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Six Books That Prove Vampires are Cool (and terrifying) Again

Written By Rachael Conrad

Rachael Conrad is an award-winning indie bookseller with over a decade of experience in the industry. When she's not reading or writing Rachael can often be found exploring the woods and tide pools of Maine and discussing who the best Chris is (it's Pine, obviously). Her writing can be found in Tor/Reactor, Polygon, and Kirkus Reviews."

With the hotly anticipated second season of Interview with the Vampire on the horizon, as well as a period piece from Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler, and Nosferatu from Robert Eggers, I think it’s fair to say that vampires, at least on the big screen, are making a comeback. 

But what about in literature? 

While it is near and dear to many—myself included—the Twilight series did undeniable damage to vampire literature as a whole. Vampires, for a long time, were deemed uncool (and sparkly) as a result. Gone were the effortlessly sexy blood sucking monsters with personalities akin to a disgruntled wet cat. But there’s hope yet for those of us who miss the blood, romance, ennui, genuine fear, and chiseled good looks that were synonymous with the creatures of the night from the likes of Dracula, Carmilla, and Anne Rice’s beloved gothic horror novels.

Below you’ll find a list of six new and (in some cases) upcoming novels that feature vampires that are as beautiful, apathetic, and melancholic as they are downright terrifying.  

Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda

Written by Claire Kohda (a violinist who has played with both the London Contemporary Orchestra and musicians the likes of Pete Tong), Woman, Eating is an unsettling and eccentric fable. 

Lydia, a young artist and, as it turns out, half-vampire, struggles to find a way to exist among humans without her overbearing and emotionally manipulative mother to guide her. Alone for the first time, she must find a way to reconcile with her vampiric tendencies as well as a desire to be human. Woman, Eating is a coming-of-age story about someone who will never truly age and a story about self, both in the sense of discovering one’s individuality and connecting—and reckoning—with their past

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

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires begins with a note to readers that states, “I wanted to pit Dracula against my mom. As you’ll see, it’s not a fair fight,” and if that’s not enough to get you to read this terrifying and incredibly fun vampire novel, then I don’t know what is. 

Set in Charleston during the late 1990s, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires tells the story of Patricia Campbell and the true crime obsessed clique of housewives who attend her book club. Patricia’s life is far from exciting—her husband is too busy to pay attention, her children don’t listen, and her mother-in-law needs constant care. And then, one day, James Harris arrives to town. James—who somewhat resembles Kevin Bacon in Tremors—is handsome, well-read, and has a deeply unsettling presence about him that Patricia can’t quite put her finger on. Grady Hendrix really hammers home that these shadowy creatures can be charming and attractive, but absolutely terrifying as well. 

Reluctant Immortals by Gwendoline Kiste

Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste is about exactly that—two young women pulled from the pages of classic literature who have spent an eternity together hiding from the men who want nothing more than to destroy them. One of the women is none other than Lucy Westenra, Count Dracula’s unfortunate victim in Stoker’s classic novel (and his eventual bride). The other is Bertha Mason, who readers might recognize from Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Jane Eyre. Lucy and Bertha’s time spent in Los Angeles has been relatively peaceful, but things take a turn for the worse when both Dracula and Rochester announce their arrival to the west coast in typical haughty—and violent—fashion, sending the girls on the run once again. 

Reluctant Immortals is a wonderful mashup of gothic literature and historical fiction that will have readers rooting for Lucy to put a stake in Dracula’s cold, undead heart once and for all. 

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    Mistress of Lies by K.M. Enright

    Mistress of Lies starts with a bang when Shan LeClaire, the protagonist of K.M. Enright’s debut horror novel, kills her father in order to keep her brother safe. Patricide is only the first act of revenge that Shan (now the head of her family and a talented, life-long practitioner of blood magic) plans to enact. Things take a turn for Shan when she— along with Samuel Hutchinson, a bastard with his fair share of secrets, and Isaac, the mysterious Royal Bloodworker—are tasked by the Eternal King, a local vampire lord, to track down a serial killer who has been wreaking havoc across their homeland. 

    Boasting trans rep and a polyamorous romance, Mistress of Lies promises to be a breath of fresh air to the vampire genre when it hits shelves in August 2024. 

    Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    In Certain Dark Things, Moreno-Garcia imagines a world in which the existence of vampires, discovered in the 1970s, is now common knowledge. Mexico City—which has effectively been closed off from the rest of the country—is overrun with them. In fact, vampires from different cultures all over the world have fled to Mexico City as it has the least laws pertaining to their habits as creatures of the night. The result is essentially a turf war between these newcomers and the vampires who have resided in Mexico since the time of the Aztecs. Within their midst is a street kid by the name of Domingo and a beautiful young vampire on the run called Atl. Domingo and Atl quickly become unlikely companions as her plan to escape the city comes to light. 

    First Light by Liz Kerin

    It’s important to note that Liz Kerin’s novel, First Light, is a direct sequel to her book, Night’s Edge. So, if this novel catches your eye, it’s a pretty good idea to seek out the first in the series so as not to be spoiled or confused before diving into this one. Since it’s not out until April 2024, there’s plenty of time to read them both. 

    Nine months have passed since the bloody events of Night’s Edge took place, and Mia is on the hunt for the man who made her mother a bloodthirsty monster so she can exact her revenge. When Mia finally catches up with him and his cohorts, she discovers that the hunter might just be the hunted after all. The is a violent tale of revenge that doesn’t pull any punches, and is jam packed with otherworldly, blood-sucking creatures.