Vamps. What is it about them? I was always such a cynic about them, never understanding their appeal to so many. What could possibly be sexy about a pale, creepy blood sucker? The whole idea made me cringe over the "ick" factor. I didn't find out what all the fuss was about until I picked up Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters, and discovered that a vampire could be something other than cold, dead and addicted to the red stuff. He could also be strong, sexy, and oh so hot-blooded. Unforgettable characters like Ash, Simi and Zarek keep me coming back for more, though I've become impatient for Ash's story, and I'm fervently hoping the train isn't derailed before it has its chance to be told. Sometimes the stories are going in too many directions, but I am still a huge fan - you never forget your first vamp.
From there, I began to explore the different kinds of vampires out on the market, looking for love, and this lead me to discover the humor just waiting to happen when I picked up MaryJanice Davidson's "Undead and Unwed". The cover of the book was what originally attracted me to the series, but it was the humor and Betsy's obsession with shoes that kept me coming back for more...okay that, and the sexy undead Sinclair. Who wouldn't want a mysterious and powerful hottie in love with her for all time? It would be worth facing eternal damnation to have that be my destiny. I don't think I would be complaining too much, as long as he kept away from ALL other women. Personally I think if Betsy were a bit smarter, she'd keep Sinclair occupied horizontally more frequently than she does. And he does love her, so it's all good. Just get with the program, blondie.
Shiloh Walker introduced me to the world of the erotic vampire, the ones who mate with werewolves and witches and whose women are just as strong and bold as their males. Their bond is of a much more sexual nature, and sharing is sometimes a part of their nature, but it is a mutual choice, where no one gets hurt and being together can make the powers of those bonding even stronger. A word of warning to those who've not experienced the phenomena of this particular Hunter - turn up the a/c or have your significant other nearby and ready. This is some seriously hot stuff!
One of my all-time favorite authors, Erin McCarthy, has recently dipped her toes into the paranormal by writing a fun, sexy series about life as a vampire in the 21st century. To Erin, her undead are a minority, but they have rights too, and must learn to adjust to the world and find their place in it. Not all vamps have to be tortured souls...in fact some have goals and visions of a better world for their people. And why not? Vamps are, were, people, too.
JR Ward has taken a lot of these elements and created a darker, tormented and fierce hunter with her dynamic series about the Brotherhood. Her world has a strong code that her vampires honor, one that has consequences for their actions, and sometimes it can really hurt. Joy is equally shared with pain. Without giving too much away from those who have not yet delved into this particular series, I will say that the author doesn't tease or bluff, she drops the axe, and it can break your heart. Many dark and complicated elements drift throughout this series, making readers question the direction in which the author will ultimately decide to go. I think one thing we can all agree on is that nothing is sacred. But isn't that what keeps some of us coming back for more?
What all these vamps have in common is that they recognize their mates, they have a purpose, and there will always be a greater evil lurking around the corner, waiting to obliterate them. I also enjoy how some series maintain a world where their vamps must avoid sunlight, garlic, and sharp stakes, others break some or even all the rules to create their own unique existence. There's something for everyone.
What about you? Do you like a good vampire/undead story? Why or why not?
If you do, what would you recommend?