There is a battle brewing on the airwaves and it isn’t between wrestlers in the WWF or part of a new reality show. The last few years has seen a growing supremacy of anything that smacks of the supernatural. They call it paranormal these days, and it can be anything from witches on TV to a strange creature in the case files of the X-Files to a bunch of high school kids who seem to have the power to make things disappear and more. And it all began really with a couple of books, books about witches and vampires and not a television show at all.
Vampire Books and Southern Culture
Long before the arrival of Sookie and company in True Blood, another set of vampire books arrived on the scene set in the Deep South. Although superseded by Marilyn Ross’s Barnabus Collins as a modern interpretation of the sympathetic vampire, Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, the first of her Vampire Chronicles series of vampire books, was the real beginning of the current wave of supernatural beings that walk amongst us. When it came out the reaction was anything from pure love of this new storytelling to outrage. It was dark; it was sensuous and just reading them felt dangerous. You couldn’t ignore the books, their impact was too big. For many of us the biggest disappointment was when you came up for air and realized that Lestat and company weren’t real and you would just have to live in a world without the undead until the next installment of the series of popular vampire books came out.
That particular series went on to spawn a whole genre of popular vampire books. Of course, most of us are familiar with The Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris, but there are plenty of other stories that play in the vampire books playground. Another one of the popular vampire books in that genre that also went on to be a hit on TV is Stephanie Meyers Twilight series. It has more vampires, more undead and lots of teenage girls getting into trouble with the undead. Seems to be a pattern here. But vampires weren’t the only thing happening in the land of books when it comes to supernatural stories. There were more than a few books about witches. Witches have their following too.
Books About Witches Thrive Also
But even with these, popular vampire books are not alone. There have long been books whose main characters were witches; it has always been a popular field to play in for many fantasy writers. I remember reading Andre Norton’s books about witches called the WitchWorld series when I was a teenager, it has stayed with me ever since. If you haven’t read it, you should check it out because it has become a classic of the genre. But books about witches have been in and out of fashion for years, and the definition of witches in fantasy writing has moved around over time.
Just this past year we have seen a resurrection in books about witches starting with the immensely popular book by Deborah Harkness called A Discovery of Witches. More than a dramatic mystery and certainly far from your run of the mill fantasy, this is the story of a witch who wants to walk away from the world of magic, but somehow cannot. It is delightful, imaginative and completely compelling.
Witches of East End is a witch story of a different sort. Author Melissa De La Cruz calls it a witch story for adults. A story with murders, mystery and plenty of magical spells, it will fascinate readers of all ages for the wonderful women characters who happen to have some very special talents.
And for books about witches let’s not leave out Smith’s The Secret Circle, which is responsible for the show of the same name. The book took the genre by storm and it was no real surprise when this cadre of teenage witches who are seeking to recreate the powerful circle that once almost destroyed their families was rumored last year to be in development for TV. Vampires were doing well, fantasy had never been stronger and television had finally developed the technology to have witches do more impressive things then wiggle their noses. Witches on TV returns and the season of the witch had come at last.