Top 5 Wednesday – Books Featuring Werewolves & Vampires

This week’s topic is books featuring any paranormal creatures of our choice, so I went with werewolves and vampires.

But it’s less “Five Books with Werewolves and Vamps” and more “Four Werewolf Books Plus One Vamp Book Because I Couldn’t Remember Any More Good Werewolf Books.”

I’ve read quite a number of werewolf/vampire stories over the years and most of them just sort of blend together after a while. These five books are ones that–pun wholly intended–stand out from the pack.

 

1. Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

mongrels.jpg

Mongrels offers the most realistically harsh portrayal of werewolves I’ve ever read. Jones strips away all the romanticism of shifters in pop culture and imagines what the life of a werewolf in 21st-century America would really be like. The result isn’t pretty.

Not the lightest read, but a compelling one with surprising amounts of humour and heart.

 

2. Wolfsong (Green Creek 1) by T.J. Klune

wolfsong.jpg

My favourite werewolf stories are ones that focus on the idea of family (or “pack”), and Wolfsong does exactly that. It’s as much a romance as it’s a family drama, and I’d actually say that the former takes a backseat to everything else.

It also takes the notion that “alpha” means being the meanest, most badass wolf in town, balls it up, and chucks it out the window. Here, “alpha” means “nurturing.” It means “protector.”

And I can’t tell you how much I love that.

Wolfsong is a book I can’t help but return to again and again because, like This is Us, it’s a story that makes you feel warm and safe and like you belong to something greater than yourself.

 

3. The Silvered by Tanya Huff

the silvered.jpg

This book pushes all the right buttons for me:

1) A practical, bookish female protagonist who knows more about accounting than fighting.

2) A steampunk setting (plus an airship on the cover! <3)

3) Werewolves that manage to be both realistic–well, as realistic as werewolves can be in a high fantasy story–and sexy.

This is such an underrated book and I need more people to read it!

 

4. The Wolf’s Hour by Rober McCammon

wolf's hour.jpg

First of all, please, please ignore the god-awful cover.

Second of all, I’m convinced that Robert McCammon is a chameleon; there’s just no genre he can’t write in. Post-apocalyptic horror? Check. Historical mystery? Yup. A coming-of-age tale with bits of magical realism? You got it. And with The Wolf’s Hour we get a paranormal historical fiction featuring a werewolf Secret Service agent going up against Nazis.

And yes, it’s as awesome and thrilling as it sounds.

 

5. The Brothers Cabal (Johannes Cabal 3) by Jonathan L. Howard

brothers cabal.jpg

Now, werecreatures do make an appearance in this book–including one hilarious-looking werebadger–but I’m sticking it under the “blood sucker” column because one of its main characters happens to be a vampire. A really sweet, affable vampire who’s rather ashamed of his vampire nature–the blood-sucking bit, anyway, not the super speed or any of the other cool abilities.

Horst Cabal had the misfortune getting turned when his younger brother Johannes abandoned him in a crypt a decade before. Despite all his trials, though, his disposition remains sunny and you could easily plop him in a coffee shop romance as the leading love interest and not notice anything strange.

I love this series and I especially love this book. It’s a perfect mix of humour, action, and heart-tugging sibling relationships.

flourish

 

What are some of your favourite werewolf/vampire books?

36 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday – Books Featuring Werewolves & Vampires

  1. Tammy says:

    Mongrels is a book I’ve been eyeing for a while, and you’ve reminded me that I need to read it one of these days. And big yes to Robert McCammon, he is one of my favorite, underrated authors!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sjhigbee says:

    The only one I know is The Silvered by Tanya Huff – one of my favourite authors – and I loved that one, but Mongrels has certainly caught my eye! Thank you for a fascinating list, Kathy.

    Like

  3. A Storm Of Pages says:

    Nice list! I used to read a lot more ‘creature’ fiction when I was younger, but most these days seemed to be full of all the tropes they can manage. Now it seems I have some new ones which will hopefully restore my faith in them. I hadn’t heard of any of these yet, so great recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A Storm Of Pages says:

    Also! The synopsis of The Brothers Cabal on GoodReads just kills me. The little author note! “The author wishes to point out that there are no zebras this time, so don’t get your hopes up on that count. There is, however, a werebadger, if that’s something that’s been missing from your life.” Just… I can’t even. I saw it was down as a #4 in a series though – do I need to read the previous ones you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky says:

      Oh boy oh boy, if you liked that note then you’ll LOVE the books. His humour is just so dry and tongue-in-cheek–it’s amazing. One of my favourite quotes (from book 3):
      “Cats, as any rational person knows, are solitary, opportunistic, ambush predators, much like spiders, but with fewer legs and a better fan club.”

      And I don’t think you absolutely *need* to read the previous books, but I highly recommend it! Johannes goes through some interesting character development from #1 to #4, and there are a few plot points from the previous books that get brought up.

      Oh and Horst plays a big role in Book 1 too!

      Like

  5. siavahdainthemoon says:

    I ADORE Silvered! I can hardly ever find someone else who’s read it too!

    One of my werewolf faves is Donna Boyd’s The Passion – although it’s been a few years since I read it; I wonder how I’d like all the purple prose now. It very much made me consider Boyd the Anne Rice of werewolves. (Yes, I am completely ignoring Rice’s own werewolves. Just. No thank you.)

    I also really love Rhiannon Held’s Silver series – the author is an anthropologist and put those skills to EXCELLENT use crafting her werewolves! Those are probably my current favourite werewolf books.

    But The Summoning by Carol Wolf is a fave too. Even though, for having a werewolf main character, it doesn’t actually focus on the werewolf side of things very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky says:

      GAHH SIA what are you doing to my TBR pile??! I’ll need to add all of these!!

      One of the recent werewolf books I read was also super light on the werewolf side, and I actually quite liked that, so I’ll definitely give The Summoning a go.

      And a werewolf series written by an anthropologist?? YES PLEASE

      Like

  6. Rylee says:

    I confess, I haven’t read any of those. I can’t recall reading any werewolf novels, but I’ve read several vampire ones. Dracula is probably at the top of my list, though I never would’ve read it if it weren’t required. I really liked Sunshine by Robin McKinley, which has a witch and a vampire, and is a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Seems like it has a lot going on, but it works!

    Your werewolf choices sound interesting! Sounds like I’m missing out. Silvered in particular sounds perfect for me. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nicole Evans says:

    The Silvered sounds so intriguing, I don’t want to forget about it (because, yes please steampunk), but I can’t find it on Goodreads anywhere. :/ Also, I dunno how much you like smutty romance, but Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series has such a wonderful take on vampires and werewolves that I couldn’t get enough of!

    Like

  8. Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

    I love werewolves but find it difficult to find any books about them whereas in movies they are much more common. I love the sound of some of these and I too like the idea of a steampunk accountant!

    You are also be the best person for me to ask your opinions on werewolves and the lack of female werewolves in fiction because they aren’t considered a ‘feminine’ creature but a ‘masculine’ one. I don’t know why but I’m like, ‘Kathy will totally have views!’

    Like

    • Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky says:

      Ahahaha omg, I love that you thought of me! No idea what that says about me, though. Probably that I ramble way too much about these topics? 😛 I never actually thought about the lack of female werewolves until you mentioned it, and I’ve been scouring my memory for all the werewolf books I’ve read, and I realized that like…90% of them feature male werewolves. Which is so weird! I guess we equate “big, hairy, and sharp teeth” with “male”? Or people don’t think women don’t look as “sexy” when they’re morphing into wolves–just when they’re having sex with them? 😛

      And jumping from that point, it’s interesting how we never see male human MCs in paranormal books. It’s always the female MC who gets dragged into the werewolf/vampire/weird creature world and inevitability falls in love with one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

        Sorry it’s taken me ages to reply – I was galivanting and now I’m doing the slow reintroduction to all the stuff I’ve missed/ am behind on!!

        Oh you don’t ramble at all! You’re like me – you have opinions you’ll express on a wide range of topics! 😛

        I think I’m on the same lines as you – vampires have some kind of elegant, aristocratic allure (usually) and if those vampires are present then there will be female vampires. If the vampires are considerable more ‘horrific’ and bat/ monstrous then usually you won’t see a female one. I think it’s because of the same stuff behind werewolf thinking – ‘we’ want our female characters that are supernatural to be gothic and feminine and sexy. It’s not so alluring if they’re tearing off chunks of people’s bodies or growing an abundance of hair and muscle!

        You’re right about the male human MC thing too but I always figured that was because it’s primarily female’s that read paranormal books (especially paranormal romance) and so they can view themselves more easily as the main character. It’s a sort of self-insert fantasy!

        Like

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