Sink Your Teeth Into These 10 Underrated Vampire Books | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Vampires have long captivated readers with their seductive allure, immortality, and dark mystique. While well-known vampire literature like Dracula and Twilight dominates the genre, we often forget that there are plenty of great vampire novels that have yet to be discovered. So, that’s what we’ll do today, highlighting underrated vampire books that aren’t in the mainstream or have been forgotten to time. Here are 10 underrated books about vampires that deserve more recognition.

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

The story revolves around a 12-year-old boy named Oskar and his relationship with a centuries-old vampire child named Eli. Set in the working-class suburb of Blackeberg in Stockholm during the 1980s. Oskar, a sensitive preteen, endures bullying at school from classmates named Jonny, Micke, and Tomas.

 He lives with his mother in Blackeberg and becomes fascinated by the mysterious girl, Eli, who moves in next door. As their friendship develops, Oskar discovers Eli’s dark secret and the true nature of her existence as a vampire. Lindqvist masterfully captures the isolation and melancholy of his characters, delving deep into their emotions and struggles. The novel explores the blurred lines between good and evil, as Oskar and Eli form an unlikely bond in the face of their own personal demons.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

In this young adult novel, where vampires are quarantined to Coldtowns, a young girl named Tana finds herself caught up in the dangerous and seductive world of the undead. The novel begins with Tana waking up after a party to find that everyone around her has been slaughtered by vampires. She discovers that her ex-boyfriend is on the verge of turning into a vampire and must travel to the nearest coldtown in order to save him.

Black provides us with a gripping and unique take on the vampire genre. Rather than romanticising vampires, the novel highlights the dangerous and destructive aspects of their existence. It explores themes of addiction, temptation and the blurry lines between good and evil.  

Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste

This vampire book explores the story of two women, Bertha Mason (from Jane Eyre) and Lucy Westenra (from Dracula), who are now undead immortals residing in Los Angeles in the 1960s, after surviving encounters with two classic literary characters: Dracula and Mr. Rochester. The novel delves into their lives when Dracula and Rochester unexpectedly return to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, creating a shocking turn of events.  

Praised for its exploration of the two women put to the side in their original works, Reluctant Immortals puts these two forgotten women at the forefront, allowing them to explore and tell their own stories.  

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Often overshadowed by Dracula, this Gothic novella predates its famous counterpart and tells an eerie and seductive story of a female vampire preying upon a young woman. The story is set in Styria, an area in Austria during the 19th century. Laura lives with her widower father in an isolated castle deep in the Styrian Forest.

 The peacefulness of their lives is disrupted when a mysterious and beautiful young woman named Carmilla comes to stay with them. As the story unfolds, Laura becomes increasingly fascinated with Carmilla, despite feeling an eerie connection and noticing strange occurrences around her. Pre-dating Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 25 years, Carmilla is considered a classic of Gothic literature and has had a significant influence on vampire fiction. It explores themes of sexuality, fear and the supernatural.

Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite (William Martin)

This dark and lyrical vampire book dives into the gothic subculture of New Orleans as a group of misfit vampires and humans explores their identities, relationships, and the search for their origins. The novel is set in New Orleans and follows a group of young vampires, including the charismatic and dangerous leader Ziliah. When one of them, a teenager named Nothing, discovers that he is half-human, he decides to run away from home, driving across the country in order to find his father and learn more about himself.

Lost Souls received critical acclaim upon its release and is considered a cult classic of horror literature. Lost Souls is known for its dark, unsettling and thought-provoking subject matter with evocative writing, complex characters and exploration of LGBTQ+ themes.

The Radleys by Matt Haig

This darkly comedic vampire book portrays the Radleys, a seemingly ordinary family hiding a shocking secret—they’re all vampires struggling to live a normal suburban life while fighting their bloodthirsty nature. The Radleys try to lead a normal life and fit in with the other villages but they struggle to keep their vampiric tendencies a secret. The story is told from the perspective of the two teenage Radley children Rowan and Clara, as they discover more about their family’s true nature and begin to explore their own abilities.

The Radleys combines humour, drama and horror to create a unique and engaging reading experience while exploring themes of family, identity and the pressures of conformity in society. It will appeal to readers who enjoy witty and thought-provoking fiction with a unique take on the vampire genre.

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

Set in the 19th century, this unique vampire tale follows a struggling riverboat captain named Abner Marsh, who receives a partnership offer from a wealthy aristocrat. However, when Marsh meets the enigmatic Joshua York, a pale and steely-eyed character, he begins to suspect that something is amiss. The novel explores the conflict between good and evil vampires against the backdrop of the Mississippi River and with Abner Marsh caught in the middle.

Fevre Dream is praised for its unique blend of historical fiction, horror, and Martin’s engaging storytelling, offering an interesting take on the vampire genre.

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Set in contemporary times, the story revolves around a group of vampires who have given up their bloody ways and are trying to reform themselves. They attend support group meetings where they discuss the challenges they face in their new lives, including their perpetual weakness and the struggles to fit into human society.

The protagonist of the story is Nina, a fifteen-year-old vampire who is tired of her monotonous life and dreams of becoming a normal human. However, when a member of the support group is mysteriously murdered, Nina and the other vampires find themselves embroiled in a dangerous investigation to uncover the truth behind the crime.

Catherine Jinks explores themes of self-acceptance, friendship and the struggle for redemption in a world that still fears and misunderstands vampires who have decided to challenge and reject their primal instincts.

Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly

Set in the late 19th century, the novel follows James Asher, an Oxford professor of Greek language and literature. Asher is approached by Don Simon Ysidro, a mysterious and enigmatic character who reveals himself to be a vampire. Ysidro asks Asher for help in locating the person who is hunting his kind in London.

Reluctantly, Asher agrees to aid Ysidro and becomes entangled in a web of supernatural intrigue. As the pair investigates the string of bizarre murders, they uncover a plot that threatens the existence of vampires and humans alike.

Those Who Hunt the Night has been praised for its atmospheric setting, well-developed characters, and engaging plot. It offers a unique twist on the vampire genre, blending historical context with supernatural elements. The novel is known for its detailed historical research, which brings the Victorian era to life, adding depth to the vampire book.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
by Grady Hendrix

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is set in the 1990s and revolves around the lives of a group of women in a suburban book club in Charleston, South Carolina. The main protagonist is Patricia Campbell, a middle-aged housewife who finds solace in her book club.

However, their lives take an unexpected turn when a charming and mysterious stranger named James Harris moves into their neighbourhood. As Patricia begins to suspect that James is not what he appears to be, she takes it upon herself to protect her community from a vampire lurking in their midst.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires combines humour, horror and social commentary. It explores themes of female friendship, the expectations of Southern society, and the power dynamics between women and men. Hendrix gives us a unique twist on the vampire genre, blending traditional vampire lore with a suburban setting.

There we have it! These underrated vampire books offer fresh and captivating perspectives on the genre, often exploring themes of love, identity, and the nature of immortality. Sometimes the vampires are the focus of the story, and other times they are the villains.

So, have you read any of these books? Are there any other underrated books about vampires you want to suggest? Comment below and let us know!

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