smalltooSNORTYVILLE ... How-tos, Reviews, & Pop Culture Fun!

Copyright © Snortyville. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized copy of content without written permission is strictly prohibited

New: In the Box: Dungeon Twister Review, In the Box: Axis and Allies Miniatures Review, The Mist, Anita Blake Comics, Vampire Hunter Reader’s Guide, Ratatouille




Early Influences: vampire fiction by Barbara Hambly, Anne Rice, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.  Also the Joss Whedon television series “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”

Origin: Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series single-handedly established the vampire-hunter sub-genre in fantasy. Back in 1993 when she went to publish Guilty Pleasures (the first book in what would become her best-selling series), no publisher knew how to categorize it.

Horror would have been the obvious choice, except that Guilty Pleasures had a hard-boiled first-person narrative like a detective story.  Mystery publishers wouldn't touch it because of its supernatural elements, and neither would fantasy publishers because its vampires, which are traditionally assigned to the Horror genre.  Finally Guilty Pleasures was published in 1993 by Ace Books, which specializes in fantasy and science-fiction.

Genre-Blending: Vampire-Hunter Fantasy Fiction relies upon a blending of genres. Back in the early 1990s with Laurell K. Hamilton, such fiction blended horror and mystery. This continued with mystery-writer Charlaine Harris and her Southern Vampire Mysteries series. Since then, this type of fiction has incorporated elements of Urban Fantasy.  Vampire Fiction has always had a strong erotic element so it is no surprise that the new trend in Vampire-Hunter Fantasy Fiction is to blend the genres of Romance and Horror. Christine Feehan has had great success doing this with her forafewdemonsmoreDark series.

Fiction Elements: Usually Vampire-Hunter Fantasy Fiction is written in first-person with a "hard-boiled" attitude: the main character is unsentimental, cool, hip, cocky, and ironic, and sometimes very funny.  The "bad-ass" veneer is always present though some main characters are inwardly more vulnerable and insecure than others.

The main character is almost always a sexy twenty-something female.  Sometimes she is grim and hard-edged (e.g., Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake) and sometimes flustered and appealingly disorganized (Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan). She often has two love-interests:  the “boy next door” (e.g., Richard in the Anita Blake novels) and the “bad boy” (e.g., Jean-Claude in the Anita Blake novels) in the grand tradition of romance fiction. She usually has an eccentric profession (e.g., bounty-hunter, necromancer, cop) that drives the action.

thosewhowalkindarknessNote:  Jim Butcher seems to be the only one writing the “guy version” of this sub-genre in his entertaining Dresden Files series, starring Harry Dresden (a male wizard). John Ridley is another but he doesn’t fit the category as closely in that his novels center on mutations from the human species that have special powers; the Ridley novels (Those Who Walk in Darkness and What Fire Cannot Burn) have more of an "X-Men" science-fiction feel.

Supernaturals in the Human World: One interesting detail that varies from series to series is how the author explains the presence of Supernaturalsin the human world. Hamilton's Anita Blake series reads like alternate-history fantasy in that supernaturals such as vampires have always lived openly among us humans, and have enacted legislation to protect them from persecution in human society. 

In Kim Harrison's Hollows series, supernaturals lived in hiding amongst us humans until the Turn, an event in the recent past in which a virus carried by genetically-modified tomatoes wiped out much of the human race.  This evened out the populations of the different species enough so that the supernaturals felt safe revealing themselves.  Rachel Morgan, the main character, is a witch, which is a separate species that is similar in appearance to humans but with special powers.

In Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, the supernaturals are still living in hiding amongst us humans. Only a few humans such as Lieutenant Karrin Murphy have become aware of their presence.

The Books

Butcher, Jim. The Dresden Files series (see our Dresden Files Concordance).  In Chicago IL, thirty-something Harry Dresden is a human with magical powers who has an ad in the phone book and works openly as a wizard.  People usually scoff and think he's a fraud (the mailman makes fun of him in the first book Storm Front), but Lieutenant Karrin Murphy employs him as a consultant with the police department on strange cases.

He routinely encounters vampires of the Red Court, White Court, and Black Court; as well as werewolves, pixies, demons, and fae of the Celtic Sidhe variety. His allies include three Knights of the Cross whose swords contain metal from the original nails used to crucify Jesus.

whiteknight02The Dresden Files series:

  1. Storm Front (2000)
  2. Fool Moon (2001)
  3. Grave Peril (2001)
  4. Summer Knight (2002)
  5. Death Masks (2003)
  6. Blood Rites (2004)
  7. Dead Beat (2005)
  8. Proven Guilty (2006)
  9. White Night (2007)
  10. Small Favor (2008)
  • Feehan, Christine. The Dark series, also classified as Paranormal Romance.  The Carpathians are an ancient race of vampires who live undetected among humans, feeding upon them but not killing them.  Because no females have been born to the Carpathians in centuries, they are on the verge of extinction. 
  • darkpossessionThe Dark series:

    1. Dark Prince (1999)
    2. Dark Desire (1999)
    3. Dark Gold (2000)
    4. Dark Magic (2000)
    5. Dark Challenge (2000)
    6. Dark Fire (2001)
    7. Dark Dream, short story (2001)
    8. Dark Legend (2002)
    9. Dark Guardian (2002)
    10. Dark Symphony (2003)
    11. Dark Descent (2003)
    12. Dark Melody (2003)
    13. Dark Destiny (2004)
    14. Dark Hunger, short story (2004
    15. Dark Secret (2005)
    16. Dark Demon (2006)
    17. Dark Celebration (2006)
    18. Dark Possession (2007)

    obsidianbutterfly02Hamilton, Laurell K. The Anita Blake series.  In St. Louis MO, twenty-something Anita Blake has two jobs:  she's a consultant with the police department, and she works as a necromancer for a private firm that specializes in raising the dead (e.g., to solve crimes or clarify legal matters). In addition, she is the lover and "servant" of Jean-Claude, nightclub-owner and the master vampire of St. Louis. 

    If this weren't complicated enough, she is the former lover of werewolf Richard, and still serves as enforcer for his pack. She is also head of her own were-leopard pride and responsible for the group of submissive were-leopards who look to her for protection.  One of them includes Micah, another lover. 

    Anita was raised to be a Catholic, which conflicts with her innate necromancy talent.  She still worries about the state of her soul. She also mourns the diminishing nature of her humanity, which has been offset by her vampire-marks from Jean-Claude (kind of a psychic binding and conferring of powers) and the were-leopard infection in her blood.

    abvh_105The Anita Blake series:

    1. Guilty Pleasures (1993)
    2. The Laughing Corpse (1994)
    3. Circus of the Damned (1995)
    4. The Lunatic Cafe (1996)
    5. Bloody Bones (1996)
    6. The Killing Dance (1997)
    7. Burnt Offerings (1998)
    8. Blue Moon (1998) ISBN
    9. Obsidian Butterfly (2000)
    10. Narcissus in Chains (2001)
    11. Cerulean Sins (2003)
    12. Incubus Dreams (2004)
    13. Micah (2006)
    14. Danse Macabre (2006)
    15. The Harlequin (2007)

    alltogetherdead02Charlaine Harris.  The Southern Vampire Mysteries series.  Sookie Stackhouse is a human waitress in Louisiana who can read minds.  She solves mysteries and interacts with vampires among other supernaturals.

    The Southern Vampire Mysteries series:

    1. Dead Until Dark (2001)
    2. Living Dead in Dallas (2002)
    3. Club Dead (2003)
    4. Dead to the World (2004)
    5. Dead as a Doornail (2005)
    6. Definitely Dead (2006)
    7. All Together Dead (2007)

    Harrison, Kim.  The Hollows series. In Cincinnati OH, twenty-something Rachel Morgan is a nonhuman witch who works as a bounty-hunter and private investigator in her own private firm with her partners Jenks the pixie and Ivy the vampire.  Her business/residence is located in a former church and the sanctified ground keeps her safe from various demons who sometimes come looking for her. She has an addiction to danger, and deals with werewolves, vampires, demons, and elves among other supernatural creatures.

    deadwitchwalkingThe Hollows series:

    1. Dead Witch Walking (2004)
    2. The Good, The Bad, And The Undead (2005)
    3. Every Which Way But Dead (2005)
    4. A Fistful of Charms (2006)
    5. For a Few Demons More (2007)

    Related Links: