I find it amazing how many different ways authors can put their own twist on the vampire stories. We have the ever favorite (and original) Dracula by Brams Stoker, of course, in which vampires are heartless killers, cannot go into sunlight, see themselves in mirrors and turn into bats. That’s just a few myths, of course, but that has pretty much set the tone for a lot of future novels which feature vampires.
I’m not sure who was the first to deviate from this tried and true scenario, but now we have as many interpretations as there are authors. I personally find them fascinating. We have Stephanie Meyers’ version in which her vampires can go out in sunlight, although they’re sparkly, usually drinks animal blood in keeping with thei “vegetarian-ish” lifestyle and aren’t the insatiable killers as portrayed by Stoker. We then have Jeanniene Frost’s interpretation in which the vampires use those old myths as a cover to disguise their race, although none of them are true. These vampires are able to go out in sunlight (although they may get a sunburn with extensive exposure), they can move at a high speed, older ones can fly and a few “masters” have special abilities such as telekinesis, able to start fires, or read minds. Their sense of smell and hearing are also ultra-sensitive.
I’m currently reading a new author that I recently discovered, Dianne Sylvan, whose vampires follow many of the Stoker myths in that they cannot see themselves in the mirror (which must be a bitch when applying makeup), will combust in daylight, and can be killed with a wooden stake … although decapitation apparently works just as well.
Now, I’m not fanatical about the original vampire myths and actually find it fascinating how these authors manage to make it work for them. I’m certainly not buying into all the variations … hell, more than one book has hit the wall when the author has failed to draw me into their world, but the different takes on the original stories certainly makes the books interesting. I think if every author stuck with the Stoker version, it would get downright boring.
What do you think? Are you fanatical about sticking with the original Dracula stories, or are you open to the countless personal versions currently out there? And if so, give me a few of your favorites.