Dracula in Love

Dracula in Love

By Karen Essex

Doubleday

ISBN: 978-0-385-52891-7

3 stars

I’ll be upfront, I read a few early reviews and wasn’t so sure this book was for me.  I decided that I still needed to give it a chance though.  After reading it, I decided that it wasn’t the book for me and I like vampire stories and have a very deep affection for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  This book followed the same epistolary style but was told from Mina Murray’s point of view.  Mina is a character that I happen to like from the original and that was the reason for my deciding to give it a go.

Mina Murray is teaching and happily waiting to become Mrs. Jonathan Harker and begin her married life.  Wanting to be prepared for their future together, Jonathan takes a short sojourn working for a foreign count to help their finances and further his career.  While Jonathan is away, Mina visits her friend Lucy Westenra and becomes involved in her friend’s love affairs.  She also starts having odd dreams and feelings that she can’t share with anyone.  When she gets a letter telling her that Jonathan is gravely ill, she rushes to his side to nurse him back to health.  In the coming weeks, Mina’s strange dreams start to become her reality, her husband confesses an affair, her friend dies, and somehow she ends up in an insane asylum.  It is then that her dream lover comes to her rescue.

Several of the reviews I read noted the amount of sex; some found it too much, others didn’t seem to think anything of it.  The story takes place in Victorian England so sex, while deeply thought about, wasn’t much talked about, and yes, that is a big part of the story here as it was in the original as well.  The sex, amount of or lack of depending on how feel about these things, didn’t bother me but the silly references about it were annoying and slightly cumbersome in places.

While most of the same characters appear (Dr. Seward, Arthur Holmwood, Jonathan Harker, Dr.Van Helsing, Lucy Westenra) they have been changed slightly and some have become so maddening that I wanted to slap a few — Seward in particular who seemed to diagnose each and every woman he met with some sex related disease of the mind.  What I found annoying about this was that I felt I was once again being reminded about the Victorian sex mindset and I didn’t need that.

The last 100 pages of this book were much better than the 267 preceding pages.  And though I won’t mention it here, Mina’s character is given a new, life shall we say, that adds an interesting, if somewhat strange twist, to the story.  It didn’t work for me, but as long as you’re not a purist, it probably won’t provide the “really?” moment for you as it did for me.

If you’re looking for a vampire/Dracula story with a little different take, this one might be for you.  I found it a bit sluggish but a relatively fast read for a weekend.

This book was sent to me by the publisher for review.

Advertisements

Covenant With The Vampire: The Diaries of the Family Dracul

Covenant With The Vampire: The Diaries of the Family Dracul

Covenant With The Vampire: The Diaries of the Family Dracul

By Jeanne Kalogridis

Delacourt Press

ISBN: 0-385-31313-6

3.75 stars

Arkady Tsepesh is returning home to Romania with his pregnant wife, Mary, for the burial of his father. Having lived in London for many years, he is both excited and saddened by the trip. On one hand, he wants to share his life with Mary and introduce her to his sister and uncle, and on the other, he is heartbroken over the loss of his father whom he has not seen for many years.

Mary takes an immediate liking to Arkady’s sister, Zsuzsanna, who is sickly and crippled but a very kind soul. When Zsuzsanna becomes increasingly ill, Mary worries for her. When she finds out the cause of her sickness, she is disturbed in ways she never imagined. Worried for her husband, and with grave doubts about a member of his family, Mary finds her marriage strained. With the pending delivery of their child, she also fears for their lives. Arkady spends much time in denial, until the final moments when he comes face to face with the reality that is his family and what is to become of his life.

Told through diary entries as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, you get to experience the emotions of several characters at once and see the story told from different points of view. While I don’t think that anything new is added to the telling her, it is an interesting take on the Dracul family dynamics. The diary entries are interesting for their revelations but they feel very familiar. I don’t consider that bad, but if you’ve read any number of vampire books with the original Dracula character, I think in many ways they all begin to feel the same. It was still an interesting read and Kalogridis’s style brings a fresh voice to the story.

Well, I spent my October looking for a new vampire book and while this one came along in November, I still found it a good read. I enjoy Kalogridis’s writing style and I liked the new additions to the family she added which gave an often-told tale an interesting twist.

Dracula The Un-Dead

Dracula The Un-Dead

Dracula The Un-Dead

By Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt

Dutton

ISBN: 978-0525951292

3 stars

Since Saturday is Halloween, I thought this would be a good book to talk about.

In addition to this blog, I also do reviews for The Book Reporter website. Below is a short summary of my review of Dracula The Un-Dead which can be found on their website in full here.

Dracula The Un-Dead re-introduces us to the original characters — Dr. Jack Seward, Jonathan and Mina Harker, Arthur Holwood, and Dr. Abraham Van Helsing — 25 years after their heroic battle against Dracula in the Carpathian Mountains. We find out that Dracula is still roaming the earth and so is a new evil — an evil more cunning and diabolical than Dracula himself. The next incarnation of the undead is committing gruesome murders and terrorizing residents of London and Paris, leaving one individual to stop the carnage.

Dracula The Un-Dead is written by the great grand nephew of Bram Stoker, Dacre Stoker, and is billed as a sequel to the original written in 1897 using Bram Stoker’s notes. All in all, it’s a fast read and exciting in parts but I think too much is asked of readers of the original in having to forgo old beliefs of who and what Dracula is. In the end, enjoy it for what it is, another vampire story for October.

If you are interested in my review of the original, it can be found here.