In a recent review I posted for a vampire book, I asked you all if you like otherworldly portrayals of vampires, vs. more human portrayals, and it seemed like a topic people have thoughts on. Well, I have thoughts on it too! And since one can never have too many posts about vampires, I figured it would make a good discussion.
Arguments for a Human Portrayal
I, for one, appreciate human portrayals of vampires, especially ones who were just recently turned.
A lot of supernatural creatures—like faeries, demons, djinn, merfolk, and dragons, to name a few—were never human. It makes complete sense that they would be different from humans. Different morals. Different values. Different ways of experiencing the world. Different mindsets.
Vampires, on the other hand, were human once. So for them, it makes sense that they’d still have human values and outlooks. Think about it, if you were turned into a vampire right now, would you immediately be like, “Hell yeah, let’s go murder some people and drink some blood! I hope they struggle because that’ll make it even more fun!” No, of course not. At least, I hope not. And even if you did enjoy it in the moment because of some new primal instinct, wouldn’t you feel guilty about it afterward? You might be a creature that needs human blood to survive, but you’d still balk at the thought of killing someone or even taking blood from them without their consent. Because you’ve spent your entire life up to this point as a human yourself.
Arguments for an Inhuman Portrayal
On the other hand, I also appreciate otherworldly, inhuman portrayals of vampires.
Since vampirism is rooted in magic, it stands to reason that the turn might not only change the person physically but mentally as well. It could in fact alter their perception of the world, their morals, their personality traits, their priorities, etc. It could make them possessive and bloodthirsty. It could make them enjoy the kill. It could make them cold and callous. It could make them become complete mindless, raging monsters. When magic is involved, almost anything is within the realm of possibility.
Also, it makes sense that vampires who’ve been around for a long time would be affected simply by their age and immortality, even if the turn itself didn’t change them. If you were to live for hundreds or thousands of years while everyone around you kept dying, if you were see generations go by while you were always on the outside looking in, it very well might cause you to drift away from your own humanity, to think and feel and view the world differently.
And the Winner is…
Neither! Because this wasn’t a competition, and I like both portrayals :-) They both have their merits, they both make sense, and they both can be great when they’re written well!
Now for Some Recommendations
I have a post coming up next week with M/M vampire book recs, and I’ve previously shared lesser-known vampire book recs, so I’ll just choose a couple to highlight here.
If you like human-esque portrayals of vampires, check out the Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle trilogy by Amy Fecteau [Am | GR | Review] and the Thieves series by Lexi Blake [Am | GR | Review]. The first is a funny yet dark and intense M/M series about a newly-turned vampire. The second doesn’t have a vampire POV but is a hilarious and emotional series about a human and her vampire love taking on the Vampire Council.
If you like otherworldly vampires, check out The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice [Am | GR | Review] and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black [Am | GR]. Anne Rice’s vampires are the epitome of strange and otherworldly. Coldest Girl is about a world with walled-off vampire cities and has a vampire love interest who is quite unique.