Top 5 Wednesday #21: Vampire and Scary Non-Horror Books

Yeahie!! 😀 It’s Top 5 Wednesday on a Thursday, which means life is very busy at the moment.

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and now managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group.

Since I didn’t do a post last week, though I really wanted to, I’ll start off this week’s post with last week’s topic:

Books with paranormal creatures

I’ve surprised myself. I now realize that I haven’t read many paranormal/supernatural novels. I jump around so much in the genres I read that I haven’t read much of any one genre. Fantasy is a recent exception because it’s since committing myself to blogging that I began to read more of it. Fantasy has always been a favorite but prior to blogging, I mostly reread my favorite novels instead of trying new ones. And though rereading is fun, it’s also a bit of a hindrance when blogging because it limits the variety of books I can recommend. Thus, my lists here will contain many books I’ve previously mentioned.

Anyway, for this topic I chose books that feature vampires. Starting with…

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

A paranormal novel about a quiet, telepathic waitress named Sookie Stackhouse who falls in love with a vampire.

I read this a couple years ago to compensate for my lack of HBO access to watch the TV show, which everyone was raving about. I thought the story was okay, but I wasn’t much impressed by it to continue with the series. I’ve forgotten much about how the vampires in this are described, but I think it was similar to the vampires in Twilight who are all beautiful and makes whoever is with them alluring and beautiful too… Something like that.

The is the movie poster. I prefer it to the book covers.
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

A YA paranormal novel set at a school for vampires and half-vampires, called dhampir. Our protagonist, Rose Hathaway, is a dhampir who assumes the duty of protecting her best friend, the princess Lissa Dragomir, a mortal vampire who has magical powers, from the strigoi, a set of powerful, immortal vampires.

I read this a while ago and quite liked it. I watched the movie first, which got me interested in the story. The book was okay, but I didn’t like Rose’s character much or the ending, so I haven’t returned to the series. I’m still debating whether or not I should. The mortal vampires in this book make me think of witches and wizards except they drink blood and the dhampirs strike me as regular people who know how to fight. Only the strigoi stood out as actual vampires, but I can’t recall much of how they looked.

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

This is King’s take on Dracula. Ben Mears returns to his childhood town to confront his fear of an old, creepy house and write about it but instead finds even more frightful things, or rather, beings, he must defeat.

I surprised myself by enjoying this one. The story is engrossing and a little unsettling but not too scary. As for the vampires, they are more similar to Bram Stoker’s Dracula than the vampires mentioned in the other books on this list.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

An alternative history, paranormal novel that casts Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter.

This was also a good read because the bits of facts included almost convinced me that Lincoln was indeed a vampire hunter. It’s not fast-paced, but it will keep one’s interest. The vampires here have blended easily into society. They aren’t alluring nor animalistic. They are somewhat similar to King’s vampires but some of the mythos surrounding vampires do not seem to apply to them.

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

It’s hard to tell if I love this book for its own merits or because I enjoyed the TV show, which aired on FX. It’s a vampire-apocalypse novel inspired by Dracula. Basically vampires try to take over the world, starting with New York City.

I enjoyed this story, though it has a very slow start. Unlike the vampires in the novels above, this story plays upon the parasitic nature of vampires and presents the transformation from human to vampire as a parasitic infection that takes over and alters the human biological system. I enjoyed this for the scientific bits included to make the story’s premise somewhat plausible. The vampires here are not appealing in any way because their transformation makes them animalistic and their visage horrifying.


This week’s topic:

Non-horror books that scare you

I could only think of 4. These books did not scare me much but were instead deeply unsettling.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

In this classic novel, our protagonist Marlowe ventures into the Congo to find the man he reveres, the enigmatic Kurtz, but is horrified by what he finds.

This is one of my favorite classics, mostly because it’s the first classic I read and was able to understand but it is a good read. The story isn’t horror, but it certainly is unsettling, especially the more we observe conditions in the Congo through Marlowe’s eyes and the closer we get Kurtz.

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky, illus. by Erwin Madrid

This is a middle-grade fantasy novel about brave little girl who tries to save her parents from their desires.

I really enjoyed this story. I call it fantasy but I guess it could be categorized as horror as well. It’s not scary, but it develops a sinister tone as the story progresses that made me a bit uneasy.

Sick by Christa Wojciechowski

A psychological thriller novella about a woman caring for her terminally ill husband.

This one made me so uneasy by its end. I just couldn’t believe the reveal at first and then the protagonist’s reaction to the reveal. I recommend the story, but I don’t think it’s for everyone and because it’s so short, I can’t say more for fear of giving the plot away.

Normal by Warren Ellis

A techno-thriller I read a couple months ago that’s set at a mental institution that serves futurists, scientists and social scientists who think professionally about the future, who have all been depressed by their job or deeply affected by it in other ways.

Normal is a novella and is quite humorous in some spots but it’s also unsettling when one thinks about the technological developments today and what they might become in the future and how they can affect the future. In that way, this book scared me.


That’s it for this post.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these novels.

6 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday #21: Vampire and Scary Non-Horror Books

  1. I actually got Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and am even more intrigued by it now. Oh, I too haven’t touched any paranormal novels when I think about it.. Might have to try it out.. Although I often see paranormal come with.. romance. Not sure I want to go into that territory!

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  2. Snap about finding Vampire Academy through the movie and I felt the same way about the book- it was okay, but I didn’t connect with Rose and wasn’t in love enough with it to continue. And Heart of Darkness is really unsettling. Great post!

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