The best vampire books with bite

Author and BookTok favourite Hafsah Faizal on why we're drawn to vampire books, as well as our top reads to really get your teeth into.

Vampires are dead, every trendsetter says, and yet like the undead themselves, we resurrect them from the grave time and time again. Why are we drawn to them? They’re hardly the only paranormal type out there. We have zombies, ghosts, werewolves, and aliens, and yet vampires remain at the top of our lists. I’m guilty, of course. I never set out to write vampire books of my own, but they somehow shuffled their way between the pages and never left. They’re vain, almost always drop dead gorgeous, and so overly dramatic that it’s a marvel they can even survive an eternity. 

I do wonder, however, if the reason we remain enraptured is because of how, of all the paranormal creatures, they’re the most like us. Some of the best vampire books are those that use the sanguinary folk to unravel the dark side of being human. To explore our monstrous tendencies that seemingly birth at death, when a human becomes a vampire. After all, it’s easier to look outward than it is inward. To see fangs growing with insatiable hunger, sinking heartlessly into the innocent, to read about bodies obtaining a permanence that’s almost bittersweet, and think, oh, we can never be like that. 

You’re not here for an author’s musings though, are you? You’re here for recs you can sink your teeth into, and we’ve got you covered.

A Tempest of Tea

by Hafsah Faizal

The only thing better than a swoon-worthy romance, is a swoon-worthy romance with vampires. In A Tempest of Tea we meet Arthie Casimir, a criminal mastermind and collector of secrets in the city of White Roaring. By day she runs a tearoom, but by night this transforms into an illegal bloodhouse for the city's vampires. When her establishment is threatened she is forced to call on society's outcasts to infiltrate the vampire society known as the Athereum. But not everyone in her ragtag crew is on her side, and as the truth behind the heist unfolds, Arthie finds herself in the midst of a conspiracy.

The Serpent and the Wings of Night

by Carissa Broadbent

In Carissa Broadbent's series opener, a human-vampire survival game akin to The Hunger Games, unfolds. Oraya, an adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, battles for more than mere survival in the Kejari, a legendary contest run by the goddess of death. To win, Oraya must ally with perilous Raihn, a deadly vampire and fierce competitor. Despite being an enemy to her father's reign, Oraya is irresistibly drawn to Raihn. In the merciless Kejari, compassion is scarce, and love could prove fatal.


by Genevieve Cogman

Revolution's a bloodthirsty business. . . particularly when the aristocrats facing the guillotine also happen to be vampires. Genevieve Cogman's latest adds magic and even more mayhem to the tale of The Scarlet Pimpernel, the alter-ego of an English dandy secretly rescuing those condemned to die during the French Revolution. In Scarlet he's a member of the 'sanguinocrat' vampire nobility class and has an ace up his sleeve: Eleanor, a lowly maid from an English estate with a striking resemblance to Marie Antoinette. As she travels to France, ready to impersonate the French Queen and help rescue the Royal Family, Eleanor stumbles across a centuries-old war between vampires and their fiercest enemy. And they’re both out for blood.


by Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker's creation may not be the first literary vampire (he's predated by Polidori's The Vampyre and Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla, amongst others), but he's certainly the most famous. While Dracula and his nemesis, Van Helsing, are regularly reinterpreted, updated and adapted, the original novel is very much of its time. Told via letters, diary entries and newspaper articles, it explores and reflects the fears that dominated Victorian society: the corruption of morality, unrestrained sexuality, irrationality and the foreign. But don't let this fool you into thinking it won't frighten the twenty-first century reader just as much. 

Masters of Death

by Olivie Blake

If further proof was needed that Olivie Blake can write about pretty much anything, her upcoming book is about an estate agent. Only this realtor's a vampire, the house for sale is haunted and the medium she’s hired to help is a fraud. As vampiric real estate professional Viola and secret charlatan Fox try to solve the mystery of the ghost’s death, they are drawn into a quest that neither wants nor expects. And they'll need the help of a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel and a love-stricken reaper to complete it. A witty, gripping page-turner.

All These Bodies

by Kendare Blake

Aimed at older readers of YA, this is the tale of a gruesome killer in the American Midwest, who leaves bodies completely drained of blood. When a Sheriff in Minnesota locates a suspect, Marie Catherine Hale, it doesn't seem possible she's done this alone: she's fifteen, and tiny. She also won't talk to anyone except Michael Jensen, the Sheriff's son, and aspiring journalist. As Marie shares her confession, Michael is torn. To believe her is to question everything he's ever known. And yet she seems so convincing. . .

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

by Grady Hendrix

Book cover for The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this entertaining horror novel about a women's book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town. One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbour, bringing the neighbour’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. But when children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, it starts to become clear that James may be a bit of monster.

Interview with the Vampire

by Anne Rice

Book cover for Interview with the Vampire

Famously adapted into the film starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and a young Kirsten Dunst, this was American writer Anne Rice's debut novel. Its premise is simple: in a darkened room a vampire named Louis de Pointe du Lac tells his 200-year-long life story to an unnamed reporter, a life story cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.

Carry On

by Rainbow Rowell

Proving that vampire novels don't have to unrelentingly dark, readers of Rainbow Rowell's YA mystery love story (with monsters) and its sequels, Wayward Son and Any Way the Wind Blows 'come for the make-outs and stay for the magic' (The Atlantic). Simon Snow wants to relax and enjoy his final year at (magical) high school, but his girlfriend has dumped him, his best friend is annoying and his longtime nemesis is mysteriously missing. Plus there are vampires. It seems that when you're the most powerful magician in the world, there's quite a lot to do before you can relax. 

Woman, Eating

by Claire Kohda

Book cover for Woman, Eating

Lydia is hungry. The only thing she can digest is blood, and it turns out that sourcing fresh pigs' blood in London – where she is living away from her vampire mother for the first time – is much more difficult than she'd anticipated. Also much more difficult than she'd anticipated: the humans. She knows that they are her natural prey, but she can't bring herself to feed on them. In order to get on in the world, Lydia needs to reconcile her demon and human sides. But first of all, she really must eat something. An enjoyably fresh take on the vampire narrative.