Until Twilight came along
I thought this book was the worst vampire series ever written.
(Boy, was I mistaken!)
Almost two decades after writing The Hunger, Whitley Strieber decided not to write one but two sequels. Whitley Strieber is very obsessed with aliens and once told The Scifi Channel's (now Syfy) Sightings that he would not write anymore books unless the aliens came back (he's claimed to have seen them). I guess they must have come back...
Whitley Strieber's first vampire novel, The Hunger tells the story of Miriam Blaylock and her fledgling, John. Miriam has not quite perfected the process of making new vampires so after a few centuries her vampire fledglings begin to wither and grow old. They become too weak to move and are constantly starving for blood.
Now she can easily destroy these poor creatures by tossing their bodies into a furnace and then scatter the ashes but she 'loves them too much' so instead she locks them in coffins that she keeps in storage where they suffer for all time. Isn't she sweet?
I felt no sympathy for Miriam. I felt more sympathy for her lover, John, whom had no idea this would happen to him until it was too late. This novel was adapted into the film The Hunger starring David Bowie as John Blaylock, by the way. The film had a happier ending with the withered lovers getting their revenge on Miriam.
Miriam takes on a new lover once she's done with John. (So loving, right?) She takes on Sarah Roberts (played by Susan Surrandon in the movie, whom on the DVD commentary actually claims she had no idea she was playing a Lesbian vampire!).
These vampires can go out in the sun but they don't sparkle. Dr. Sarah Roberts is an expert in the science of aging so Miriam hopes Sarah can stop the eventual decay of her lovers. John, whom wasn't quite as weak as Miriam thought, escapes his coffin and tries to raise the other withered lovers to take revenge (this succeeds in the film but fails in the novel). Sarah Roberts attempts to destroy herself. The end. (Film is better.).
Now we get to the sequel written almost two decades later: The Last Vampire.
There are plenty of vampire novels with this title so Strieber gets no points for originality here.
The plot is this. Sarah Roberts survived her suicide attempt but her mind is all but gone. She's pretty much like Renfield. Miriam wants a new lover to replace her. (Isn't she so sweet). She's got a S and M night club in New York City now, by the way.
Meanwhile there's this vampire hunter named Paul something-or-other (I forget his last name) who works with a team of vampire hunters. Turns out Paul's team have taken a page out of Hannibal Lector's book on how to be a sick sadist. They don't just kill the vampires they capture. They have been skinning them and using their skin to make purses, wallets and gloves. Because 'it's softer than calf skin.' So they use the vampire skin like a trophy. This disgusts Paul so he takes away their vampire-skin toys and destroy them.
Paul is such a nice guy that he considers the poor guy whose fruit cart gets knocked over during chase scenes and how his livelihood gets ruined.
Strieber tries to be hip by mentioning The Internet movie data base when the characters argue over if there's a film called Brides of Dracula. In the novel they confirm there isn't via The Internet movie data base. Actually there IS such a film, it was Italian. This novel was written before IMDB had foreign titles.
Now Paul ends up in Miriam's S and M club while trying to hunt for her and she seduces him. MANY pages of pointless sex follow. Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex... There's a plot here somewhere. Oh, and more sex.
Somehow Miriam is now pregnant with the vampire hunter's baby. It turns out her kind of vampire can get pregnant four times in all eternity and SURPRISE! She's preggerz. (Yes, I spelt it that way on purpose). She's on her fourth and final egg and the vampire hunter happened to win the supernatural jackpot.
Stuff happens that makes no sense at all and then Sarah Roberts blows herself up. John Blaylock makes a small cameo appearance as a withered corpse-like creature still suffering in his coffin in the collection of Miriam's exs but they might have exploded when Dr. Sarah Roberts blows herself up.
I couldn't bring myself to read the third in this series, Lilith's Dream, especially when someone told me it ends with an alien woman waking up on a distant plant. It turns out the ENTIRE vampire book series was all the dream of an alien sleeping on another planet...
This almost ruins the original The Hunger for me. I sort of liked The Hunger though I preferred the film and thought Miriam was unsympathetic and unrelatable. The character I most sympathized with was John Blaylock, David Bowie's character in the movie.
Until Twilight came along I thought this was the worst vampire series ever. Someone told me Sony has the rights to make The Last Vampire movie. I'm not sure how they'll do that since The Hunger film ended differently from the book. I sincerely hope The Last Vampire movie never gets made.