Following the release of the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, many authors came forward with their own attempt at the vampire-human connection. Some threw in a romantic bite mimicking the love of Edward and Bella, others kept to the various theories and assumptions of vampire behavior. In any case, the series that really stuck out for their innovative methods of holding my attention and creating a storyline that could hold its own into a series of books are:
1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. This series, which is still in the works, is my favorite. Mead takes the idea of vampires and shapes that idea into something entirely new for her readers. The originality of the story and the complexity of the relationships draws me in and keeps me reading page after page.
In this series, which takes place mainly at a boarding house for vampires (Moroi) and their guardians (dhampirs) in the midwestern U.S., a half human/half vampire named Rosemarie Hathaway is being taught to guard her best friend and royal vampire princess named Lissa. Strong-willed, stubborn, and able-bodied Rose rises to every challenge that faces her as she prepares to take on the task of being Lissa’s adult guardian even as they discover that Lissa has a new vampire power that keeps the two girls connected for life and complicates their adolescent years even more. As the series progresses and one mystery after another is solved and resolved, Rose and guardian instructor Dimitri fall desperately in love. Finally we see the other side of Rose – her vulnerable side, that is. When a battle breaks out on campus, Dimitri is changed into a Strigoi – an undead vampire – and Rose takes her oath seriously: she abandons her training in order to find Dimitri and kill him once and for all.
2. True Blood by Charlaine Harris. While I am a big fan of the romantic vampire read, the series True Blood by Charlaine Harris toed the line of being just plain silly. While she did stick fairly close to vampire lore as told in years passed such as vampires sleeping in coffins or underground throughout the day, she also took time to describe a main character who sports scrunchies and banana clips to fight rogue vampires and falls in love with a vampire who is described as just plain sleazy. So why did I continue to read? I was captivated. The 80s style clothes described, the insanity of the love affairs between main character Sookie and her vampy suitors, the twists and turns of plot made me wonder just how Harris could come up with a storyline like this.
3. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz. This six-book series is listed as young adult for grades 9 and older, however, I found that the author’s storyline and method of telling her story continued to hold my interest. While each volume is merely 300 pages, de la Cruz tells a captivating story debunking many myths about vampire society.
In this series, which centers on the high society lifestyle of the rich and powerful vampires who now call New York City their home, we follow a high school student named Schuyler through her life as an outcast. As she goes through her day-to-day duties and remains ignored by the popular cliques, holding her best friend Oliver ever at her side, she finds that she herself is a blue blood or vampire. Unlike popular fiction from before the Twilight era, this book puts forth the belief that the blue bloods are reincarnated beings created from the blood of their ancestors. They are called upon to serve their purpose as angels fallen from heaven after the Holy War in their never ending battle to return to God’s hand. As Schuyler uncovers the details of her heritage, she also learns that her family – a grandmother who stays distant and unwavering, an absent grandfather, and a comatose mother in the local hospital- is the key to righting the blue blood society. As unexplained murders begin to happen both on and off campus, Schuyler and Oliver take it into their own hands to find the truth and right the wrongs.
From history classes to masquerade balls, de la Cruz captures teenage angst to a tee along with the added surprises that would come from being a vampire child. Her creativity in developing vampire lore and molding it to the storyline makes me wonder just what will she do next?
Reading vampire novels has been such a phenomenon following Twilight and is sure to be even more prominent as we close in on the movie releases of the series, but all in all, the fascination for more tales of vampire love can be quenched as long as authors like Meyer, Mead, Harris, and de la Cruz keep writing!