale of revenge. Delicious, delicious revenge, after Dracula’s two wives and husband learn that their master takes his jealousy seriously.
Do you have any recent vampire books you think shouldn’t be missed? Comment below!
Linden A. Lewis (she/they) is a queer writer and world wanderer currently living in Madrid with a couple of American cats who have little kitty passports. Tall, tattooed, and the author of The First Sister trilogy, Linden exists only because society has stopped burning witches.