I’m not ashamed to admit jumping on the vampire bandwagon. I read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer and stay up to date on the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Even though I enjoy the stories in each series I noticed a drastic difference in the qualities attributed to the vampires. Let’s set aside the fact that Harris writes for more mature audiences. I want to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the vampires.
When writing about supernatural creatures authors have to make a decision. Will they keep to conventional rules or will they create their own? Meyer chooses to wipe the slate almost clean and rebuild what people know about vampires. She doesn’t follow previous conventions about turning to dust in the sunlight or being invisible in pictures. At first this bothered me when I read her series, but I became swept up in the story. My mood changed when reading Harris’ series because her vampires are more conventional. They are not around at all in the daylight hours. They have multiple weaknesses.
I read the two series back to back and I will admit not liking the Sookie books at first. After coming off my Twilight high with indestructible vampires who are around to protect you all the time, Harris seemed disappointing. It took almost a year for me to return to Sookie, but once I did the series was consumed within ten days.
What was the draw? Besides being well-written, Harris creates life-threatening situations that occur during the daytime. This poses a problem since the vampires, mainly Eric, will be sleeping—leaving Sookie to fend for herself or receive help from other supernatural characters who are not limited by daylight.
At least for me, it was exciting to see how Sookie was going to save herself. She couldn’t rely on Eric or Bill to always be around, even though it does seem like Bill is always lurking. Obviously both series are fantasy, but Harris’ take is more realistic, if that word can even be applied in fantasy fiction. She recognizes that sometimes Sookie not only needs to solve her own problems, but she can also help the vampires in dangerous situations.
The Twilight series portrays humans as fragile, worthless creatures. Bella is a prime example. Humanity wasn’t attractive when the Cullen family was the alternative.
I love both series and enjoy the characters. However, I choose Eric over Edward. There is more humanity in limitations and weaknesses. It’s comforting, and still leaves the outcome to be unpredictable.
(There will probably be more on this topic later. I must admit, it fascinates me.)