I think I have some kind of disease that compels me to keep reading vampire novels even thought I really really want to stop. After writing this blog post about the cliche nature of so many vampire novels, I proceeded to read about five more of them – all parts of two series. And I’m ashamed to admit it, but I really (really) liked them.
So first, I read the second book in the All Souls Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night. While I enjoyed the first book in the series, Discovery of Witches, I didn’t love it for all of the reasons I ranted about in my last blog post – cliche characters and situations.
Well, what Discovery lacked, Shadow made up for. What a fun book. The novel is set in the past and is really quite unique. The characters still have some of their cliche moments, but the cast of historic characters we meet in the novel is totally terrific. Harkness clearly did her research in writing this book. It’s highly fictionalized historic fiction, but still some interesting historic factoids and settings along with explanations for certain historic legends that are wholly based on the plot of the story. People we meet include the members of the “School of Night,” including Christopher Marlowe (who in Harkness’ world turns out to be a prick for the ages), Shakespeare and even the Golem of Prague. The book was up there with The Historian for me in terms of its unique reweaving of history to suit the tale.
Next, I consumed the entire “Nice Girls Don’t…” series by Molly Harper.
Imagine if Christopher Moore wrote the Sookie Stackhouse series and you get the “Nice Girl” series. Very funny. Totally entertaining. Interestingly, I went through the first three of this four novel series on audiobook and then read the last book. This was a rare occasion when I actually preferred the audio version to the written. The Audible.com versions that I listened to were narrated by Amanda Ronconi and she really brought the main character, Jane Jameson, to life. She got just the right tone and snark every time in a way that I was unable to duplicate in my head when reading. These are also great books for a trip as they are short, funny and don’t require a lot of focused attention in the event you need to pay attention to traffic or your navigator or something.
So, I feel I’ve exhausted my tolerance for vampires for now, or at least until the final All Souls book comes out or until Jane Jamison continues her shenanigans. I’m now on to Fall of Giants by Ken Follet and In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. Definitely a departure from my detour into the world of the undead.
What are your favorite vampire novels and why?