Vampires with a Twist: 4 Authors Who Keep Vampire Mythology Fresh


The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa // VBCNote: This article was originally posted on Heroes & Heartbreakers in 2013. Chelsea still says these books are fantastic, though!

Vampire books have ensnared readers for years. Sometimes we think they’re sexy, other times we think they’re scary, but the creature of the night mythos follows a familiar trope.

If you think you might be burned out on vampires, maybe it’s time to try a vampire book done in a fresh way. Authors are changing the game with vampires, modifying the worlds they live in, the ways they can be killed and how they interact with their own kind.

What if vampires thought humans were extinct?

Andrew Fukuda plays with this idea in his book The Hunt. In his world, the few remaining humans have to pretend to be vampires. They go to school and work with vampires and force themselves to fake it. They hide all emotions, conceal goosebumps, never laugh and even fake the vampires’ reaction to something humorous—scratching at their wrist.

It’s a brilliant turn of the tables. We’ve seen so many books where the vampires pretend to be human, but what if it had to be the other way around? What if you needed to behave like you weren’t averse to cold?

The story gets further involved as a human that’s pretending to be a vampire is forced to take part in the annual hunt of humans (the few remaining ones are kept by the government for this big event).

What if vampires became zombies?

In Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden books there are two types of vampires. The standard blood-drinking ones and the rabids. The latter were borne of the Red Lung virus, but now whenever a younger vampire tries to turn another it turns into a rabid.

These rabids are at their core the vampiric version of zombies. They are mindless and attack anyone, biting and ripping flesh. Pretty nasty. In the first book The Immortal Rules, heroine Ally becomes a vampire and uses her strength and speed to protect a group of humans from the rabids as they seek salvation away from all the other vampires. (Ally has issues with her vampire status. Obviously.)

What if vampires didn’t feed on humans?

In J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series the vampires don’t feed on humans. Really, for the most part, they don’t think about humans all that much. The vampire warriors at the center of the series are focused on protecting vampire kind and keeping their secret. When a few Brothers eventually fall for humans, it complicates things, because, well, feeding is a sexy thing in this world and these guys can’t get sustenance from human blood.

This element alone makes for a big game changer. Biting is still part of the vampire sexual experience here, but then they have to find a way to detach from the emotional side and still feed from a female vampire, too. Complicated.

(Start with Dark Lover.)

What if a wood stake through the heart didn’t kill a vampire?

Jeaniene Frost modified the vampire mythos for her Night Huntress books by taking away the well-known rule that stabbing a vampire with a wooden stake would kill him. She recognized all the wood in our world (tables, chairs, door frames, etc.) and recognized it would be far too easy to kill her vampires if wood were an option. So, she upped the stakes, as it were.

Silver would do it, but that made killing her vampires harder. A silver stake isn’t available in a pinch. It changes the dynamic of vampire fights here and the balance between human and vampire in a battle.

Start this series with Halfway to the Grave.

3 Responses to “Vampires with a Twist: 4 Authors Who Keep Vampire Mythology Fresh”

  1. Margaret says:

    I would add the shared memories of Kate Baxter’s The Last True Vampire series. And if I could think of a good example, vampires that are born not made.

  2. AmyM says:

    Jeanine Frost also takes out the sunlight factor if I’m remembering correctly. I think Bones says something to the effect that their power is stronger in the night than during the day which is why they still end up sleeping during the day.

    I like when authors acknowledge the traditional mythos within the story, and then turn around and use those preconceptions to deceive those not “in the know”.

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