The usual suspects put out solid work – Chelsea Quinn Yarbro published her 22nd Saint-Germain novel, J.R. Ward continued her erotic Black Dagger Brotherhood saga, and Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan released the concluding volume of their Strain trilogy – but 2011 was all about the debuts. Rowe’s Enter, Night was a “vampire novel for the ages” set in a small town in northern Ontario in 1972 and powered by a darkly lyrical – and decidedly creepy – narrative. I just loved Rowe’s writing style. Here’s an example from his debut:

 

 

And A Discovery of Witches, the debut novel from Deborah Harkness, was heralded as “a fairy tale for grown-ups” and brought millions of vampire fiction newbies over to the dark side.

 

Interestingly enough, I found some of the most innovative vampire fiction this year in self-published releases. Mel Nicolai’s The Shake was an addictively readable fusion of mystery and horror with a deeply philosophical undertone. K.R. Morrison’s debut novel Be Not Afraid was a deeply flawed but fascinatingly allegorical look at bloodsuckers, a blend of dark fantasy and faith-based supernatural suspense that I described as “Christian horror;” and Arshad Ahsanuddin’s Pact Arcanum saga (Sunset, Sunrise, et. al.) was also a far from perfect read but the ambitious, grand-scale, science fiction backdrop and labyrinthinely plotted storyline was impressive, to say the least.

 

Prediction: while 2011 was an off year collectively for vampire fiction aficionados, 2012 should be a year for “Big” releases. The sequel to Justin Cronin’s The Passage, tentatively titled The Twelve, is rumored to be released sometime in 2012 as is the concluding volume of Clay and Susan Griffith’s Vampire Empire trilogy. If this is correct, those two books alone should make 2012 a banner year for bloodsuckers.

 

So, without further ado, here are my best vampire fiction releases of 2011…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 

 

 Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!

Comments
by kimba88 on ‎12-15-2011 08:48 PM

Great list Paul...besides the Twelve (which i am totally stoked about) and the Vampire Empire Trilogy, the 2nd book in the Discovery of Witches trilogy All Souls..Shadow of the Night should roll out in July.

by LordRuthven on ‎12-15-2011 09:12 PM

Always good to see Yarbro get some press. I might pick up "Enter, Night" at some point; I was just looking at it yesterday.

by Chomp on ‎12-15-2011 09:50 PM

As always, Paul, there are titlres on here I need to check out. Thanks. :smileyhappy:

 

Carol

by Katya_Sozaeva on ‎12-15-2011 10:30 PM

I'm glad you got one of the Pact Arcanum up there, anyway - I LOVED LOVED LOVED that series and am excitedly awaiting the 4th novel coming out next year.  "Enter Night" was a super read - VERY creepy, I enjoyed it a great deal!  In fact, I've read several on your list and have several more I've not yet had the chance to read ... :-)

by on ‎12-15-2011 11:17 PM

Thanks for the list Paul. I loved The Shake and recommend it to all vampire fiction fans looking for a unique and entrancing read. I couldn't resist buying Enter, Night  after I read your blog review of that book, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I also put off buying Queen of Kings: A Novel of Cleopatra, the Vampire out of sheer laziness. I'll have to remedy that oversight in the near future.

by Lizzy_Funk on ‎12-16-2011 08:24 AM

Hmmm I am down on this list of reading... I only read 10 and 12.  10 because of all the acclaim (and you and I talked about my feelings on that book) and 12 because I am a huge Ward fan.  

I haven't read any of the others but I keep making notes as your lists come out Paul.  Thanks for adding to the pile. I might get to them before classes start again especially if someone told Santa I want a nook color (fingers crossed).

 

~Double H 

by LillianF on ‎12-16-2011 04:46 PM

I absolutely hated A Discovery of Witches!  As the heroine gained power, or her powers finally came forth, the hero lost any strength he had.  She was too perfect, loved by all, even begrudingly by those who disliked her at first.  I had no idea it was the first book of a series, so I was totally upset at the ending.  Sorry, can't agree with this choice one bit.  Then again, I think I'm one of the few people who hates Outlander!

by Lizzy_Funk on ‎12-29-2011 11:46 AM

LillianF - I agree with your entire posting.  I hated that book (ask Paul I could have vomitted in my cheerios over it when I read it) and I am not a fan of Outlander either.