Are you vampired out yet? I sure hope not, because I plan on reviewing Eugene Woodbury's Angel Falling Softly next. I am currently reading it online at the author's website. Let's just say that it is more than just The Other Mormon Vampire Book. It is far better written, deeper, and more thought-provoking than anything Stephenie Meyer will ever come out with.
I also plan on reading John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In (here is a great review).
So yeah, I complain about how most modern vampires suck, and yet I keep going back to them. Here are my recommendations:
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Hellsing (manga series) by Kohta Hirano
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Vampire Chronicles (especially the first three) by Anne Rice
I wasn't 100% crazy about Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, but it's a classic of the vampire/post-apocalyptic genres so it's still worthwhile. Children of the Night sounds promising, for no other reason than that it's by Dan Simmons.
Now I'm going to admit something publicly for the first time: I have a vampire series in mind (or rather, a trilogy or miniseries - not something ongoing, like Anita Blake or The Vampire Chronicles). But not for anytime soon. Not for years. Even if I could write it right now, I wouldn't - the market is just over-saturated at this point. Plus, I don't want to be known as a "vampire author," so I'd like to publish other stuff first. (Problem is, I just can't think of anything else to write at this moment in time.) But anyway, the main character has been in my head since high school. That was well over half a decade ago, so he's obviously there to stay. Over time, my thoughts have evolved with other books I've read, movies I've seen, and things I've learned. Don't know what it'll look like 10, 20 years from now but it sure isn't gonna be Twilight. Actually, it was rather vague and undefined for awhile - until I read The Historian. Then it crystalized and became more focused.
For the action, I have Hellsing in mind.
I anticipate putting up with questions about how much Twilight has influenced/inspired me. *bangs head on wall* My mother, however, said that back when she was a student teacher in the early '80s all the teen girls were reading V.C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic books. According to this article,
These questions [of the appropriateness of certain children's books] take me back to the awful fiction that obsessed me when I was 11: Flowers in the Attic and its even less redeemable progeny. Flowers was published in 1979 and became a sort of rite of passage for the girls I knew. It still is, to some degree: The books (officially called the Dollanganger Family series) have sold more than 100 million copies, and their biggest audience is teen and preteen girls. The author, V.C. Andrews, ranks with Stephen King as one of the all-time best-selling denizens of mass-paperback gothic horror.I actually haven't heard much about V.C. Andrews in recent years. My 14-year-old sister and her friends, in addition to Twilight, read stuff like Scott Westerfield's The Uglies series, YA chick lit, hard-hitting books about "issues" (divorce, anorexia, rape, etc), and the various other YA vampire novels (some may eventually graduate to Anne Rice). I could be wrong, but Andrews seems to be on the back burner. Same with those Sweet Valley High books that were big in the '80s. Who is reading those other than adult women with a nostalgic attachment to them?
Twilight too shall pass.
(The Baby-Sitters' Club was quite good though. They should re-release those.)