47 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 waiting for you.
We’ve rounded up classic and contemporary vampire books, from the highest-rated novels and New York Times bestsellers 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, books for teens, Halloween kids books and the most anticipated books of the year. 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 is one of the best vampire books of all time. It 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 Dracula, 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.
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 other vamps—and try not to end up dead (or undead, as the case may be). Published in September 2021, Certain Dark Things was written by the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic. For more great diverse reads, check out the work of 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 genre, 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. The Reformed Vampire Support Group is 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 and one of the best vampire books to read for your in-person or online book club.
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 Vampire Chronicles series set the tone for romantic vampire stories, and Interview with the Vampire remains one 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. The book was such a smash hit that it inspired a slew of film and television adaptations.
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 book.
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. For even more fantastic fiction, browse our list of other books by Black authors.
11. Fangs by Sarah Andersen
If Twilight‘s almost-romance between Jacob and Bella let you down, take heart. Here’s a sweet love story between a werewolf and a vampire told in graphic novel form. You’ll find parallels to the contemporary dating world through Elsie and Jimmie’s sometimes cute, sometimes awkward courtships. This 2020 vampire story is beautifully bound and could quickly become a cult classic for fans of the paranormal.
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 won’t stop if you also pick up one of these true crime books.
13. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
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, which centers on the star-crossed love between human girl Bella and sparkly vamp Edward, 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 and dark academia lovers 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 book 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 what 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. For a follow-up, how about a biography about real-life Abraham Lincoln?
17. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
In the upper 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 it 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 vampire 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 Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires 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.
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 him to live lifetimes punctuated 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, The Vampire Tapestry 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. Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda
A vampire book for literary fiction lovers, Claire Kohda’s novel was named one of the best books of 2022 by a slew of publications. Woman, Eating is the story of Lydia, a young artist in London who also happens to be a vampire. She’d love to feast on the delicious food she sees and smells daily, but her body would reject it. Instead, Lydia sources a regular supply of pig blood so she won’t need to hurt anyone around her. But soon, something must give. She’ll need to find a way to survive and make peace with the multitudes within her: woman, artist, vampire and human.
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 one of the earliest vampire novels ever written. 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.
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 6-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. Buy the book for yourself or as a gift for the book lover in your life.
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 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 over this thrilling 1981 horror novel, which (lucky for you) is available on Kindle Unlimited.
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-story 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. Youngblood by Sasha Laurens
“High school sucks. Especially for the undead.” Thus reads the tagline for Sasha Laurens’s smart, slick 2022 boarding school drama. Like Mean Girls with fangs, Youngblood centers on a tangle of high school girls with interpersonal issues. But it really takes off when one of the teachers is found dead, spurring the girls to band together and hunt down the killer. This one’s no cozy mystery, but it would make a spooktacular nighttime read that will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning.
32. The Beautiful by Renée 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’s 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. Pick up this one if you love mystery books but want more undead between the pages.
33. Vampire, Hearts & Other Dead Things by Margie Fuston
This 2022 debut by Margie Fuston follows Victoria as she heads to New Orleans in search of a vampire who can give her dying dad a chance at recovery. It’s a long shot, but Victoria’s aim is simple: Become a vampire so she can race home and turn her father immortal before his last breath. Heartbreaking, sweet and sometimes a little bit frightening, this young adult novel proves that Margie Fuston is going places. Need more proof? The book was a finalist for the prestigious Morris Award. Not sure what to read after this one? Pick a book based on your zodiac sign.
34. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
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 dystopian fiction.
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. This romantic comedy will have readers laughing out loud from page to page. Just make sure you have the sequel on hand for when you finish!
36. Magical Midlife Madness by K.F. Breene
A vampire book series is nothing new, but author K.F. Breene flips the trope on its head with a midlife crisis theme in 2020’s Magical Midlife Madness. At 40 years old, divorced empty-nester Jessie is turning over a new leaf. Why not sign up as a caretaker for a creepy mansion in wine country? This effervescent book offers a fun romp through one woman’s reawakening—but with fangs because, again, why not? Sweet and simple as Halloween candy, Magical Midlife Madness is light on the spook and heavy on the charm. It’s one of the best book series for fall and winter reading.
37. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
For a quick, fun read, pick up Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy, a 2007 young adult vampire book series about a half-human girl and the vampire princess 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.”
38. The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay
Paul Tremblay’s 2022 hair-raising horror novel takes an awkward high school relationship based on shared fringe interests (volunteer pallbearing, for one) and fast-tracks it into the future, when writer Art tries unraveling the truth of his high school friend—the coolest and strangest girl he’d ever met—by turning his memories into a novel. Of course, his school sidekick isn’t so happy about the spotlight. This intense, razor-sharp thriller blends book genres, but we can say for sure that it belongs among the best vampire books.
39. John Eyre by Mimi Matthews
This isn’t just another vampire book; it’s a haunting, subversive retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Told in dual timelines, riddled letters and journal entries, John Eyre, which was released in 2021, sweeps readers away to the Black Sea and rural England. In the silvery mist, John seeks information about the mysterious widow who hired him. Can he fight the darkness of rural Thornfield Hall, or will evil win out in the end?
40. 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.
41. Human Enough by E.S. Yu
This action-packed supernatural story from 2019 kicks off when vampire hunter Noah Lau becomes a prisoner in his target’s house. Despite the frightening setting, Noah falls in love with his captor’s partner. But that’s just the beginning. As the duo gets tangled in a criminal conspiracy, their relationship is put to the test. If you’re looking for diverse fiction, you’ve found it. Human Enough features neurodiverse, pansexual, graysexual and Asian characters.
42. The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Looking for a quick, vampy Halloween read? The Deathless Girls, published in 2019, delivers a fast-paced story about twin sisters stolen from their colorful town and forced into bondage by the insidious Boyar Valcar—a powerful man known for his love of young girls. But there’s something even more sinister in the castle: swirling rumors that the girls will be “given” to an even greater lord with supernatural, bloodthirsty desires.
43. The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl
Holly Liddl might’ve agreed to become a vampire, but nobody—especially not the good-for-nothing ex-boyfriend who turned her—told her just how much it would suck. Now Holly has learned she wasn’t the first to fall prey to her ex’s charms. She and his other ex-girlfriends (ahem, victims) form a trio of scorned women determined to stop their evil ex in his tracks. Sonia Hartl’s 2021 contribution to vampire books thrums with vengeance, female friendships and a side of Sapphic romance.
44. Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast
When fledgling vampire 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 vampire 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.
45. City of Gods and Monsters by Kayla Edwards
Meet Loren Calla, a human in a city run by vampires, werewolves and witches. She’s content slipping safely through the cracks of society until one of her friends is kidnapped by supernatural henchmen. After enlisting the help of a demon tracker named Darien, the two become mired in a massive scheme that involves the disappearance of the city’s women. This 2022 paranormal novel is just the beginning of another stellar vampire series.
46. 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.
47. Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman
Archivist Sol has fallen head-over-heels for his new widow friend. The only problem is his vampirism, a strange illness that forces him to hide from the sun. When something goes wrong at work, Sol must summon the courage to face his fears—if he ever wants to move forward with life and love. If you love sweet romances or vampire books (or both), Dead Collections is for you!
Additional reporting by Madeline Kiss.