It seems like every year I hear someone say, “Oh, the vampire trend is finally dying down.” And yet when you look at the list of young adult releases, there are still plenty of vampire books today, both established series and books by new authors.
So…are vampires really a trend? One in danger of dying out? I don’t think so—I think vampires are forever. After all, they’ve been populating popular fiction for a long, long time both as seductive villains (Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, anyone?!) and as sexy tortured heroes (Anne Rice’s popular VAMPIRE CHRONICLES series). The VAMPIRE DIARIES books—more popular now thanks to the recent TV series—were originally published in 1991, almost fifteen years before TWILIGHT (even though I’ve actually seen readers accuse author L.J. Smith of “ripping off” Meyers).
For a while post-TWILIGHT, there did seem to be a deluge of teen vampire books. Some even became wildly popular (like Richelle Mead’s VAMPIRE ACADEMY series, Melissa De La Cruz’s BLUE BLOODS series, P.C. and Kristin Cast’s HOUSE OF NIGHT series, and Amanda Hocking’s MY BLOOD APPROVES series). Then, it seemed as if there was a slight shift, and we started seeing more of other paranormal creatures—werewolves and angels and demons, among others. “The vampire is finally dying out!” people proclaimed.
Except it didn’t. A look at some new and upcoming popular young adult titles feature vampires, either as the primary paranormal element (Amalie Howard’s BLOODSPELL) or as one of multiple elements (Kiersten White’s PARANORMALCY and the upcoming SUPERNATURALLY or Cassandra Clare’s INFERNAL DEVICES series).
It’s pretty easy to figure out the appeal. With vampires, we’ve taken the “bad boy” and we’ve upped the ante. I mean, c’mon, just how dangerous was the hot non-paranormal guy on a motorcycle? How deep was his angst? What’s the worst he had suffered? Sitting through history when he really wanted to be writing emo poetry, instead? And what was at stake for the girls who fell for him? Their reputation, maybe.
C’mon, guys….how about their mortal souls?! Isn’t that way more interesting? How about if our angsty heroes are saddled with immortality, forced to watch everyone they know and love grow old and die? What if they’ve done bad things—you know, like biting people and sucking their blood. What if, instead of simply trying to restrain themselves from ravishing their heroines, they have to restrain themselves from killing her, too?
So go on, show a vampire some love today. Me, I’m giving a shout-out to the sexy but self-loathing Louis from Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE. How about you?