Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Let's Talk About Vampires






  Vampires in the literary world are a very interesting subject...a subject that's been fought over many times, for many different reasons. "But that's not what vampires do!" ...I'm sorry, but last I checked, vampires are not REAL. Just like wizards, warlocks, werewolves and zombies, whoever's creating the story can do anything they'd like with their fictional characters because...well, they're fictional! That's what fiction is, it's not real. Vampires have no set rules, therefore authors (or writers for a show/movie) can do whatever they want with them because they're just a lore. So many authors and writers have taken the basics of a made up creature and turned them into their own creation. Their own Frankenstein.
  As an avid reader- a reader who spends every day thinking about books, who lives and breathes books- I am well educated in the vampires in literature department. I've read everything from romantic vampires to blood/soul-sucking vampires to "vegetarian vampires." The world (and rules) of vampires is a flexible one and that, my dear readers, is what makes them so much fun to read about.  I sometimes prefer "everyday," human books to vampire/fantasy/horror books, just because the same genre can get tiresome after reading it over and over again. But there are those times, even if it's just for a short moment, when all I need is a good, cheesy, vampire, "happily ever after" story.
  So, readers, let's talk about vampires. Let's talk about the different variations, the different stories, the love, the horror and the addictive power that has us coming back and asking for more.




Twilight by Stephenie Meyer





I read Twilight as an impressionable young adult. I started it, connected with Bella, saw myself in her, fell head over heels in love with Edward, read and obsessed over the Cullen family, cried when they cried and was there cheering them on every time they had to fight a foe. I loved it! I've heard people complain about her writing (which I never pay attention to...to me, it's the story that matters, not the writing), her characters and the fact that she made her vampires sparkle. Her vampires sparkle, so what? Vampires are not real. When they were invented, the creator didn't give everyone a set of rules that said, "Vampires are scary, don't make them a sex symbol and DO NOT MAKE THEM SPARKLE." Stephenie Meyer gave her vampires this allure, this fascinating and attractive feature that made us go, "Oooooh!" Miss Meyer should not be raked over the coals for what she made her vampires do. Bram Stoker made Dracula a romantic character, one who charmed his way into women's hearts (and blood streams). Don't tell me that vampires aren't supposed to be romantic and "weak" like Edward. Stephenie Meyer's vampires aren't as violent as others have been, but they're not as bad as everyone makes them out to be. Like Harry Potter, Twilight got me reading. Twilight broke the ice for me and got me interested in reading after a few years of a dry spell. If you don't like it, (I respectfully suggest) don't read it. But if someone loves it, and you KNOW they love it, please don't bash it and ruin in for them. The story may mean a lot to someone you love. 


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Dark Lover by J.R. Ward





Woo-wee. Dark lover was the first...ahem...saucy book I had ever read. The first romantic novel that had more than the normal kissing and saying sweet nothings to one another. Dark Lover was my first and I loved it! It went well beyond the every day "Bodice Ripper" and had a plot line that had me coming back for more. The Black Dagger Brotherhood (the brotherhood of warrior vampires...don't judge) is an interesting and fun band of characters to read about. Each book is about a different Brother (Dark Lover is about the main Brother, Wrath) and I love each of them more and more as I read on. These were the books that originally had me blushing when I told a fellow reader that I had read them. "Yes, I...ahem...read The Black Dagger Brotherhood...ahem." Not that I was ashamed; I'm never ashamed of reading a book. I guess I was worried that I was going to be read the riot act. "Vampire warriors? HA!" Why are we judging others by what they read? It shouldn't matter what I'm reading- I'm READING! That's all that should matter. Even to the everyday reader who only goes to Books-A-Million for the latest "steamy and sensual" vampire novel, leave them alone. They're reading, let them read!


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A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan





As I have said, I read EVERYTHING. Biographies, YA romances, sad books, funny books, classics, etc.! I enjoy all types of books no matter the genre. But, I have to say, a favorite of mine is YA boy books. (Young adult books that are typically intended and written for and about boys.) Well, I can't say that authors come out with books intending them to only be read by boys, I don't think any author has ever done that...What I'm saying is that I love books that typically boys read and love and girls don't even bother to try. (My group of friends aside, they have the same taste in books as me.) For instance, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Unwind by Neal Shusterman and A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan. These books normally have male main characters who tell the story (narrator), they tend to be more violent, and they (THANKFULLY) have less romance in them. I'm not saying all YA "boy books" have less romance or more violence, but this is just something I've noticed from my experiences with reading. A Living Nightmare is the first book in the Cirque Du Freak series, a series about a young boy who gets caught trying to steal a vampire's show spider (Madame Octa) and agrees to pay the debt by becoming the vampire's assistant. The vampire(s) in Darren Shan's Cirque Du Freak series are aggressive and violent, with a healthy dose of hilarious and loving. Oh. My. Gosh. I love this series, I love Darren Shan and I love the Cirque Du Freak fandom SO MUCH. I got hooked immediately and was dreading leaving the house because I was so deep into the plot. It was crazy addicting and awesome, I wish I had more of his books to go crazy over. (And I've read twenty-seven of his books.) If you like the Cirque Du Freak series, read the Demonata series and the Larten Crepsley prequel series also by Darren Shan. They're absolutely incredible! 


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Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon





As you can probably tell, Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon is also a vampire romance series, like the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Actually, both of the series are very similar to each other, but I wouldn't go as far to say that they're EXACTLY like each other because I don't think that's giving Sherrilyn Kenyon or J.R. Ward enough credit. I love both of these series for different reasons and they both have different qualities that make them wonderful and unique. Night Pleasures is the first book in the Dark-Hunter series. A Dark-Hunter is an immortal warrior, created by the Greek Goddess Artemis, who fights the evils that hide in the dark corners and alleys of New Orleans. This series is the very definition of "guilty pleasure." If you've read The Black Dagger Brotherhood or the Sookie Stackhouse series and you think they are a guilty pleasure, try the Dark-Hunter series. You wont regret it. I adore it. I love each and every one of the Dark-Hunter books, and I look forward to every new one that comes out. There are about twenty or so in the series. I've read them all and I don't plan on stopping. 


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Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris





The Sookie Stackhouse series is not your typical J.R. Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon vampire series.  It's about a southern, "normal" girl, who lives in a world where vampires have just "come out of the coffin" and are out in the open, fangs exposed. But, as you may have guessed, it doesn't go over that well in the southern heat of Louisiana. You follow the life of Sookie, who's just met a very interesting and mysterious vampire named...Bill. Bill Compton. Not Vlad, not Dracula, not Caius or Carlisle- Bill. Sookie and Vampire Bill build a relationship that does have its "steamy" moments, but isn't centered around the sins of the (living and somewhat dead) flesh. I grew up with this series. I have serious emotional attachments to Sookie, Bill, Pam and the rest of the Bon Temps gang, and I just can't tell you how sad I am to see the series over and done with. (Although, I personally was VERY satisfied with the ending.) 


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Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast





Marked, like Twilight, helped me get into reading in my teen years. When I could be hanging with my friends and getting into all types and sorts of shenanigans (oh jeez, I sound old), I was reading in the back of Books-A-Million, ignoring all of the chaos around me. Marked is about the House of Night, a school for teen vampires who have been "Marked." (Chosen by a Tracker to become a vampire and attend the school.) Okay come on. All Harry Potter fans want to go to Hogwarts, all Percy Jackson fans want to go to Camp Half-Blood, and all Marked fans want to go to the House of Night. Yes, there's romance and love triangles (or octagons), yes, there's angst, and yes, there's a lot of "girly" stuff. But the House of Night is just so much more than that. It connects with young readers, readers who are different and need someone to come up to them and say, "You're special and others tease you because they're jealous of how truly special you are." The House of Night books have inspired, saved and reached out to so many teens. Made them feel unique and special, made them read and made them escape into a blissful oblivion. The Marked vampires can and do choose (almost the entire time) mostly food to eat and drink to drink, and only drink blood on special occasions. The only thing that bugs me about the series is Zoe. That girl just drives me CRAZY sometimes. Alas, the series is ending soon and I dread the finale...I dread not having a Marked book waiting for me on my shelves. But I look forward to finally knowing what's in store for Zoe, Stevie Rae, Aphrodite and the rest of the House of Night fledglings. 


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The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith





The Vampire Diaries is your basic YA, vampire love story. Girl (Elena) meets boy (Stefan), girl and boy fall in love with each other, boy is distant, boy has a secret...BOY IS A VAMPIRE! But not only is the boy a vampire, he has a dark and evil brother (enter Damon) who is just as sexy as himself. The town is mysterious, Elena is conflicted with her emotions, people are dying, the brothers are fighting and it's just...just so entertaining. The Vampire Diaries series is so much fun! You can really get lost in these books. Except, once the series got close to the end...it just didn't seem to end. More and more twists kept coming up which kept the characters alive. Now, I'm not saying that I want characters I love to die (too many of my favorite characters die and I'm still very raw because of it), but it's so unrealistic. All of our favorite characters are alive and well at the end of a ten (or so) book series? Totally unrealistic. If this were a Darren Shan or Cassandra Clare series, THEY'D ALL BE DEAD. And we'd be sobbing while crying, "This is the best series EVER!" simultaneously. Although, I say that it took forever to end and that I (guiltily) got bored...but now it's over. I think now, for sure, it's over and I don't know what to do with myself. The ending was quite wonderful, but I feel a bit lost. I'm crossing my fingers, hoping that L.J. Smith continues to write more.  


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 Well, I hope you enjoyed my views of all things vampires, biting and blood! I'm not done reading, I don't think I'll ever be done reading, so I definitely see more sexy/evil/bloodthirsty vampires in my future. Keep in mind that these are just my views. I don't expect you to like or dislike books I've written about...so go ahead, tell me what YOU think! 
  Thank you all SO MUCH for taking the time out to read my little post (rant). Enjoy and Happy Reading!!! 




5 comments:

  1. My two favorites are still Bram Stoker's Dracula and Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian.

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  2. The Historian is on my "to be read" list!

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  3. I'm curious. Have you read the classic dracula yet? or are you just saying that he was a romantic character from what you have heard? I read it recently and I didn't get a romantic character vibe from him. He was a threat to mostly the female characters, but i dont recall any part where he had the opportunity to seduce them or anything. it was more like mind control vampire fast food.

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  4. From what I've observed, Dracula was a bit of...not romantic in a flowers and chocolate (or blood) sense, but in a mind-control, trickery type way. Perhaps "romantic" isn't the correct term for the classic Dracula- more like mind control vampire fast food! ;-) My "romantic" observation was more figurative than literal.

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  5. I don't believe Dracula himself is romantic, it's what Bram Stoker was trying to convey. ;-)

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