Books with bite

Vampires seem to be the in thing at the moment. Almost everyone is going ga-ga over the Twilight books and there is now a glut of teen vamp fic. Hollywood is, of course, cashing in on this, with numerous pointy teeth films and tv shows gracing our screens. For a bit of a laugh, check out the trailer for I Kissed a Vampire, a musical web series.

DraculaVampire fiction has been around for a long time. The first vampire book I ever read was Stephen King’s Salom’s Lot. It remains one of my favourites. Since then, I’ve read the occasional bit of vamp fic, including the granddaddy of them all, Dracula (which is well worth a read, even if you’re not into vampires). The one that really sticks in my mind, even though I read is about 13 years ago, is Poppy Z Brite’s Lost Souls. She has an interesting take on the vampire mythology. Her vamps are a separate species and breeding with humans results in each successive generation being less vampiric. The oldest vampire in the book can eat or drink nothing but blood, has pointy teeth and can be harmed by sunlight. The youngest is a bit of a goth — sunlight won’t hurt him but prefers to go out at night; his teeth aren’t pointy and although he doesn’t need to drink blood to live, he does come to develop a taste for it. There’s a lot more to it, but I’m working from memory here.

I’ve always thought that what this world really needed was some good vampire books set in Australia, preferable Melbourne (my home city). A number of years ago I read Vampire Cities by d’ettut (yes, d’ettut is the name of the author… pseudonym perhaps?), which was partly set in Australia. I remember thinking it was a weird, arty sort of book and that vampires weren’t actually the focus. It mustn’t have made much of an impression on me as I can remember nothing of the story.

More recently, I read Narrelle M Harris’s The Opposite of Life, which is set in Melbourne. I LOVED this book. It’s got lots of blood, dead bodies and pointy teeth and yet it’s a very atypical vampire story. The heroes are a geeky librarian and a slightly podgy, daggy vampire who wears loud Hawaiian shirts.  The book makes marvellous use of its Melbourne locale and is worth a read for that alone. Harris is writing a sequel… I can’t wait. Check out my review of The Opposite of Life.

Solace & GriefI also recently read Solace & Grief by Foz Meadows. The author calls the book an “urban fantasy” rather than a vampire novel. The main character is a vamp, as is the main villain, but there are other supernatural characters as well. It’s a young adult novel set in Sydney (not as good as Melbourne, but hey, at least it’s in Australia) and it’s got quite a different feel to it from any other vampire book I’ve read. It’s been getting some great reviews and with good reason – it’s a really good read. It is the first book of a trilogy called The Rare. Book 2 is currently in the works… definitely one to look out for.

There are probably other Australian vampire books out there. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never made a point of searching them out. The ones I’ve read were those that I happened across. So if anyone out there has any recommendations, I’m all ears… um… err… teeth?

Tune in next time for another vampire post, this time with the assistance of authors Foz Meadows and Narrelle M Harris.

Catch ya later,  George

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George Ivanoff

LITERARY CLUTTER: Bookish bloggings from the cluttered mind and bookshelf of Melbourne author, George Ivanoff. George is the author of the YOU CHOOSE books, the OTHER WORLDS series, the RFDS Adventures and the GAMERS trilogy.

6 thoughts on “Books with bite”

  1. I can also highly recommend Mary Borsellino’s series, The Wolf House. They are set in Chicago, but the writer is from Williamstown. I love the tagline – “Punk is dead, and it has teeth”. A lot of the characters are teenagers into the music scene, in between battling vampires for survival. Awesome series, with great cover art by Audrey Fox. See http://www.thewolfhouse.net 🙂

  2. Thanks for that, Narrelle. I had a look at the site and it looks like a really interesting series. I’m not a fan of e-books as a format, but I see that the first three novels are soon to be released in one paperback. So I might wait until they’re released and then get them.

  3. Keri Arthur’s Riley Janson Guaridan Series is set in Melbourne and has a host of “supes” including vampires.
    Also, Evolution of the Vampire – the Australian Story by Juliet Peniston-Bird is also set in Melbourne.
    I’ve heard of The Reformed Vampire Support Group (I think it is a YA novel) set in Sydney.
    Tasmania would be an awesome setting for Aussie bloodsuckers – there is something ominous in its beauty and charm.

  4. hey so u said u were all ears (or teeth) for other good vampire reads not sure if u just meant australian books or just vampire books in general but these fit the second category. don’t suppose you’ve read any of them?

    -evernight series (claudia gray)
    -vampire academy (richelle mead) REALLY REALLY GOOD!!!
    -vampire diares (L.J.Smith)
    -Peeps (Scott Westerfeld) expained the whole cross hatin thing really well, you’ll know what i mean if u read it (it’s sequel is The Last Days)
    -The Eternal Kiss (ed. Trisha Telep) collection of short stories
    -House of Night series (P.C. and Kristin Cast)
    – Mortal Instruments Trilogy (Casandra Clare) LOVE THESE BOOKS!!

    ok thats about it i think hope u decide to give them a try and i hope u like them.

    p.s. i think itd be really cool if u wrote a piece on the tomorrow series – specially with the movie comming out September 2 🙂

  5. Thanks for the suggestions, Jess. No, I’ve not read any of these. But the Evernight series gets a mention by author Foz Meadows in the latest Literary Clutter post – .

    I have read the Tomorrow series… and yes, I think it’s a great idea to do a post on them prior to the release of the film. I will add it to my ever growing list of blog topics.

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