Who came first, sinfully sexy Jean-Claude from Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, or Lestat, Anne Rice’s dark and dangerous vampire from her Vampire Chronicles?
On the eve of the release of the 25th Anita Blake book, I had to look to see which one released first, Guilty Pleasures (Hamilton) or Interview with the Vampire (Rice). I thought I had read them both soon after their release and have given them joint credit for my love of All Things Vampire, but couldn’t remember which came first. Do you?
Lestat, by a landslide. Interview with the Vampire came out in 1976–OMG 40 years ago–while Guilty Pleasures didn’t appear until 1993. So my memory failed me. I didn’t read Lestat in 1976–not by a long shot. I think I read The Vampire Lestat (before Interview, in fact) in the mid-1990s while living in New Orleans less than a half-mile from Anne Rice herself. I read the first Anita Blake book about the same time, not long after book three, Circus of the Damned, came out. My friend Meg loaned the then-three Anita Blake books and I inhaled them. “Urban fantasy” hadn’t even been “invented” yet–a feat for which Ms. Hamilton takes credit and, in the modern sense of urban fantasy, she has a valid argument. Although Tanya Huff, whose first Blood Book came out in 1991, can also lay claim to the title.
Anne Rice? Maybe. I’m not sure the Vampire Chronicles novels really fit the notion of what we currently think of as urban fantasy, being somewhat literary, somewhat horror. They’re definitely the precursor to modern UF.
So, say what you will about the twists and turns and sexcapades Anita has enjoyed over the past 23 years, she was a groundbreaker. She wasn’t always likeable, she wasn’t always a sympathetic heroine, but she had hella good taste in vampires.
What was the first vampire book you remember reading? Are you sick to death of vampires, or do they still make your blood run hot? Heh.