12 Aug 2010

DRACULA: THE UN-DEAD.


Bram Stoker's Dracula is the prototypical horror novel, inspiration for the world's seemingly endless fascination with vampires. Now, written by a direct descendant of Bram Stoker and a well-known Dracula historian, comes a bone-chilling sequel based on Bram Stoker's handwritten notes for characters and plot threads from the original book. Twenty-five years after Dracula "crumbled into dust" Van Helsing's protege, Dr. Seward, is a disgraced morphine addict and the band of heroes that defeated Dracula is being hunted down one by one.

...... From the outer back page.

FIRST SENTENCE (from the prologue, a letter from Mina Harker to her son): Dear Quincey, My dear son, all your life you have suspected that there have been secrets between us.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: .... his novel Dracula would soon become lost on some forgotten shelf in the back of a bookshop, whilst Oscar Wilde's Picture Of Dorian Gray would no doubt go on to be known as the greatest Gothic novel of its day.

I'm really not too sure what I thought of this book. On the one hand, I was disappointed in it as it in no way compares with the original story, is over long and is overly reliant on the original story and yet, on the other hand, it is not without it's merits.

Written by Bram Stoker's Great Grand-nephew, Dacre Stoker, and self confessed horror geek, Ian Holt, this novel is, in many ways, much more 'grown up' than Bram's Dracula. In places much more gory and yet, in others, much more sensitive to the feelings of the individual characters.

Part Gothic thriller, part pure romance and not without humour, I thought the reintroduction of characters such as Jack and Mina Harker and Van Helsing amongst others very clever.

Also pure genius was the addition of Bram stoker himself as a character - a writer, all he "had done was merge his own story with the fantastical tale that had been told to him in a pub"  - as well as all the social issues of the day that were included - Jack The Ripper, the fight for free education for all, the advent of motor cars, the record-breaking non-stop flight from London to Paris, etc.

Not so pleasing however was the strong sexual element. In the original there was always a hint, an understated sexual undertone whereas in Dracula: Un-Dead this was much more blatant, often only just falling short of being overly erotic.

A book I would recommend to all horror fans including those who enjoyed Bram Stoker's Dracula though I feel that the Dracula 'purists' out there may be a little annoyed by some of the changes to the original text that were included but changed in this sequel. Also recommended to all Twilight fans who may be interested to discover just how different the vampires of 'old' are compared to the modern version - unable to tolerate sunlight and with an aversion to crosses and garlic, these old vampires are much darker characters.

Dracula: Un-Dead was a library book read.

7 comments:

Nina said...

more gory, I think I will let this one slide by. :P

I think I only read Dracula once, and I think I will stick with that number uno. :)

Though I really enjoyed reading your review.

Suzanne Jones said...

Thanks for the review. I grew up reading horror - but prefer a good ghost to anything overly gory, so perhaps this isn't for me.

XX

MOLLYC said...

I don't think I will be reading this book. However, I DID manage to read all three of the "Dragon Tattoo" books, and I actually liked them very much. Pageturners. I am now reading Elizabeth George's latest mystery ON MY NEW KINDLE. Yes, it was a red letter week when my older daughter sent it to me out of the blue! I absolutely love it, but I am a bit worried about the Amazon bill...love to you as always, molly

Lily said...

I've been wanting to read Stoker's Dracula, now I want to read both books. I'm not so sure about the sexual elements, but I am willing to give it a try at least. I think more modern authors some times give way to the pressure to have overly sexual themes and scenes included in their books. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I feel that less is more. I find the explicit descriptions to be boring.

Bonnie said...

I saw this book and wondered what kind of a read it was. It did look interesting and novel. Still debating! Would you pass the garlic pls?

~Bonnie

misha1989 said...

Hi
Hopping by your blog. I am now a follower.Thanks for the review.

Misha
http://books-love-affair.blogspot.com/

GMR said...

Interesting review. I've had this one buried in the TBR pile with the other undead selections (just kidding, but it is buried none the less) and was hoping to get around to reading it this October for the spooky, creepy time of year. Sounds like one that still has potential, just have to watch who picks it up if I'm in the middle of reading it! Thanks for sharing...and happy reading!