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.

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Dracula

 

Dracula

Dracula

Dracula

By Bram Stoker

Bantam Books

ISBN: 0-553-21271-0

5 stars

I recently re-read Dracula and I have to say, it can still make my heart race even though I know what’s going to happen on the next page.

The novel is composed of journal entries from several characters: Jonathan Harker, Lucy Westerna, Mina Murray, Dr. John Seward, Quincey Morris, Arthur Holwood, and Professor Van Helsing.  Each entry brings a new voice and perspective to the story making it incredibly rich and, in many ways, even scarier because you know these individuals are expressing their true fears since the writing is done in private journals.

The story begins with Jonathan Harker, an English lawyer, on a trip to the Carpathian Mountains to conduct business for a Count Dracula.  He describes his odd journey and the strange responses of the people when they learn where he is going.  He also includes his description of the Count which gives the reader a clear look at Dracula.

Mina, Jonathan’s fiancée, is visiting her friend Lucy and writing happily to her Jonathan.  The entries are full of happiness and hope until Lucy falls gravely ill and the mood becomes tragically sad and somewhat disturbing as Lucy’s behavior and cause is explained.

Dr. Seward, a former suitor of Lucy’s, is at a loss to help her and calls on an old friend.  Professor Van Helsing arrives and sensing the problem begins a fruitless effort to save her.  When Lucy succumbs, Van Helsing knows what must be done but to protect the decency of the lady and emotions of family and friends, he mentions the next step, stake through the heart and beheading, only to Seward.  Seward, nursing his loss of Lucy in several ways, lashes out.  Finally, when neighbors begin to report children missing, Seward agrees to help Van Helsing along with Quincey, an American in love with Lucy as well, and her forlorn fiancé Arthur who feels it is his duty to help Lucy finally rest in peace.  The small band sets out to kill Lucy — again.

Mina at this time is nursing Jonathan back to health after he fell ill during his trip to Transylvania.  She finds and reads his diary against his wishes, in the hope of understanding what is ailing him.  She’s astounded by what she finds but is still determined to help not only Jonathan, but the now assembled group of vampire hunters, remove the scourge from the earth.

As the final battle becomes evident, the journal entries become more morose, creepy, and scary which is what makes this book so fascinating.  You feel as if you’re getting a peek into the characters’ minds.  You feel their terror and frustrations, and are entranced by the minutiae of their planning for the fight with what they consider to be the ultimate evil.

If you’re looking for something to read this October, the original still delivers.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

 

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

By Amanda Grange

Sourcebooks, Inc.

ISBN: 9781402236976

4 stars

The story begins on Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding day. The Bennett house is in full celebration with the marriage of both Elizabeth and Jane on the same day. Elizabeth believes this to be the happiest day of her life and cannot wait to become Darcy’s wife.

After a short ceremony and celebration, they leave for the Lake Region on their honeymoon tour but as soon as the carriage leaves, Darcy announces they area going to Europe instead. He makes a few arrangements, and before Elizabeth can utter a word or question, she finds herself in Dover awaiting a boat to France.

In France, Darcy introduces Elizabeth to family and friends — some she finds friendly, others she finds off-putting for a reason she cannot understand. She is overwhelmed but is happy to just be with Darcy. Shortly after arriving in France, he announces they will be going to visit his uncle who lives in the Alps. The journey to his uncle’s is difficult and she finds herself scared frequently by wolves and stories from the locals. Darcy reassures her that all will be fine and once again she finds herself calmed by his words.

At Darcy’s uncle’s castle, she is introduced to many new family members and acquaintances. Elizabeth is unsettled by comments and customs but does her best to make an outward show of happiness for Darcy. Their stay is cut short by a revolt from the villagers but Darcy and Elizabeth are able to escape without harm and find shelter in an old hunting lodge of Darcy’s. He decides they will head to Venice, Italy for safety’s sake and they are off again. Upon their arrival, Elizabeth is transfixed by the city and its inhabitants. It is also were she begins to question some of the strange things going on with Darcy and their relationship.

After a near abduction and narrow escape from which Darcy rescues her, she asks many questions and finds she doesn’t like any of the answers. Fortunately, a friend of Darcy’s may have the cure they both seek.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is an interesting re-imagining of these characters. Grange is able to fully en robe herself in Darcy and his brooding thoughts making the character very believable. He is just as dark, daring, and confusing and in some ways even more intriguing because of his dangerous secret. The love between Elizabeth and Darcy is strong and you find yourself hoping she is still willing to accept him after his secret revealed.

One small thing that did bother me — Elizabeth does not pickup on any of the clues. Reflections that don’t appear, no mirrors, wolves, Darcy mysteriously missing always at sunset and sunrise, an inordinate amount of bats. I always thought of Elizabeth as witty and smart and was a bit disappointed she didn’t question Darcy earlier, but then again, she is a new bride wanting to be with her new husband and willing to forgo a few mishaps after what they had already been through. I guess in the end I am willing to forgive that.

The Strain: Book 1 of The Strain Trilogy

 

The Stain

The Stain

The Strain: Book 1 of The Strain Trilogy

By Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

William Morrow

ISBN: 978-0-06-155823-8

4 stars

A plane lands at JFK airport and goes dark. No one can raise the pilots and no signs of life exist. The window shades are drawn and there is no movement to be seen. Unsure of what to do and concerned about a deadly infection, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is called in to investigate and asked to find the cause of what is believed to be the simultaneous deaths of all the passengers on board.

Dr. Ephraim (Eph) Goodweather heads up the CDC ‘s Canary Project, a rapid repose team setup to deal primarily with problems of this nature. He gathers his team and heads to the airport and once there finds what appears to be a plane full of dead passengers with no explainable cause of death. There are no visible injuries and the air is clean making an initial diagnosis impossible. While checking individuals for signs of any struggle or sickness, four survivors are found. Also found, a large black box full of dirt in the cargo hold that is not listed on any manifest.

Back at the hospital, Eph is not able to find anything wrong with the few survivors and the coroner is finding more than he can explain in his lab. Not knowing what they are dealing with, Eph makes an attempt to lock down the few survivors and hold bodies in the morgue but is unable. Soon after, bodies go missing from the morgue, and unbeknown to Eph and anyone else at the hospital or the CDC, the four survivors begin to evolve into something dark, sinister, and deadly.

Enter Abraham Setrakian — vampire hunter. His first attempts to plead his case to Eph fail but eventually his is able to convince him with an interesting show and tell display with a one of a kind specimen. With help from Nora, a member of Eph’s Canary team and Fet a city rat exterminator, they move to end the infestation.

Del Toro’s screen writing experience is key to this book. You see and feel exactly what he wants you to — slowly inching up the tension, keeping you in suspense wondering if the noise you heard in the hall is really just the floorboards creaking or something unholy making its way to you. His take on the vampire follows some of the old traditions but he adds enough to make it feel fresh and exciting. If you prefer a vampire story that holds true to the Dracula mythology than this book may not hold your interest but it’s worth the read to experience his take on the vampire mystique.

The first 50 or so pages of the book are intriguing. He holds back a lot, playing only a few cards and slowly building the story. While he does keep the pages turning, the story slows a bit in the middle and feels like too much of a re-telling of each new vampire being born. He quickens the pace at the end and leaves readers creeped out and anxiously waiting the next installment and probably sleeping with the lights on.

As a final note, I loaned this book to two people who both told me it qualifies for read only in daytime status — least they worry someone bite them in the night.