Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dracula the Un-Dead

Book review 2010.02

Author: Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt

From the book's Afterword:
Dracula the Un-Dead is a multifaceted sequel to a multilayered novel. Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt follow the lives and fortunes of the surviving characters... All have suffered irreparable damage in both their personal and their professional lives as a result of their past encounters with Dracula. 

I wasn't sure what to expect with this novel and took it up with some trepidation and cynicism. I mean, you don't just pick up a classic and proclaim to write the second volume in the series.

This book represents not only a continuation of the story, but also a reimagining of the original. They approach this story as only two life-long fans of Bram Stoker's work can. The original story was told from the points of view of the heroes confronting the monster. In this sequel, we get the "monster's" point of view. Additionally, we are presented with a larger story, which the limited perspecitves of the intrepid heroes could not begin to be aware of.

Dracula the Un-Dead is a well-written, compelling read, very much in the spirit of the original work.Yet the story is fresh, and takes place 25 years later. I like that the authors took a lot of creative liberties with the time frame and historical data, and also made some adjustments to the details in order to create a wonderful and thrilling tale.

As much as I enjoyed this book, it has two faults: one minor and one major. First, this new take on the greatest of gothic monsters comes scarily close to making Dracula one of those monstrosities of modern day pop-fiction: a sparkly, romantic superman. They come VERY close to this travesty. Some people might say they do indeed cross that line. I'm willing to over look this because I'm just that much of a fan of Dracula, both the character and the literary work. And this work.

Now the second fault is this: the final chapter. Do yourself a favor and do not read chapter 63. The story ends with chapter 62. Those last five pages are meaningless AND don't make logical sense in the time frame. The character and the cargo could not arrive at the same place in the same, short amount of time, based on the events of the preceding chapter.

The authors claim that they included that chapter as a means of opening doors for the next book, but if you read it, you'll see that the chapter does the opposite and not including that chapter would have left things much more open, especially given the groundwork already put in place in the novel. So when you're reading this book, when the story ends -- stop reading. Let yourself savor that ending for a day or two. THEN come back and read the final chapter if you must.

This is a book I wouldn't mind owning because I liked it that much.

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