When it comes to vampires, I’m a bit of a purist. They are things that go bump in the night. They suck blood. They have fangs. They can kill you. They’re monsters.
I’ll tell you what they are not : misunderstood human-beings who lounge around in black silk writing poetry and sipping animal blood from wine glasses. They’re also not that stand-offish guy in bio class who sparkles (yes, Twilight I’m looking at you).
I really hate how the whole concept of vampires has been romanticized and glorified. Vampires are not supposed to be sexy. They’re not supposed to be caring or even protective. If you go by traditional myths- vampires are selfish, soulless creatures who feed on other people’s life because they don’t have any of their own. They’re never something to be pitied or befriended. If you tried that, well- you’d probably end up with a gaping hole in your neck.
A vampire is a mythical being who subsists by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures. In folkloric tales, undead vampires often visited loved ones and caused deaths in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive. They wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance, markedly different from today’s gaunt, pale vampire which dates from the early 1800s.
Even more, I hate how they’re made into untouchable heroes. Whatever happened to vampires weakness to sunlight or to garlic or holy water? In fiction, these days vampires are more like zombies; they never seem to die. They’re indestructible. Not only is that deviating from canon, it’s also bad story-telling. Who likes a character without an Achilles heel? No one- that’s who.
In hindsight, I think that on an average I deduct almost one and a half stars from the overall rating if the book includes vampires. Maybe that’s why I rated the Morganville Vampires series (by Rachel Caine), House of Night (by PC Cast)and the Night Hunteress (by Jeaniene Frost) series. None of the books in these series scored more than a two from me, despite the high ratings given to it by other readers.
Does that mean I think that all vampire books are terrible. Though I may be tempted to answer this question with a yes at times, I can’t say that entirely honestly. At the risk of sounding judgemental and stereotypical, I can enjoy a good, blood-thirsty, manipulative, possessive, evil-ish vampire. Yes, even when they’re not in the role of a protagonist. A good example of some books with such vampires would be
- Dracula by Bram Stroker (If you’re a fan of the classics)
- The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
I guess, for me the key is that the vampires be at least somewhat true to the myths. The myths are in all sorts of cultures- German, Slovakian, Russian, Indian, Japanese, British, etc. I think it’s only fair that we remember that vampires look like this:
and not like this:
And with those lovely images, I guess I’ll leave you guys.
Love you 🙂