It’s no secret that vampire novels are incredibly popular. They have been popular for many years, but they really gained popularity about 20 years ago with the publishing of the Twilight Saga. Though these novels definitely have their merits, there are many readers who want to see more darkness from a vampire novel and less romance.
That’s where dark vampire fantasy comes into play. The novels in this genre contain vampire lore, magic, horror, and the occasional romance. If this genre sounds interesting to you, keep reading to find out more about it.
Vampire fantasy is a pretty simple genre to make sense of. If a novel contains a vampire as a main character in the story, it is a vampire fantasy. This can be qualified, however, as genres often are. There are so many vampire fantasy novels out there that we need a little bit more of a breakdown for the genre.
Depending on what else the novel contains, a vampire fantasy could be urban, romance, medieval, or many other genres. Vampire fantasy is pretty broad, so it is helpful to acknowledge the other genres that these novels fit into as well.
Though our first thought about a vampire fantasy may be one of cheesy teenage romance, there are hundreds of other vampire novels out there that are darker or dig deeper into the lore of vampires. And if vampire romance is something that interests you, there is plenty of that as well.
The dark fantasy genre is another fairly straightforward to understand. A novel is dark fantasy if it contains elements of a traditional fantasy novel alongside elements of fear and horror. It can be hard to differentiate between dark fantasy and horror, as they tend to be quite similar. Think of it this way: a horror novel might be about a person who kidnaps children, but a dark fantasy is about a person (who also happens to be a vampire) kidnapping children.
Dark fantasies rely on elements of magic or, more commonly, the supernatural to progress the story. It does not matter what elements of magic or supernatural are in the novel. It is important that they simply exist. Magic may or may not be at the forefront of dark fantasy, but it does exist in some way or another.
The main element to look for in dark fantasy is a sense of fear. If the author is trying to scare their readers, it’s likely that the novel is a dark fantasy. Stephen King is a great example of a dark fantasy author. His novels are often considered horror, but many of them also have elements of the supernatural, making them dark fantasy.
Dark fantasy novels often have a gloomy and dark tone about them as well. There are often unhappy endings and very few, if any, moments of hope and joy. These are not novels to pick up if you need something to brighten your day. Dark fantasy novels will not leave you feeling hopeful and happy.
Dark Vampire Fantasy
If you have an understanding of dark fantasy and vampire genres, then it is pretty simple to understand what a dark vampire fantasy novel is. A dark vampire fantasy is a genre in which vampires play a key element to the story existing alongside elements of horror and fear to make for a gripping and depressing genre. Of course, there can also be other supernatural beings in a dark vampire fantasy, but this is not a requirement.
Dark vampire fantasy will not leave the reader feeling uplifted. There is often nothing joyful or hopeful in these novels. There is very little romance, though it can exist, and there is a lot of fear. The worlds in which these novels take place are typically dark and gloomy, and unhappy endings are common.
Examples of Dark Vampire Fantasy
Dark vampire fantasy, as stated above, is not a happy genre, but it is definitely a popular one. There are several novels that fit into this genre, and many of them are quite different from the next. Each of the novels or series below portrays vampires in a different way and each has a unique and captivating storyline. If dark vampire fantasy is something that interests you, take a look at the examples below.
The Necroscope series is a series of 1980’s novels by Brian Lumley. This series has everything you are looking for in a dark vampire fantasy. The main character, Harry, is a necroscope, meaning he has the ability to speak with the dead. Throughout the series, he uses this skill to his advantage and learns new things from the dead he befriends.
The main conflict of this series is the battle to rid the human world of vampires. These vampires come from a parallel universe. They enter the human world through different portals and they wreak havoc on the humans they encounter.
There are so many elements of fantasy within this novel that it can appeal to just about any fantasy reader. Not only are there evil vampires, there is also time travel, supernatural beings, and so on. Speaking with the dead is only one of the many talents that Harry possesses, and the reader will get to experience them all throughout this series.
Some classify this series as a horror series. While there are definitely elements of horror throughout, there are far greater elements of fantasy and the supernatural, making it a great example of dark vampire fantasy.
Knights of Dark Renown
Knights of Dark Renown is a 1989 novel by David Gemmell. Though this novel is technically the first in a series, it can be read as a standalone novel. It is the first in the Drenai Saga. This novel has many classic elements of dark fantasy, and it takes place in the middle Ages.
The main premise of this series begins after a battle in which the knights disappear through a demon and vampire haunted portal. Only one knight remains, but he soon learns that he must enter the portal himself to save the knights who went before him.
Throughout this novel, the reader meets many supernatural beings, including vampires. There are demons and other supernatural beings who seek to destroy humans. There are also many elements of a great fantasy novel throughout, including knights, epic quests, and kings and queens. Readers will find that this novel has just about everything they could want from a dark vampire fantasy.
The Blood of Roses
The Blood of Roses is a dark vampire fantasy novel by Tanith Lee. The premise of this novel is interesting and may become something readers continue thinking about for a long time.
This novel follows Mechail, a young man who was, presumably, bit by a vampire in his childhood. As he enters adulthood, his body is misshapen and deformed, and he is miserable. Eventually, someone puts him out of his misery and kills his human body. Mechail returns from beyond the grave to get revenge on those who did him wrong.
The Blood of Roses is the epitome of a dark vampire fantasy novel. This novel contains a lot of vampire lore, as well as mystery, horror, and many elements of a great fantasy.
Dark Vampire Fantasy: Conclusion
I hope this article has helped clarify what this genre is all about and given you some ideas of books to read in this subgenre.
And if you want to read more about unique fantasy subgenres on this blog, check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another fiction-literature-related topic!
I love a good (dark) vampire story!
Thanks for chiming in, Kim!
I do too!