I find it rather difficult to read modern vampire fiction, and I’m trying to work out why. I think it’s a reaction to how the author tries to humanise them.
In paranormal romance and urban / dark fantasy, there are so many clans of rich, handsome, powerful, possessive vampire men capable of taking any woman to multi-orgasmic heaven… which, I guess, is, well… Mmm. Okay, but apart from all the, ah, orgasms, why is this interesting? If blood drinking is reduced to an erotic pleasure, the essential curse of vampirism is corrupted.
Which is not to say it can’t or shouldn’t be erotic. I love Razor Blade Smile, despite its daftness. Lilith is a killer, with little compassion for her victims, and even when she chooses to embrace the erotic, the end is the same…
Urban fantasies where vampires are moral creatures but completely uninterested in human society, where humans are simply food and servants, bother me for the same reason. Once again, there is no moral tension in the act of feeding.
Where vampires live on blood from blood banks or on bottled substitutes, well, it may as well be hot chocolate. (Nutritious, tasty, addictive, arguably better than sex…)
For a character to be interesting as both a vampire and a moral creature, the psychological impact of feeding off humans needs to be clear.