By Holly Butterfield, Brittany Holness and Gemma Mathers
Vampire stories have been around for centuries, with authors from the 19th century exploring these creatures in their works. Taken from the mythical creatures from tales of folklore in cultures all around the world, they’ve been adapted and reimagined countless times. With a real spectrum of stories that we consume, you’ll find a wide variety of fiction. Anything from vampires as monsters and an enemy to be fought against, to modern-day love stories, where the couple must overcome their differences together, as well as everything in between. With a recent resurgence of the genre, we are taking a deep dive into these tales, what we love about them and how they came about.
Predating the popular tales of Twilight and The Vampire Diaries came the original classic literature that gave these franchises the foundation through which they could rise to such success. The first recorded vampire story was in 1819 with John Polidori’s The Vampyre; a short work of horror fiction that named Polidori as the first to take on the traditional “vampire” from folklore and transform it into the modern-day vampire we all know and love. These creatures of folklore have since featured in many classic stories such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice and of course Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. Each of these novels put their own spin on how we see vampires, taking the original monsters and exposing their emotions and psyche, some even allowing for romantic entanglements that further humanise these creatures.
Modern day stories have included vampires as more than just monsters – which is what they were often depicted as in the past. These stories have since introduced readers to them in a whole new way – as love interests, as evidenced in books like Twilight. These paranormal romances are not typically retellings of the classics like Dracula, although there are some that consider these myths as a benchmark for their storyline, but also vaguely mention the usual characteristics of the vampires with entirely new elements and plotlines, creating unique narratives for readers. Vampire romance books introduce concepts that have made readers lean towards this trope, like positioning vampires as powerful beings that will protect their significant other from harm, sometimes including the sub-trope of “soul mates.” In addition, these books introduce the challenges associated with being a vampire and overcoming this within a relationship, as opposed to a monster to fight against. Due to a demand for this type of story, there has been a large surge in romance fiction that features vampires. One such example of a popular book in this subset of romance is How to Fake-Date a Vampire by Linsey Hall. With this growing popularity, there have also been books that introduce vampire characters as secondary ideas instead of as plot points. My Roommate is a Vampire by Jenna Levine is a story that includes this.
If you’re looking to get your teeth into some new stories, then we’ve got you covered. First up, we have My Roommate is a Vampire, a romantic comedy that provides a more light-hearted look at vampires. Follow Cassie Greenberg as she discovers that her new roommate is anything but normal and throw yourself into this super fun, laugh-out-loud paranormal romance. Wanting something a bit darker? We also recommend Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas, more of your classic, gothic-horror vampire story set in 1840s Mexico. A historical setting with a slow burn romance, this one aligns itself more with the classic vampire stories that we know and love. There’s plenty of others if these ones leave you wanting more, so be sure to check out A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson, a dark tale that tells the story of Dracula’s first bride, Bite the Woman that Feeds, a dark romance by Penelope Barsetti and From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout, a recent TikTok favourite that is now a series of several books!
So, what’s next for the genre? There are so many possibilities as to what we might see in the future – personally, we hope for some more vampire stories with cosier and more wholesome vibes! There’s no certainty as to where these stories will head next – they really could go in any direction, but we’re definitely intrigued to find out.