Favorite Literary Vampires (2nd Part)

Yeah, posting later in the week/in under a week didn’t work so well for me.  However, since I last posted, I have another set of vampires (sort of) to add to the discussion, so perhaps it’s not all bad.

Charlaine Harris
Yup, until just this morning I hadn’t read ANY of the Sookie books, though I did get sucked in to the recently ended season of True Blood (which prompted my interest in the books).  I can’t say too much about the world Ms. Harris creates since I’ve only seen the first book, but I like the fact that her vampires recently “came out of the coffin” per Sookie’s expression.  They’re much more typical vampires (complete vulnerability to sunlight, vulnerable to silver/religious icons, etc) than many of the other vampires out there, which is refreshing.  I like that the vampires were going to some lengths to make themselves seem less “other” (i.e. their claim, BS that it is as is as confirmed late in the Dead Until Dark book, that vampirism is just an infectious disease).  Of course it also helped enormously, having seen True Blood, that I came in with some clue of how to picture these characters.  Definitely saw Skarsgaard as the mysterious Eric (although I say he’s too skinny), Bill (who came across much better looking in the books) and of course Sookie herself.

That aside, I’m not a big fan of the books thus far.  It could just be I dislike first person storytelling, but that doesn’t interfere in OTHER series’ I’ve read, so maybe I just am picky.

Kim Harrison
Her Hallows series is FANTASTIC.  In this world, ALL non-humans came out of the closet about 40 years ago, which I like a lot.  There are two sorts of vampires – living and dead.  As seen in the character of Ivy, Rachel Morgan’s best friend, living vamps are blessed with some of the speed and strength they’ll have after death, but they have their souls, can go into churches, and eat pretty much what they like.  In this world, vampirism IS caused by a virus which mutates the genes of a normal person while in the womb, although humans can be converted into living vampires, though they’re dependent in the end on someone actually bringing them fully across at death.  Born living vampires (like Ivy) don’t need any further help to convert.

The dead vampires are pretty spooky, though they can largely act like humans.  They have the traditional weaknesses (sunlight, etc.), BUT they also have some slightly different abilities, including the tendency (when they’re clustered at places like a nightclub) for all their pheremones to be able to overwhelm a normal (i.e. non-vamp) into something akin to drunkenness.  The dead vamps AREN’T human, and your appearance (age, etc) is your appearance in the second life.  Many who die at an older age buy witch charms to appear young and beautiful.  There’s even insurance that living vamps can buy to help fund their initial entry into the vampire life – but only if death doesn’t come through suicide (this is explained in Books 3 & 4 I believe when Rachel, a witch, goes to extraordinarily lengths to help a young living vamp, who’s very ill, go out with some semblence of dignity, yet not void his insurance contract).

Keri Arthur
The primary love interest in the Riley Jensen series is a vampire, one of the older ones out there and the vampire hierarchy is all about age.  I didn’t get as strong a feel for how long the undead (and other non-humans) have been entrenched, but given there are numerous government agencies and everyone seems pretty open in this world, it’s been quite some time (unlike Harris’ Sookie books).  Her vampires have somewhat greater limitations than you might think (shapeshifting isn’t an automatic thing that comes with conversion, I got the feeling).  As they AGE, they grow (somewhat) more immune to sunlight, though you’re not going to have vamps walking down the street in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in her world, I wouldn’t think.

Quite a few different takes on vampires out there and I imagine there are any number of additional ones making their way through the editing/publishing process.  Some work better (for me) than others, and some I refuse to waste any more time on ::cough Sparkling Vampires my foot cough:: after reading the first book.

What about all of you?  Do you have a series/preference out there?


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