For What It's Worth

Friday, March 5, 2010

That's not a REAL vampire!

What are the attributes of a "real" vampire? Can they fall in love? Must they be repelled by garlic and killed by a stake to the heart? Should they be able to go out in daylight............and should they sparkle??

With the explosion of vampires in literature (both YA & adult) come new twists on the old stories which leads to the inevitable backlash. Vampires can now go out during the day, fall in love & sometimes even have families, work with and care about humans and other things that stretch what vampires should be like.

Nothing seems to get people as fired up as Stephanie Myers making her vamps sparkle! Blasphemy!! Personally, I enjoyed the series and didn't have a problem with the sparkle aspect. I thought it was different from what I've read before. (I did have other issues with the series - but sparkly vampires wasn't one of them) I've read many blogs by vampire purists going off on True Blood and all the vampire romance books out there because it's not how "real" vampires act - they are predators and should not be having romances.

Same can be said of the crop of zombie books coming out. Instead of brain eating shamblers they now have social lives and relationships while still rotting away.

It's also funny that we don't react to the new takes on werewolves/shifters or the fey. Is it because they still retain human qualities so we can accept the human traits and therefore stretch the boundries these supernatural creatures?

The reason I like two of may favorite series - The Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost and the WVMP Radio Vampire series by Jeri Smith-Ready - is because they both have an original slant on vampires, giving them complex personalities while still retaining the ruthless qualities that make them the predators that we should fear.

For me vampires aren't real, they're fiction. There can't be any rules to break. We may have our own taste and that's fine. I can also see the argument that if we humanize (or de-fang) vampires too much, there comes a point that you have to ask "Why is the character even a vampire?" except to hop on a trend and sell books.

So what do you think? Do you accept some stretches to the rules but draw a line at some things or is anything ok as long as the writing is good? Or maybe you're a purist and think vampires should only be of the 30 Days Of Night / Salem's Lot variety? Or did Twilight just go too far with the sparkle??

I'd love to hear what you have to say so leave a comment!

Also check out the two contest I have going on. There are two chances to win books from the Amanda Feral zombie series by Mark Henry.
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  1. Great post, timeless issue, IMHO.

    I like bad romantic vamps, mainly--the kind you find in romance of UF, where they have thoughts and feelings, but a tendency toward ruthlessness (props to you for loving Night Huntress!)

    I'm not a fan of the sparkling, but what really bugs me about twi-vamps is their invulnerability. The can outrun cars and uproot oak trees, and I don't like vamps to be godlike in their powers. Stronger than humans, but not unfathomable. J. Frost basically gives us near-godlike vamps with enough realistic emotion that we connect to them.

    But also, I can like mindless eater-vamps like 30 Days of Night or Ilona Andrews' books, just depends on how I'm feeling.

  2. I have got to read Ilona Andrew's books! I've only read The Edge.
    Yea - I like a little "grrr" with my romance in vamp books :-)

  3. id like a book that shows vampires being real vampires (like the modern day ones) not repeled by garlic, the sun, they can be killed by any means just like a human, the sun dosnt kill them (or make them sparkle!) they need blood but not a whole person-full.

    but that would make quite a boring book eh? hahaha.

  4. I can't even /remember/ the last book where garlic worked on vampires (they'd have to avoid Italy entirely!) And I get tired of authors even explaining that it doesn't--I assume from the get-go that nothing 'traditional' except maybe the sun or stakes will hurt vamps.

    You sooo need to read Ilona, Karen. Grittiness, right there! And funny.

  5. The garlic thing reminds me of my favorite line in WICKED GAME by Jeri Smith-Ready. Ciara tries to throw garlic salt at Shane to repel him and he tells her "I'm a vampire, not a slug"

    For me it depends on the writing for how much I will accept as far as the vampire myth goes. I can stray pretty far if I like the characters anyway but hate the same thing in another book that isn't written as well.

    And YES! I will add Ilona to the pile :-)) Promise

  6. LoL, I remember that part from Wicked Game, it cracked me up (",).

    Yeah, I think that's the same for me, I don't mind whether the vamps are allergic to garlic, or can walk about in daylight, or even - god forbid - sparkle *gasp*, as long as the story is WELL-WRITTEN. I'll accept pretty much anything, then. The problem is when authors stick to the "traditional" vampires (which are what, exactly, seeing as it's all fiction ANYWAY :o) just because they feel they have to, or change stuff up to extremes, only because they're *trying* to be original, but can't pull a decent story off either way, so it's bad bad bad and comes off as a mechanical decision to be *true to* or *so different from* what people are used to, but just FAILS.