Last week, I finished reading Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites, which is the first of their Kate Daniels series. In it, they wrote vampires as mindless monsters who continuously feed unless they are “controlled” by people with power. This got me to thinking about all the different types of vampires written in literature. I think, as far as paranormal goes, vampires are the only ones that differ into two distinct groups.
The first is the Twilight gang. The hotties who mingle among humans and may or may not roam in the sunlight. These characters are either power hungry (excuse the pun) or bear the emotional burden of having to kill to survive. I guess we can’t really blame Twilight, because Anne Rice showcased similar vampires, the one I’m thinking of is Interview with the Vampire. In fact, she is the first one that I am aware of who used the idea of feeding on animal blood instead of human blood to help save said emotionally burdened character. Twilightwas the first I noticed to come up with the idea of changing eye color to mark the difference.
The second type of vampire I find in a lot of urban fantasy novels. This is the monster. They are demons-like, typically black-leather skin to mimic the bat. They border zombie-like in nature. They hide in shadows, don’t typically speak, and are certainly not emotionally burdened. This is because they are no longer human. I love Ilona Andrews’ description the best. Her character Kate was explaining how she can tell the age of a vampire. “Undeath brings certain anatomical changes. Some are immediate and some are slow. The older the undead, the more apparent those changes become. A vamp’s never finished. It’s an abomination in progress.” I loved that last sentence. It strikes a commonality between both types of vampires: the mark of being one of the damned. Even the original vampires had this religious allusion.
Authors like Jim Butcher combined the best of both worlds. His vampires (who drink blood) appear human but then transform into their “true self” when angered. This self follows suit with the monster mentioned above. Of course, he also incorporates a trend I am starting to see more which is a vampire can feed in different ways. They can feed off emotions, intimate touches, and even psychological manipulation. Most result in the victim’s death when done in abundance, and all rejuvenate the vampire.
I think back on the original vampire. What would Bram Stoker think of the spin modern literature has taken on his creation? I, for one, welcome the change. Vampires have been around for quite a while. And, I don’t know about you, but there are only so many stories I can read about people sucking other people’s blood and being repelled by garlic—and even less regarding the beautiful human girl who falls in love with a vampire. I just wonder why writers only take such diversity with only vampires.