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  • Writer's pictureEmma

5 Vampire Books You Need to Read

This is the ultimate list of vampire books to read if you love romane and high stakes. I am a sucker for vampire books (pun fully intended) and I figured spooky season was the best time to share my favourites to date. So read on and use this list to bolster your Halloween TBR.

Disclaimer: I have read and loved Twilight more times than I'd like to advertise, but it is not on this list as I want to shed light on some less popular titles.

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Series: The Blood of Eden

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 3

Traditionally published

This book and trilogy were incredible, because it combined 2 of my favourite bookish things: dystopian and vampires. The premise of the story world is that vampires have always existed, but in modern times faded away into the shadows for their own survival. However, when a mysterious illness called Red Lung starts killing thousands and turning survivors into mindless creatures that crave human flesh, the vampires come out of hiding to save humanity (and by association themselves) from extinction. The vampires built walled cities for the remaining human population to live in under their rule. Now everyone must donate blood to the royal vampire rulers in exchange for food, shelter, and safety from the rabid packs roaming outside the walls.

The story follows Allison Sekemoto, a 17 year old girl who is the second in command of a group of Unregistereds, people who aren't on the list to give blood. People who will be executed if discovered. This also means they must forage for their own food, which isn't easy and eventually leads Allison under the wall, directly into danger. When she's attacked by a group of rabids, a rogue vampire saves her life, by turning her into the very thing she hates most in this world. But there are far darker things afoot and Allison will have to come to terms with her new reality if she hopes to fight.

I love this series because it's very nitty gritty. Allison has to grapple with her morals as she learns how to be an immortal creature, understanding the reality that she will need to feed on humans for the rest of her existence to stay alive. Another great thing about this series is that the vampires are very traditional, which was refreshing after reading Twilight. There is also a love story in this series, which I loved from start to finish, as well as tropes of found family. You definitely don't want to miss out on this one, and I might actually reread it myself this month.

Empire of The Vampire by Jay Kristoff

Series: Empire of the Vampire

Age Group: Adult

Number of books: 1 of 2 so far

Traditionally published

A list like this would be remiss without mentioing the latest hot topic in the genre. People either love this book or hate it, and I will warn you that it is a lot. I mean, the thing is like 700 pages or more. There is a lot of worldbuilding, a lot of backstory and a lot of setup before things really start rolling. So if you're not a fan of slow build, I wouldn't recommend this one. I myself wasn't really hooked until halfway through. So while I gave the book 5 stars in the end (because oh. my. god. that ending!) I probably would've rate the first half like 2 stars. So, it's an acquired taste.

Anyway, Empire of The Vampire takes place in a medieval time period, in like a fictional world, though similar to our own. Vampires exist and after centuries of living in the shadows, they decide to come out and play. Our main character is Gabriel de Leon, a half-vampire, vampire hunter called a Silver Sword. He trained at an elite school to kill vampires with his inhuman strength, stamina, and healing abilities. At the beginning of the book, we find him held captive in a vampire stronghold, after having killed the vampire king. His captors force him to tell his story and the rest of the book is told primarly in 2 flashback timelines: one of him growing up and becoming a silver sword and the second of him in the events leading up to his present day capture.

This book is pretty intense. Content warnings for explicit language, explicit scenes of intimacy, and graphic violence with plenty of character deaths. This is not a happy story and yet, I still found myself rooting for the characters, once I got to properly know them. The concept of the half-vampire silver swords was pretty interesting and I also liked how there were 5 different vampire families, so to speak, each with their own innate abilities. I am equal parts nervous and excited to see what happens in book 2, Empire of The Damned.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Series: Standalone

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 1

Traditionally published

I want to preface this by saying my memory of this book is very hazy, but I know I loved it and it's still one of the best standalones I've ever read. I'm going to give you the synopsis straight from goodreads and I implore you to check it out for yourself.

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight into the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Series: Drake Chronicles

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 6

Traditionally published

If you're looking for something a little more lighthearted with a prominent romantic subplot, than this is the book and series for you. Each book in the series follows a different Drake brother (or sister) and their love interest as they navigate the crazy world they all live in. Again, I read these a while ago, so I'm going to hand it over to the goodreads synopsis, but I loved the world building and characters in this story, with book 3 being my favourite book and favourite couple.

The Drakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is a human, and when Solange is kidnapped, Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer.

Mystical Creatures: Mystical creatures aren't really present in this series, but there is plenty of magic to make up for it. The closest we get is the Antari themselves and one of the villains who is more magic than human.

Diverse Cultures: With the existence of 4 Londons, readers get to explore the essence of each one, including the way people and magic are treated. In later books, we also get to see beyond Red London to the countries beyond.

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Series: The Beautiful

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 4

Traditionally published

One of my more recent vampire series discoveries, The Beautfiul gripped me from start to finish. It's a mystery and a romance, with paranormal undertones that aren't fully revealed until the end. It's one of my goals this year to finish this series as I read book 1 when it first came out, but never continued. The synopsis from Amazon is below.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city becoming embroiled in the glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain.

When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien's own lair--the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks--Celine must battle her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

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