Saturday, 2 January 2010

You said vampire books?

I dedicate this list to people who love good vampire books as much as I do! This is for when you don't know what to chew at next. (and yes I did read those 90 books)

My Vamp Top 3

Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

One of my favorite because it is so delicate and expresses such a beautiful spectrum of emotions. I was carried by the prose and amazed by the talent of this writer. Its vampires are cruel and grand, its heroin sweet and so real, I was sucked into the book and the psyche of the characters - so much so in fact I forgive the buffy-esque turn of events. This is one of the rare vampire books that really lifts the spirit.

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, by Laurell K Hamilton

1.Guilty Pleasures
2.The Laughing Corpse
3.Circus of the Damned
4.Lunatic Café
5.Bloody Bones
6.The Killing Dance
7.Burnt Offerings
8.Blue Moon
9.Obsidian Butterfly
10. Narcissus in Chains

The series is amazing, fast past and full of twists and turn into the plot. You want to solve the complex murder mysteries and you want Anita, the zombie raiser vampire hunter to extricate herself from her monster pit without too much damage. The first 4 books particularly should be read, and then number 9 (that might very well be my favorite) - from then on though the series doesn't deserve to be read. This might have very well broken my heart, but the 10th was the biggest pointless pile of garbage I got to read in my life. It had utterly no plot. I believe that sadly Ms Hamilton is still wallowing in 'sexy' slush and threw her plots away for good now. So even though the series is close to 18 volumes now I wouldn't touch the rest of it with a 10foot pole. It's an insult considering how amazing the 1st ones were.

Dracula, by Bram Stoker

This is such an agreeable classic to get into. I first read it when I was 12 and perhaps this is the book that gave me my taste for vampires. I've read it again since, obviously, and must say I enjoyed it better when I was able to read the subtext. I highly recommend it - and will add that as a purist I never read any other book that integrated 'Draculas' into their plot. There was only one of them, he was mysterious and omnipotent, he was cruel and a warrior and the servant only to himself (yes he does everything on his own), and he only existed in this book!!!

Other great creatures of the night books – with vamps in it!

Hollows series, by Kim Harrison

1.Dead Witch Walking
2.The Good, the Bad and the Undead
3.Every Witch Way but Dead
4.A Fistful of Charms
5.For a Few Demons More
6.The Outlaw Demon Wails
7.White Witch Black Curse

Those have a nice ironic look onto the world. This is the future and it's full of 'the different', 'the not human' because most 'normal' humans disappeared as they were poisoned by a bad batch of genetically modified tomatoes. Just the idea makes me smile. There again a quick active heroine ready to save the world while losing a little bit of herself in darkness all the time. I love the evolution of those personalities you meet in there, realizing that the world is full of contradictions and that you have to be flexible and open minded - because that we have to learn to become.

Dente Valentine series, by Lilith Saintcrow

1.Working for the Devil
2.Dead Man Rising
3.The Devil’s Right Hand
4.Saint City Sinners
5.To Hell and Back

A very hard biting series this one, set either very very far into the future or an alternative world. The pain in those books knocks you over fast but we just keep getting back up with the tough little Valentine pulling us through shear determination. Everything is foreign in this series, using new but very intelligent words because it is very different from what we know and yet we get it strait away. Amazingly written and fascinating. I was really sad when I reached the end of this series - yes it's only a 5 book journey and damn is it good!

Women of the other world series, by Kelley Armstrong

3.Dime Store Magic
4.Industrial Magic
7.No Humans Involved
8.Personal Demon
9.Living with the Dead

This must be one of the most talented urban fantasy writer I came across. I absolutely love her books and really have to have them as they come out. It is set in our reality, supernatural beings just hiding what they are… in fact doing anything it might take to hide their existence. I particularly enjoyed the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th… probably because my favorite characters where in those ones, ah yes, each book is not necessarily in the voice of the same woman. So you might not love to all of them – the witch personally annoys me, but I love the werewolf, the ghost and the necromancer!!

Mercedes Tompson series, by Patricia Briggs

1.Moon Called
2.Blood Bound
3.Iron Kissed
4.Bone Crossed

A lovely werewolf-esque series, with main characters you care about and well crafted plots. You bounce along with a were-coyote and enjoy it’s playful ride amongst a world of meaner, badder, stronger wolves. How does she just manage to stay in one piece!?

Merry Gentry series, by Laurell K Hamilton

1.A Kiss of Shadows
2.A Caress of Twilight
3.Seduced my Moonlight
4.Stroke of Midnight
5.Mistral’s Kiss

If it wasn’t for the shear darkness of those elves I wouldn’t read this series. Too hardcore for me… and lots of people I believe. But the faeries in those books is pure brilliance. They are cruel and vile and beautiful and ruthless and hide it so well from the humans who they have to live along with if they want to survive… its simply chilling. Those are the fearies from our nightmares and they live in worlds just as frightening. It is sad the author messes such a strong universe with so uninteresting graphic romances. Still I wasn’t able to stop myself from reading on – taken by the world she created.

Kitty Norville series, by Carrie Vaughn

1.Kitty and the Midnight Hour
2.Kitty goes to Washington
3.Kitty takes a Holiday
4.Kitty and the Silver Bullet
5.Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand

This is a real heartfelt story, with a very attaching main character full of goodwill and for once not the super leader or tough whatever that all the others try to be. She’s lovable and lives through ordeals she hops over very gracefully. A nice werewolf that changes the scene from all those scary ones.

Study series, by Maria V Snyder

1.Poison studies
2.Magic Studies
3.Fire Studies

Perhaps the first book was better than all the ones that followed. I loved how the art of poison was interweaved into the plot, infusing the whole story with a very peculiar feeling and leaving a strong taste for it. It’s the details of those preparation that made me want to continue and I did miss it in the next books. In any case I strongly recommend at least Poison studies. There isn’t any monsters in there (not the kind with fangs anyway) but magic is strong in the air and the way it is set in a communist world is intriguing for an American novel!

Riley Jonson Guardian series, by Keri Arthur

1.Full Moon Rising
2.Kissing Sin
3.Tempting Evil
4.Dangerous Games
5.Embrassed by Darkness

A fast past breathtaking run through Melbourne and Australia with a half werewolf half vampire that had nothing to envy from anyone. I like how the world fits the supernatural into our own like if it was meant to be there and the technology it uses. Also I like to see something in Australia for a change, nothing much ever happens down there and so a little excitement is always welcome!

Blood Lines series, by Maria Lima

1.Matters of blood

This first installment was very very promising until I reached the end that is and I realized the book wasn’t finished in one volume! What horror! I like the whole mystery in the morgue – and the interweaving all types of creatures, the magic reflecting a personality (more vampire or wolf or animal or wizard or whatever the power adapts to the person you are). The setting also is rather interesting with the Native American hero. It’s great when the old is reinvented!

Kate Daniels series, by Ilona Andrews

1.Magic bites
2.Magic burns

A real tough main character, a fascinating world swinging between technological and magical phases, an almost mythological enigma, this one is a nice tight series to hang on to. More came out recently but I haven’t had time to read much lately so I’ll have to wait a tad longer. Dig through it though, even though the vampires are much more zombie-like in those books - so less interesting on the personality scale.

Dresden files series, by Jim Butcher

1.Storm Front
2.Fool Moon
3.Grave Peril

Perhaps the male equivalent to all of the above. This is a magical detective that retrieves magical objects. It grows with you as you go along.

Strictly Vamp reading list

The Vampire Hauntress series, by Leslie Esdaile Banks

2.The Awakening
3.The Haunted
4.The Bitten

Truthfully I think it’s more the setting than anything else that makes me read this series. I just hang to it to know where it’s going to lead me next. This is Puerto Rican and African American America and it’s fascinating. I was lost at the beginning because of all the unfamiliar slang (sorry Australians don’t talk like this). Those vampires are like nothing you’ve even seen before… well only if you haven’t had a good look at Blade that is. Fast past and hard hitting with terrible unhinge-able jaws: ouch!

I am legend, by Richard Matheson

I can’t say I loved the book the first time I read it, but then again I was only 14. It’s years later I got the profoundness of what Matheson what saying: the monster is the man. I was very disappointed by the film. Don’t get me wrong, Will Smith is great, but the story had been twisted into a cliché horror film, devoid of afterthought and this was disappointing.

Carmilla, by Sheridan Le Fanu

This is a classic novelette (1872) portraying already lustful vampires. I read it when I was quite young and remember it as very disturbing. This is a must to anyone who wants to know how vampires came to be what they are today. And you can’t deny the beautiful prose.

Victory Nelson Blood series, by Tanya Huff

1.Blood Price
2.Blood Trail
3.Blood Lines
4.Blood Pact

That writer has a nice gritty style. This is very much a ‘mystery’ vampire series… the slight problem for me was the way you immediately know who the ‘bad guy’ is – in all of them. You’re meant to, but I can’t say the device works effectively on me, it’s a bit like those German detective TV movies with dogs in them. And I was disappointed by the 1st installment, what was the writer thinking in terms of bad guy? Revenge of the Dork?? The next ones are much better! I’m waiting to read the 5th one… it was stolen from my local library so I might have to hang on a while still.

Vampire Chronicles series, by Anne rice

1.Interview with the Vampire
2.The Vampire Lestat

Is this just me or are those books very soporific? They are interesting historically, to see where vampires were led and how those creatures are fantastic to morph into just the ‘malaise’ of an era. At the time I do believe those books were very good (mid 70s) – talking to a number of people. But today they have nothing to tell me. I’m a little selfish here and I probably don’t reflect most people’s thoughts about this series so I’m still putting those titles into the vampire reading list – after all it is a classic of the genre! (hum the series goes on, but as I said I got bored to didn’t read any further)

Vamp Bad list– that is books that never got me but seem to be hugely popular

Sookie Stackhouse series, by Charlaine Harris

1.Dead until Dark
2.Living Dead in Dallas
3.Club Dead
4.Dead to the World
5.Dead as a Doornail

Immediately you’ll see I read quite a few… and yet I can’t say I ever liked them. Maybe because a friend of mine ‘loved’ it so much did I continue. Truthfully it’s sickeningly moralizing… and I don’t mean a sense of right and wrong here, I really mean the colonialist, close minded, patronizing, puritan sludge ladled on with a shovel. Hardly consumable. Maybe I read that like a road crash, just to see how far the writer would push it?

Undead series, by Mary Janice Davidson

1.Undead and Unwed
2.Undead and Unemployed
3.Undead and Unappreciated

The main character, Betsy is just too dumb for this to be readable. I want her to die once and for all, not come back again and again! The series is frighteningly long.

Dark Dagger Brotherhood series, by J R Ward

1.Dark Lover

I absolutely HATE it when we can’t believe in the bad guy. And there I’m sorry, but I really couldn’t. It was so pathetic!

Night Huntress series, by Jeaniene Frost

1.Halfway to the grave

Painful lot of unoriginal characters and plot. The motives for the main character to do what she does brings tears to your eye because of how bad and unbelievable it is and the only reason I finished the book was because of the jokes of the ‘Bone’ persona… which doesn’t make much.

And other disappointments too

Sign of the Zodiac series, by Vicky Pattersson

1.Sent of Shadows

This book was a real shame. Why? Because it’s actually well written but the story doesn’t quite follow. I found the clichés weaved over just one interesting twist of character. The cruelty in which the sister is replaced is brilliant… but the superhero/villain thing really doesn’t get me. Also the bad guys are really too flat.

Werecats series, by Rachel Vincent


It's okay... but I don't remember a thing about it. And that is the problem, nothing stood out in this. It's all fine and good to put werecats instead of were'wolves' but then the story has to stand out away from the others doesn't it?

Cassandra Palmer series, by Karen Chance

1.Touch the Dark
2.Claimed by Shadows

It goes on but I never went any further. Attentive as you are, you’ll notice that I did read 2 of them. So you’ll conclude correctly that the first one was okay. It creates a cute little ambiance, adds nothing very new except for the nice idea of playing with time but manages to keep you going. The second one though is very painful, jumping from one world to the other, putting a little too many different clashing worlds into the same story. Quickly it feels messy, as if the writer just got bored with the story she was writing about and just wanted to change scenery and add a forest and tolkenesque elves… why not write another book for that? Please! No ending either and no real plot. That’s the type of thing that really annoys me.

The Morgan Kingsley series, by Jenna Black

1.The devil inside

Could have been good. But the operative word here is could. The main character had potential. Why did all the others around her have to be so flat and senseless though? As much as the first page grabbed me, by the second chapter I was disappointed and by the middle of the book I was truly disgusted with it all.

Walker Papers series, by CE Murphy

1.Urban Shaman

Saying this is a bad book would be unkind. It had nice ideas and could have been good… if it hadn’t felt like such an amateur job. But then again it's a first book, isn’t it? So I cross my fingers and hope the writer is going to get better – perhaps in a different series?

*** Don't hesitate and leave me some comment!!! ***

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