Vampire fiction is one of those trends that seems to hit big, vanish under the crushing weight of trend chasing books, and then rise again a few years later. Twilight is the current incarnation of the vampire legends trend. There’s only four books in the series (right now) so once people hit the end of the series they want MORE VAMPIRES. Of course, not every vampire series is any good and not every series is appropriate to hand to tween girls. You don’t want to hand a ten year old a series filled with explicit sex!
The following vampire fiction books are generally readily available either new through your distributor or will turn up at reasonable prices on the used market. You can stock your store with these to keep the vampire fans happy once they’re chewed through the whole Twilight series. There’s also a note with each indicating how explicit the content is so you can judge whether or not its appropriate to hand to tweens, teens, or only adults.
Den of Shadows series- 4 books: In the Forests of the Night, Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, Midnight Predator
This is a young adult series focusing on teenage vampires. Each book focuses on a different character, but are set in the same world. There’s little objectionable here. These are probably too quick for adults too enjoy, but will be devoured by tweens. Her other serires, the Kiesha’ra series, deals with shapeshifters, so may appeal to Twilight fans that liked the werewolves more.
Queen Betsy series: The Betsy the Vampire Queen series is just as silly as it sounds from the name. This is light and fluffy chick lit with wacky friends, romance, shoe shopping, and a ditzy blonde ending up the prophecied queen of the vampires. It’s Gossip Girl with vampires. There’s some mild sexual content in some of the books, but it is not the focus of the books. Teens and adults alike will gobble this up.
In print and available in both single volumes and in omnibus editions from various bookclubs.
Vampire Files & Jonathan Barret, Gentleman Vampire series: Both series are historical series. Blood Files is a hard boiled detective stories in the 1930s Chicago. The Jonathan Barret series is set during the American Revolutionary War (though Barret is on the side of the British!). The Vampire Files shares much more in common with traditional detective novels than it does most other vampire fiction novels.
Widely available on the used market in single volumes. Vampire Files is also available new in an omnibus edition, up through book 6. Books 7-11 are out of print so tend to run a bit higher on the aftermarket and are not as readily available. These are all relatively short books and are suitable for tweens and up.
Various Authors: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel series
High school student fights vampires… and falls in love with one with a soul. There’s generally not much objectionable here. As this is a licensed property with many different authors working on it, individual books vary a lot in quality. There’s both standalone books and trilogies in this property. There is also an ongoing comic series. These are widely available both new and used.
Vampire Huntress Legends Series- 12 books- The final book of this series just recently came out. Prophecied female vampire slayer has forbidden romance with a “good” vampire that’s managed to hang onto his soul. On first brush it sounds a lot like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Then add in a multiethnic cast, Dante’s inferno, religious overtones, hip-hop music, secret religious orders, possession, and a tragic love story and it’s really hard to decribe it succinctly. This series has so much going on in it, it is really hard to give it a good succinct write up.
There is rather explicit sex in here at points and graphic death so is not appropriate for tweens. Older teens will be just fine. Adults should also like this one. Available new and used. Not as widely available as some other series.
Blood series: Toronto detective solves crimes with the aid of vampire fiction romance novel writer. This is a modern era series with vampires and some other supernaturals added. This is really a mystery series with some supernatural elements added rather than being overtly fantastic. Other than some violent content due to this being a murder mystery series, it should be suitable for tweens and up.
This series is out of print as single volumes, but they’re readily available on the used market. They are IN print in an omnibus edition.
Sookie Stackhouse/ Southern Vampire series: A psychic barmaid in Louisianna gets involved in vampire politics when she starts dating the local vampire. Vampires are out of the closet and legal citizens of the US. This is the books series the HBO “True Blood” series is based on. Despite the raciness on HBO, the books have relatively little in the way of explicit content.
These are widely available both new and used. They’ve been recently reprinted to promote the HBO series. Copies are variously labeled as the Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire, and True Blood series, depending on when they were printed. The earlier volumes are also available in omnibus editions from bookclubs.
Various Authors: World of Darkness : Vampire: the Masquerade, Vampire: Dark Ages, Vampire: the Requiem
Three different roleplaying games, with their attached licensed fiction properties. Again many different authors worked on these properties so they vary a lot in quality. There’s both standalone volumes and series. The longest series are the Clan Novel series which are 13 books long. The Clan Novel can also be found in omnibus versions. Dark Ages is the historical setting. Masquerade and Requiem are both modern settings. Masquerade and Dark Ages are no longer in production but turn up frequently on the used market. Requiem is currently in production and available both new and used. Most of these are put out by White Wolf Publishing, but there’s a few put out by Harper-Collins as well.
There’s also lots and lots of roleplaying books that go with all these. Some of the out of print fiction and roleplaying books are worth a fair amount on the used market, so be sure to check value before selling them.
Overall there’s little objectionable in the fiction. HOWEVER, there is one anthology in this series that is intended for adult audiences only. Avoid giving Eternal Hearts to tweens. Or teens. Or really anyone. Only give it to those that ask for erotica as it’s generally rated NC-17 throughout.
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series: Vampire hunter that can raise the dead solves mysteries. The main lead is torn between a relationship with the vampire or the werewolf character. This is a modern era series with various supernaturals having come out of the closet and legally existing in the US. This is basically supernatural mysteries for the first five books. In the sixth book, The Killing Dance, there’s one long sex scene. Book seven is also sex less. After that point each book has more and more sexual content until such point as it completely overshadows any other concerns. Recommended for tweens up to book five. After that point the recommended age goes up with each book and should probably be shelved with Erotica from book 10 onward. (Narcissus in Chains is book 10 and features sadomasochistic orgies with hermaphrodite shapeshifters. Yes, you read that right. Do not give to children.)
These are all in print in various editions. The older ones generally feature cityscapes on the covers, while the later sexually explicit books all feature sexy photographic cover art. The earlier books have also been reprinted with the same style of cover art. Early volumes are also available in omnibus editions from bookclubs. There is also a comic book adaptation.
Saint-Germain series: Follows the adventures of Count St. Germaine through various historical periods from the ancient Egyptians all the way up to the modern era. In general, the main character is low on overtly supernatural powers other than a greatly extended lifespan. Most problems are solved through having many, many lifetimes of experience. These are really more historical novels than ‘vampire novels’. These are also meticulously well researched and exteremely DENSE reading.
Parts of this series are out of print and may be valuable. So price them online before putting them on your shelves. Fortunately in most cases it doesn’t really matter where you pick up in the series. There is also a subseries featuring Atta Olivia Clemens, a former lover of Saint-Germain. There is some explicit content in this series, but is largely religious, political, or violent in nature rather than sexual. It’s appropriate for the period setting however, so should not raise many eyebrows with parents. The content should be fine for tweens, but the reading itself may actually be too hard for many younger readers!
Interview with the Vampire and its sequals started the last vampire fiction craze. I’d be remiss in not mentioning it. The sex and violence in this series makes it unsuitable for most tweens. Teens should be fine. The homoerotic subtext may be upsetting to some parents. Widely available both used and new.
A side note: Anne Rice also wrote as A. N. Roquelaure. The three books in the Sleeping Beauty series are filled with explicit content and are generally not suitable for tweens, teens, and a lot of adults probably won’t like them either. No vampires here, but since it appears to be a fairy tale, you might otherwise be tempted to hand it to teens. Their parents wouldn’t like you handing them a series filled with sadomasochistic sex.
Necrcoscope series: This is the series for vampire lovers going “the sparkles, THEY BURN!” This is like the anti-Twilight. It will completely destroy any thoughts that vampires are sexy. The vampires in this are outright evil and monstrous. They make the Twilight vampires look like The Count from Sesame Street. It’s what you should hand the horror fan going “give me anything BUT romance!” It’s vampire fiction as done by H.P. Lovecraft. (Lumley has also written books set in the Lovecraft universe) During the Cold War both sides tried spying on each other through any means available, including supernatural means. Necroscope is basically the Soviet Union and British intelligence’s supernatural arms competing with each other up until they determine vampires are such a serious threat, both sides need to cooperate to destroy them. Espionage with vampires!
There’s several subseries in this much longer series. Various bits and pieces of it are out of print and may command high prices. Check online when pricing used copies. Newer entries are still in print and should be available from your distributor. This is a British series, so is more readily available in Britain. There’s also a comic book adaptation of the first three books, which is hard to find. This series is both verse dense and very gorey and violent. The reading level is probably too hard for most tweens and may even give them nightmares. It’s only recommended for teens or older due to the violent content.
There’s hundreds, if not thousands, more vampire fiction books out there. I definitely missed lots of series and I didn’t even touch standalone books. But this should give you some ideas what to order for your store or to seek out at book sales this year.
Vampire Fiction Vs. Vampire Folklore