The Vampyre. Dracula. Interview with the Vampire. More than 200 years after John Polidori’s gothic novel sparked our fascination with bloodsucking immortals, readers are still clamoring for Twilight. more vampire fiction. If you’re searching for your next favorite spooky story, dark romance, or urban fantasy, you’ve come to the right place: at least one of the vampire books included below is sure to fit the bill.
Note that the genre’s mainstays — books like those mentioned above — won’t be found here. Rather than recommending a reread of
‘Salem’s Lot, this list was designed to highlight recent releases, overlooked classics, and new takes on old stories. Sure, you’ve probably heard of Octavia E. Butler’s Fledgling, but what about Jewelle Gomez’s time-hopping epic, The Gilda Stories, or Claire Kohda’s literary vampire novel, Woman, Eating?
The books below run the gamut from YA to erotica, and from more unconventional tales to clear and
deserving . You’ll find no fewer than three Twilight heirs Dracula retellings below, where ancient immortals and eternal Victorians sharpen their fangs alongside the modern-day deathless. Meet a prince racing against the clock to solve a string of palace murders in medieval Malaysia, an Aztec vampire on the run with her thrall in the dimly lit corners and alleyways of contemporary Mexico City, and more.
Scroll down to check out the 35 best vampire books to read now.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Angels’ Blood
With 15 primary novels and dozens of ancillary texts to date, Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series has plenty for paranormal romance fans to devour. The story begins in 2009’s
Angels’ Blood, when the imposing Archangel Raphael hires Elena, a vampire hunter, to track down one of Raphael’s own kind. 2 The Beautiful
Set under the looming shadow of the yellow fever epidemic, Renée Ahdieh’s
The Beautiful centers on Celine, a 17-year-old Parisian dressmaker. Celine takes shelter in a New Orleans, Louisiana convent rather than let herself be seduced by the bright lights of the big city. But when one of the other girls at the convent is murdered by a serial killer, Celine throws herself into an investigation that will reveal the truth about the crimes... and about herself, as well. 3 Better Off Red
Lesbian vampire erotica? Say no more. In Rebekah Weatherspoon’s
Better Off Red, a no-nonsense college freshman joins the alluring sisters of the Alpha Beta Omega house, only to learn that they’re actually a cult devoted to six vampiric demons. Enamored with the vampire queen, Ginger stays in the sorority circle, but can she protect the ones she loves when trouble arrives at their doorstep? 4 Black Sun Rising
The first book in C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy,
Black Sun Rising follows Damien, a priest tasked with helping other humans tap into the planet’s stores of magic. He’s soon sidetracked, however, when his lover falls victim to a brutal attack. She once could see the magic in the world, but now that her abilities have been taken away from her, she begins to lose her will to live. 5 The Blood Prince of Langkasuka
In this retelling of the Malaysian legend of Raja Bersiong, the Fanged King, the 17-year-old crown prince of Langkasuka is turned into a vampire, and finds his palace plagued by a spate of deaths soon thereafter. As he prepares to marry the princess of his dreams, the prince races to discover who’s behind the violence. But what if it’s the newly minted vampire himself?
6 Blue Bloods
In Melissa de la Cruz’s YA series, vampires have quietly lived in the United States for centuries. The bloodsuckers have wielded enormous influence over the country, all the while managing to keep their deadly secret under wraps. But now, a teenager is dead. Another has broken out in a rash of blue veins. And nothing will ever be the same again.
7 Certain Dark Things
First published in 2016 and headed for a rerelease in September 2021, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s
Certain Dark Things sees Mexico City street urchin Domingo fall into a web of deadly intrigue and suspense. The people of the capital are supposed to be safe from the warring vampire gangs, but Domingo realizes that may not be the case when he meets Atl — the heir to a vampiric Aztec legacy, on the run from a bloodthirsty drug cartel. 8 Crave
Heads up, Twihards! If you miss Bella, Edward, and the rest of the Forks crew, you’re going to want to pick up
Crave: the first installment in Tracey Wolff’s paranormal YA series. After her parents are killed in a tragic accident, Grace relocates to Alaska, where her uncle oversees an elite boarding school for powerful, non-human teenagers. As the only mortal to walk Katmere’s hallowed halls, Grace receives a less-than-warm welcome from her classmates. Things seem to be looking up when she falls for Jaxon, a charismatic teen vampire, but does she have what it takes to be part of his world? More importantly, does she even want to? 9 Dark Tarot
This is the 31st installment in Christine Feehan’s long-running Dark series, but don’t let that intimidate you; this book is the perfect introduction for newcomers to the series. The story here centers on Sandu, a vampire hunter who must find his soulmate before he turns into a feral bloodsucker himself. His salvation comes in the form of Adalasia, a demon hunter and tarot reader who was literally born to be his partner. But Sandu’s missing some memories, and he’ll have to recover them to complete his mission.
10 Dead Collections
A queer, trans vampire story? Yes, please!
Dead Collections follows Sol, a trans fanfic author-turned-archivist who lives with clinical vampirism — a disease that requires him to stay away from sunlight and receive regular blood transfusions. When Elsie, the widow of his old fandom’s creator, arrives at Sol’s workplace to donate her late wife’s papers, Sol begins a journey of self-exploration… and falls for Elsie along the way. 11 Die by the Drop
The first book in Kaia Bennett’s Shivers and Sins series centers on Evie, a young woman captured by a trio of vampires who find her witch blood intoxicating. Two of Evie’s captors have forgotten what it was like to be human, but it’s their leader, the truly monstrous Jesse, who is the most terrifying. This is as dark as dark erotica gets, folks.
12 A Dowry of Blood
This decadent retelling of a 120-year-old classic follows Constanta, one of the three vampire brides in Bram Stoker’s
Dracula. Unnamed in the original, Constanta and her sisters take center stage here, as they love and luxuriate their way across continental Europe. But life with the count — paradoxically both their father and their lover — isn’t easy, and interpersonal tensions soon rise. 13 Fledgling
Kindred author Octavia E. Butler comes this sci-fi novel about a vampire who wakes up in a remote cave, unable to remember anything about her life. Shori looks like a young Black girl, so much so that Wright, the man who finds her on the side of the road, thinks she must be a missing child. When Shori feeds on him, however, she and Wright form a powerful, symbiotic bond that can’t be broken. 14 The Gilda Stories
Jewelle Gomez’s Lambda Literary Award-winning novel follows its immortal protagonist through 200 years of her long life. When she runs away from the Louisiana plantation where she’s been held in bondage, she takes refuge in a brothel run by a vampire named Gilda. After she is transformed into a vampire herself, Gomez’s heroine takes her rescuer’s name, and begins to forge her own path across the United States.
15 Halfway to the Grave
From urban fantasy queen Jeaniene Frost comes this sexy novel about a half-vampire who teams up with a demon hunter to take revenge on her father. Bones is a full-fledged vampire, a man whom Cat is predisposed to hate, but who might just hold the key to finding her estranged dad. When a killer cabal starts pursuing the pair, however, Cat must decide whether she can trust Bones, or if she’s better off on her own.
16 The Historian
In Elizabeth Kostova’s celebrated 2005 novel, the unnamed narrator joins her father’s quest to learn the truth about rumored vampire Vlad Țepeș (also known as Vlad the Impaler, and the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s
Dracula). Years ago, her dad journeyed around the world to get to the root of the Dracula myth — and before him, his mentor did the same. Now, the protagonist learns what happened back then, and finds herself swept up in her predecessors’ mission. 17 In the Ravenous Dark
Rovan’s always hidden her magic, knowing that if Thanopolis’ rulers learned she was a bloodmage, they’d saddle her with a spirit capable of controlling her every move. When worse comes to worst, Rovan finds herself linked to the spirit Ivrilos and working with Lydea — a princess of Thanopolis who wants to change their world for the better.
18 Interview with the Vixen This Is What It Feels Like author Rebecca Barrow imagines Veronica Lodge, the beloved socialite of Archie Comics fame, as a teenage vampire. She’s just been turned by the ancient bloodsucker Theodore Finch, and narrowly escaped becoming his minion — but she can’t rest yet. Theodore’s planning to bring all of Riverdale under his control, and only Veronica and her friends can stop him. Fans of Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will love the grittier tone of this nascent horror series. 19 The Lights of Prague The Lights of Prague centers on Domek, a lamplighter (read: monster hunter) who works behind the scenes to keep the city’s people safe from the forces that would destroy them all. The pijavice, the worst of these foul creatures, crave only blood — and they’re planning an attack that could snuff out humanity, once and for all. 20 Lost Souls
Exquisite Corpse author Billy Martin, who writes under the pen name Poppy Z. Brite, comes this cult-favorite ’90s novel. Lost Souls revolves around a group of wandering outcasts who find themselves face-to-face with an ancient evil in the American South’s underground party scene. 21 Minion
A musician-turned-vampire hunter is drawn into a chilling mystery when artists from her record label and a competitor begin to turn up dead in a series of grisly murders. It doesn’t seem like the work of a vampire — but if it is, it’s the most powerful bloodsucker Damali’s ever met.
22 Morrigan’s Cross
The first novel in Nora Roberts’ Circle trilogy,
Morrigan’s Cross follows a ragtag group of warriors chosen by the eponymous goddess to do battle against her greatest foe: the vampire known as Lilith. Among the fighters are twin brothers Hoyt and Cian: one a sorcerer who has tried and failed to defeat Lilith, and the other a vampire turned by Morrigan herself. 23 The Moth Diaries
The fates of three boarding school students — the unnamed narrator, her roommate, and the school’s newest student — converge in this tense gothic novel. Told through a series of journal entries,
The Moth Diaries is a record of two obsessions: the narrator’s fixation on her roommate, Lucy, and Lucy’s own attachment to the mysterious and pale newcomer, Ernessa. 24 My Soul to Keep
The first novel in Tananarive Due’s African Immortals series focuses on one family’s determination to remain together, no matter the cost. Jessica thought she’d met her perfect match when she married David... then people began to die. David and his family back in Ethiopia aren’t what they appear to be, and now an ancient organization wants him to come home. Unwilling to be parted from his wife and daughter, he’ll take a huge risk to grant them both immortality.
25 Opium and Absinthe
In a city still abuzz with talk of Bram Stoker’s must-read novel, a vampiric serial killer lurks in the shadows. When her sister turns up exsanguinated, bearing the mark of a vampire’s kiss on her neck, bookish Tillie Pembroke will stop at nothing to catch the perpetrator. But will Tillie’s newfound dependence on laudanum prevent her from bringing the murderer to justice?
26 The Pale Lady
Did you know that
Three Musketeers author Alexandre Dumas wrote a vampire novel? Predating Dracula by nearly 50 years, The Pale Lady tells the story of Hedwig, a Polish girl who’s sent to a monastery in the Carpathians after the advance of Russian troops threatens her home. In the wilds, she meets two alluring brothers, Kotskai and Gregoriska, and moves into their mother’s castle, where strange happenings begin to follow her wherever she goes. 27 Queen of Kings The Mere Wife author Maria Dahvana Headley’s debut novel, Queen of Kings, reimagines Cleopatra as a grieving ruler hell-bent on avenging her lover’s death. To resurrect Mark Antony, Cleopatra turns to Sekhmet, who gives her the power she craves... as well as a craving for human blood. 28 Some Girls Bite
Chloe Neill’s first Chicagoland Vampires novel,
Some Girls Bite, centers on Merit, a Chicago-based grad student who meets not one, but two vampires in the same night. Attacked by one and turned immortal by the other, Merit finds herself living in a house full of bloodsuckers devoted to none other than her savior himself: the 400-year-old vampire lord, Ethan Sullivan. 29 Soulless
Gail Carriger’s first Parasol Protectorate novel introduces readers to Alexia Tarabotti, a young woman whose lack of a soul makes her impervious to all supernatural attackers — including the vampire who breaks the laws of common decency to go after her. Now he’s dead, and none other than the Queen herself has sent a werewolf investigator to sniff out Alexia’s trail.
30 The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
My Best Friend’s Exorcism author Grady Hendrix comes this chick-lit horror romp about a Charleston, South Carolina-based book club that steps up to protect the coastal city from a child-murderer — a monster who may or may not be the incredibly handsome singleton who just moved in next door. 31 Vampires Never Get Old
Your favorite YA writers share their best vampire short stories in
Vampires Never Get Old, edited by Labyrinth Lost author Zoraida Córdova and Seafire author Natalie C. Parker. 32 Walk Among Us
Set in the world of
Vampire: The Masquerade (a much-loved role-playing game), Walk Among Us’ three novellas follow average human beings as they make first contact with the immortal bloodsuckers who make their homes among the living. 33 Wander This World
College freshman Penley thought his dreams had come true when he finally hooked up with Mel, the vampire girl he’d had a crush on since high school. But someone wants Mel dead, and Penley could very well wind up in the crossfire.
34 Woman, Eating
After leaving her aging mother at a retirement facility, a 23-year-old vampire must navigate the world on her own for the first time, but Lydia’s transition to independence won’t be easy. She’s navigating lost luggage, a deceitful boyfriend, and the question of a post-college job, but her biggest hurdle may lie in working through the trauma of growing up with a self-hating vampire parent.
35 The Route of Ice and Salt
First translated into English in 2021, this 1998 novella from Mexican author José Luis Zárate centers on the captain of the
Demeter, a ship chartered to carry 50 boxes of Transylvanian soil to England. After setting out of a Black Sea port, the Demeter and its crew find themselves facing a malevolent force that seems intent on destroying their lives… and maybe even their bodies.
Get Even More From Bustle — Sign Up For The Newsletter
From hair trends to relationship advice, our daily newsletter has everything you need to sound like a person who’s on TikTok, even if you aren’t.
This article was originally published on
Sep. 15, 2021