35 Vampire Books to Take a Bite Out Of
From terrifying night stalkers to dangerously alluring creatures of the dark, there's a bloodsucker for every reader in these vampire books.
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Bloodsuckers in Vampire Books
Dracula may have started the trend, and Twilight might have taken it to the teen sphere, but vampire books are truly timeless (not unlike the fictional creatures they portray). Whether you’re into skin-crawling horror books or heart-racing romance novels—or anything in between—there’s a bloodthirsty title on this list of vampire books waiting for you.
We’ve rounded up classic and contemporary vampire books, from the highest-rated novels and New York Times best sellers to the kind of ageless stories that define a genre. Once you’ve had your fill (of blood), check out our collections of the best books of all time, classic books, books for teens, and Halloween kids books. There’s a bookshelf’s worth of great titles waiting for you, along with some great vampire movies.
1. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s classic novel set the precedent for all the blood-curdling tales that came after, and its villain, Count Dracula, set the standard for the dark yet alluring undead. In it, an English solicitor travels to Transylvania, where horrifying encounters highlight a supernatural plot that puts those he loves at risk. It’s a must-read for seasoned fans of the genre and newcomers alike. For more compelling reads, check out these sad books.
2. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
In a refreshing divergence from classic Eurocentric vampire lore, this Mexico City–based thriller features ancient Aztec vampires and rival narco-vampire clans. In it, a lonely street kid is taken on a wild ride when he encounters a jaded vampire looking for an escape. Together, they have to dodge cops, criminals, and vampires—and try not to end up dead (or undead, as the case may be). Published in September 2021, Certain Dark Things is the latest release from the New York Times best-selling author of Mexican Gothic. Find more great diverse reads from these Latinx authors.
3. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Tana lives in a world where vampires and humans intermingle in quarantined cities called Coldtowns. After awakening from a perfectly normal party to find herself surrounded by corpses, she, her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, and a mysterious boy burdened with a secret—the only survivors—must race against the clock to save themselves. Critically acclaimed as a fresh and riotously funny take on the classic tale, Holly Black’s 2013 vampire book was written for a young adult audience but will jump-start even the coldest adult hearts. Keep reading with these fantastic poetry books.
4. The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks
This funny book, published in 2009, centers on Nina, a middle-aged writer who pumps out books about sparkly, glamorous vampires. But there’s a catch: Nina was bitten when she was 15 years old and spends her days living off of guinea pig blood and hiding at her mom’s house in Sydney, Australia. When a fellow vampire disappears, things get a bit out of hand. It’s a great pick for readers who wished Twilight had fewer sparkly vamps, more laughs, and a compelling murder mystery.
5. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Things seem perfectly sunny for this story’s heroine, who’s living her best life as a small-town baker until she’s abducted by a gang of vampires. So begins Sunshine, Robin McKinley’s 2014 vampire book, which chronicles magically gifted Sunshine’s fight to save herself and survive in a world post-Voodoo Wars. It’s a good pick for urban fantasy fans. Find more books by female authors.
6. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
This hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic thriller is a story of danger and flight, of love and loss. Published in 1976, Anne Rice’s series of vampire books set the tone for romantic vampire stories and remain some of the most definitive vampire books of the 20th century. It’s certainly one of the most famous vampire-related book-to-movie adaptations. If you love it, be sure to watch the 1994 film version, starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Dunst.
7. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
In his second novel, published in 1975, the king of horror created a vampire book that still keeps readers up at night. When a young boy goes missing, the protagonist suspects something sinister is at work. Considering the author, you can assume he’s right. No one does creepy towns and bloodcurdling fiction quite like Stephen King. It’s been such a smash hit that it inspired a slew of film and television adaptations. Not sure how to choose your next book? Pick a book based on your zodiac sign.
8. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Fans of historical fiction books will love Elizabeth Kostova’s twist on the myth of Vlad the Impaler. In this 2009 vampire book, a young woman finds an ancient tome, sparking a quest for the truth about the man who was the real-life inspiration for Dracula. Her journey takes her from dusty Ivy League libraries to the depths of Budapest in this relentless tale, which artfully blends fact and fantasy and the past and the present in a suspenseful and utterly unforgettable tale.
9. Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin
If you loved George R.R. Martin’s fantasy book series Game of Thrones, try his 1982 vampire novel, Fevre Dream. The book centers on a struggling 19th-century Mississippi riverboat captain, Abner Marsh, who sets out on a journey with a mysterious wealthy aristocrat. It’s a spellbinding tale of a vampire’s quest to unite his race with humanity and of one man’s dream of immortality.
10. Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
Groundbreaking science fiction author Octavia E. Butler brings her storytelling mastery to the vampire genre with Fledgling. The story, published in 2005, follows a young woman without any memories as she learns she is a genetically modified 53-year-old vampire and sets out to discover what she can about her former life. The book touches on themes of race, survival, and sexuality as the protagonist grapples with who wanted—and still wants—to destroy her. Browse our list of other books by Black authors.
11. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
For a quick, fun read, pick up Richelle Mead’s 2007 young adult vampire book series about a half-human girl and the vampire princess best friend she’s sworn to protect. Naturally, there’s an engaging romance, but if that’s not your thing, the action will have you turning pages faster than you can say “wooden stake.”
12. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
The first novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series, published in 2001, follows Sookie, a small-town cocktail waitress who can read minds. When Bill Compton, a vampire on the run from a gang of bloodsuckers, comes into her life, things get a little more complicated. If the plot sounds familiar, that’s because Charlaine Harris’s vampire novels inspired the hit series True Blood. The thrills don’t stop with these true crime books.
13. Twilight by Stephanie Myers
Love it or hate it, Twilight certainly made an impact, giving the vampire genre new life in 2005 and, some argue, jump-starting the young adult category. Yes, critics had their qualms. And yes, the vampires do sparkle. But the series of romance-heavy vampire books is worth a read so that you can draw your own conclusions.
14. The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith
The mid-2000s television series of the same name has seen a resurgence on streaming services, and its soapy romance and plot twists continue to delight fans of all ages. Find out where it all began by reading L. J. Smith’s teen series, the first book of which was published in 1991. Follow it up with something totally different: one of the best autobiographies around.
15. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
History buffs will fall in love with this 2011 novel, the first in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls series of witch and vampire books. Like the author, protagonist Diana Bishop is a history professor. Unlike Harkness, Diana is a descendant of witches who discovers a long-lost alchemical manuscript that summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Once you’ve finished the series, check out the TV series, starring Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode.
16. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
What if Abraham Lincoln’s mother had been killed by a vampire? That’s the action that propels honest Abe into action in this delightful 2011 alternate history novel. Nineteenth-century America meets vampire-hunting thrills as Lincoln sets out on a path of vengeance that leads him all the way to the White House. If you love biographies but miss the paranormal elements of your favorite horror novels, you’ll love this mash-up. A good follow-up? How about a biography of real-life Abraham Lincoln?
17. Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz
In the echelons of New York society, the old families of Manhattan have a dark, closely guarded secret. Not to get too spoilery but it involves vampires. Fans of Gossip Girl will love this 2006 YA series, in which elite school drama is a whole lot bloodier.
18. Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
In this first installment of the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, published in 1993, readers meet Southern belle Anita Blake, whose job is to reanimate the dead and kill the undead who take things too far. When St. Louis’s most powerful vampire asks her to solve a mysterious series of slayings, Anita must confront her greatest fear: her attraction to master vampire Jean-Claude, one of the creatures she is sworn to destroy. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will want to pick up a copy of this one—or download the audiobook—stat.
19. Already Dead by Charlie Huston
Deadpan humor and classic dark noir vibes meet in Charlie Huston’s 2005 vampire novel. Joe Pitt is an unhappy Manhattan vampyre who is called on to solve the case of a missing girl from Alphabet City. Oh, and did we mention the city is crawling with zombies?
20. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this supernatural thriller. Published in 2021 but set in the ’90s, the story centers on a small-town women’s book club that must protect its community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a bloodsucking fiend. As funny as it is thrilling, this book will delight with its fresh take on an old trope. It’s one of the best vampire books to read for your in-person or online book club.
21. The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas
Edward Weyland is a respected anthropology professor and a vampire. But there’s a catch: His is a biological condition, and it requires he live lifetimes bounded by decades of hibernation. To survive, he lives off stolen blood from labs and forms uneasy empathetic relationships with his prey. Though it was first published in 1980, this reads like an entirely new version of the vampire tale and will suck you in from the first page.
22. The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez
Winner of two Lambda Literary Awards, this 1991 novel tells the story of Gilda, a woman who escapes from slavery in the 1850s and is inducted into a benevolent family of vampires. It’s a must-read for fans of LGBTQ+ books and pretty much anyone else who can appreciate the melding of humor and terror. Themes of community and belonging are woven throughout the story, which follows the vampiric Gilda as she lives through the ages.
23. The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
If you loved The Hunger Games but thought it was missing vampires, this 2012 young adult novel is for you. It focuses on 17-year-old Gene, who lives in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population of vampires. In order to survive, he must hide his humanity—even when he’s selected as one of the combatants in a once-in-a-decade government-sponsored hunt.
24. Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
A tale predating Dracula by 26 years, this female-focused story set deep in the Austrian forest is the original vampire novel. And though it was published in 1872, it’s steeped in sexual tension and Gothic romance. Laura, who cares for her ailing father, lives a solitary life until the beautiful, entrancing, and mysterious Carmilla comes crashing into her life. As their feverish friendship escalates, Laura develops strange symptoms, and she soon uncovers a monstrous secret. Buy the book for yourself or as a gift for the book lover in your life.
25. Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
What if Dracula had survived and vampirism became a fad of European high society? Anno Dracula combines horror, politics, mystery, and romance into a tale containing new and familiar names from Victorian history and literature. Written in 1992 and set amid the reign of Queen Victoria, the story centers on the infamous Jack the Ripper murders, which get a supernatural twist when the victims turn out to be vamps. With its melding of genres, the book will appeal to paranormal, historical, and mystery lovers alike.
26. The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Passage is among the vampire books that look at vampirism as a disease. Thanks to government experiments gone wrong, a vampire virus has decimated the world and survivors live a bleak existence. This giant tome (it’s more than 750 pages) chronicles the early days of the catastrophe to the aftermath, more than 90 years later through the story of a six-year-old girl who may be the key to it all. The theme of endurance in the face of catastrophe will resonate with readers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. For more reading inspiration, check out these essential books about race relations in America.
27. The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith
Published in 2010, The Greyfriar imagines 2020 as overrun by a plague of vampires. The creatures swept across the northern regions of the world in 1870, and now Princess Adele, heir to the Empire of Equatoria (a fictitious version of the Ottoman Empire), is the target of a merciless vampire clan. When a mysterious folk hero named the Greyfriar comes to her rescue, their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching final war between humans and vampires. Fans of steampunk will love this thrilling series.
28. Halfway to the Grave by Jeanine Frost
In Jeanine Frost’s 2007 novel, half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is on the hunt (literally) for her deadbeat vampire dad. When she’s captured by the vampire Bones, a bounty hunter, she’s forced into an unlikely partnership. As the pair is pursued by a group of killers, Cat will have to choose a side—and the decision isn’t so easy after spending time with Bones. Not reading alone? Here are some great book club books to suggest to the group.
29. They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon
Los Angeles has become a vampire-laden necropolis, and an army of the undead led by the vampire Prince Vulcan is out to conquer the world. Enter a band of vampire hunters who vow to stop evil in its tracks. Readers who loved World War Z will lose their minds for this thrilling 1981 horror novel.
30. The Vampyre by John William Polidori
Dracula may have made vampires famous, but John William Polidori’s Gothic novella is widely considered the first vampire story ever written. It was Polidori’s submission to Lord Byron’s infamous spooky tale contest in 1819, for which Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. And because it’s a short book, it’s the perfect introduction to the genre. The Vampyre tells the tale of an Englishman who suspects his new and mysterious friend may be a vampire.
31. Marked by Kristin and P.C. Cast
When fledgling vampyre Zoey is selected to undergo the four-year transformation and attend the elite House of Night private school dedicated to helping teenagers survive the change into adult vamps, she carries the mark of a great destiny. But Zoey isn’t just a fledgling; she’s been chosen by a vampyre goddess. Discovering that another goddess-favored fledgling is misusing her magical powers, Zoey has to trust herself and her new friends in this 2007 young adult novel.
32. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
This 19th-century Gothic romance carries all the allure of vampire books of old with a fresh feel befitting its 2021 publication. Soon after arriving from Paris, 17-year-old Celine Rousseau becomes enmeshed in New Orleans’ glitzy underworld, where a string of gruesome murders draws her deeper into a mystery as big as the city itself. As she navigates the dark underworld, tracking down a serial killer, she must contend with her deepest secret and ignore the draw of the enigmatic boy she suspects may have a hand in the deaths. If you have a long, boring commute, this is one of the best audiobooks to listen to.
33. Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly
Love James Bond but wish there were more fangs involved? Meet Barbara Hambly’s 1988 vampire novel. In this Victorian London-set drama, former spy James Asher has decided to settle down and marry, but his peace is shattered with the arrival of a Spanish vampire. He’s drawn into a race to hunt down the perpetrator of a string of vampire murders before he becomes a victim himself.
34. I Am Legend by Richard Mathewson
Widely acclaimed as popularizing the disease-caused apocalypse archetype, this 1954 novel combines zombie and vampire lore to spin a tale of one man’s struggle for survival in a world filled with monsters. Fans of the Will Smith film will love reading the original story, as will anyone who enjoys the thrill of an apocalyptic tale. Next, check out the best coffee table books you can buy for yourself or gift to others.
35. Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore
A raucous comedy with a vampiric twist, this 1995 novel centers on Jody—who never asked to become a vampire— as she makes the transition from the nine-to-five grind to an eternity of nocturnal prowling. When her path collides with vampire-in-hiding C. Thomas Flood, the two find their afterlives get a little more exciting. Of all vampire books, this romantic comedy will have readers laughing out loud from page to page. Just make sure you have the sequel on hand when you finish!