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Top 5 Vampire Fiction Reads of all Time
This list sorts the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys and the proper vampires from the sparkly angst-ridden teenagers.

  1.  I am legend by Richard Matheson- This book seems surprisingly modern considering it was written in 1954, and no, it is nothing like the film so you can’t watch it and claim to have read the book.  Sorry. Robert Neville is an ordinary manual labourer, and seems to be the last human left on the planet after some kind of nuclear incident. But that’s not all, the planet is seemingly over-run by vampires who wake up at night and attack Neville’s house. The book has a much more scientific explanation for the presence of Vampire zombies, which is perfect for any sceptics among you who whilst reading fiction think ‘that will never happen’. I’m not saying it will, but Matheson makes it a lot more conceivable. We see flashbacks of the people in Neville’s life and how they succumb to the Vampire disease, and also watch him slowly lose his mind and yearn for any kind of company. This is quite a depressing read, but the explanations for why garlic and other apparatus ward off vampires are well thought out. 
                                                                                                                                                                  
  2.  Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice- written in the 1970s, this is a cautionary tale of giving up morality and emotion for eternal life. Anne Rice introduces Louis, Lestat and Claudia, a child vampire, an incredibly odd make-shift family. Louis, a vampire oddly troubled by his conscience, tells the story of how he came to be immortal and his quest to find others like him. This isn’t your average vampire story, it questions the meaning of life, the role of women, family and love as well as being incredibly gory and macabre in places. There are more vampires with varied personalities in this than you can shake a stake at, and you love them and hate them in equal measure.  This is quite a mammoth of a book however, so you have to really commit to the characters. Luckily they are so complex and infuriating as well as entertaining that it makes it easier for you. This is part of The Vampire Chronicles, so there are plenty more stories that follow this one if you develop a taste for it.

  3.  Let the right one In by John Ajvide Lindqvist - Written in 2004 This is a tale of friendship and love between a young victim of bullying named Oskar and a young-looking 200 and something year old, transgender vampire named Eli. The children become fast friends and help to fight each other’s battles. I’m sure by now you’ve guessed that this is massively uncomfortable reading. This deals with the creepy ground of child vampires, and also subjects such as murder and paedophilia. I wouldn’t read this immediately before going to sleep, or if you’re alone in the house, or if you’re of a weak disposition. In fact, unless you’re morbidly curious you may want to stick to more light-hearted reading, but perhaps you wouldn’t be reading this list if you weren’t.

  4.  Dracula by Bram Stoker- You can’t mention vampire books that have to be read and not mention the father of them all. Although this wasn’t the first emergence of the vampire as an idea, it is certainly the most memorable founding narrative. It can be quite hard to get into at first as the opening chapters are those of Jonathan Harker’s diary, a man who enjoys speaking in detail of the meals he eats, but once you get past all the chicken recipes the sense of intrigue and horror Stoker invokes is sure to get you tingling. The mystery of Renfield’s behaviour, Lucy’s sleep walking and what exactly the Count wants as Jonathan are thrilling. It also has some of the most loyal and slightly odd characters, Van Helsing being of particular interest. If you get bored of one narrator don’t worry, several of the characters’ diaries make up the story so that you won’t be stuck with one for too long.

  5.  Fangland by John Marks- The most recent of our choices, this novel was written in 2007 and is a nod to Dracula, with a much more modern feel. This 21st Century revamp sees main character Evangeline Harker, an associate producer on a TV show travel to Transylvania looking for story and ends up gaining eternal life and a lust for blood. This has all the intrigue of Dracula, with a slightly sexed up plot and less focus on what all the characters eat for dinner. This may be the easiest on our list to get through, and like Dracula it is in epistolary form, but in contrast Marks also uses emails. So if the old fashioned style of Stoker’s Dracula doesn’t get your blood pumping, this is sure to be the way to go.


Naomi Toseland is a young writer based at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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