It's Thursday and that means it's time for another edition of Three Books. This week, in honor of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I'm featuring a list called "Three Vampire Books that Don't Suck (Your Blood)".
I have a bit of an issue with most vampire novels. I hate Twilight, I think that Anne Rice needs a thesaurus (seriously, how many times can you "preternatural" in one paragraph?), and I wasn't particularly impressed with Dracula. I have, however, read a few books that I actually really liked, other than Abraham Lincoln. So, here's my list for this week:
Three Vampire Books that Don't Suck (Your Blood)
-Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett is an absolute genius. I was introduced to Discworld when I was a freshman in high school and since then I have devoured almost every book in the entire series--of which there are over thirty. Carpe Jugulum (or "seize the throat") is one of several novels which feature Pratchett's beloved witches, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax. In this satire of vampire novels and movies, Magrat (no, I didn't spell that wrong) and her husband have just had a baby and they've invited the entire kingdom to the naming ceremony...including notorious vampires the Magpyr family. These vampires say that they have evolved--they eat garlic and don't shy away from sunlight or crosses--but that doesn't mean that they don't have sinister plans. One of these plans includes hypnotizing the entire kingdom and moving into the palace. But the new witch on the block, Agnes Nitt, sees right through them and it's up to her and an Omnian priest to try and stop them.
This book, like the rest of Pratchett's Discworld novels, is hysterically funny. It makes fun of the entire vampire mythos and a whole score of other recognizable cultural aspects to boot. Even the most vehement of vampire haters will enjoy this novel.
-The Passage by Justin Cronin
I had mentioned in an earlier post that while listening to NPR in my car last year I turned around and drove straight to the nearest bookstore to pick up Justin Cronin's The Passage. The way it was described just sounded incredibly interesting and I liked the fact that the author was creating his own image of vampires. In fact, they're sort of like zombie-vampires.
The basic idea behind the passage is that a virus has gotten out of control, creating a legion of psychotic zombie-vampires. It may sound a little lame but it was actually a really compelling read. It's the first in a trilogy--the next one isn't coming out until next year--and after reading it I was left wanting more. It's terrifying, imaginative, and full of really great characters. It's also a rather intimidating read at almost 800 pages. Occasionally I felt like the book was too long, but then I would read a few more pages and realize that if it had ended already I wouldn't have been able to read this really great part or that really amazing scene. Even as long as it was, it only took me about two days to read. I basically camped out in my bed and did nothing but read because I was so curious at to what was going to happen next.
This is really more of a post-apocalyptic novel than a vampire novel but it definitely fits the category of vampire books that don't suck. This isn't, of course, a literary classic or anything but it's definitely preferable to some of the other formulaic bestsellers, whether they feature vampires or not.
-Vampire Haiku by Ryan Mecum
Vampire Haiku is a really short, really fun read. At least, it is if you like haiku. Which I do. I'm not a fan of poetry but I've always found haiku to be really fun, both to read and to write. I will say that I liked Zombie Haiku much better, but both books are pretty decent.
The idea behind this book is that it is the diary of an American vampire as he goes through several centuries of American history. And it's written entirely in haiku. The book itself is designed to look and feel sort of like an old diary and it was kind of interesting to see a vampires take on things like the American Revolution and the Civil War. Very funny but also occasionally kind of sad and poignant.