Letter from Mina Harker to her son
Quincey Harker, Esq.
(To be opened upon the sudden or unnatural death of Wilhelmina Harker)
9th March 1912
My dear son, all your life you have suspected that there have been secrets between us. I fear that the time has come to reveal the truth to you. To deny it any longer would put both your life and your immortal soul in jeopardy.
Doesn't that start off great? Dracula, the Un-Dead is co-written by Bram Stoker's direct descendant Dacre Stoker, and Ian Holt, an expert in all things Dracula. I was warned, though, by Dracula "purists" that I wouldn't like this book. I proceeded forward, though -- surely they were wrong. Dracula is too important a literary character. I couldn't be disappointed.
Within the first 50 or so pages, though, everyone else was right and I was most definitely wrong.
Two things grabbed me about this book that made me want to read it: The cover and of course, the subject matter. The cover is dressed in a fiery red with a blurred image of a rearing horse and carriage and a castle in a mist behind it. And although I enjoy all the different versions and spin-off series that have come about, this is about the real Dracula, a sequel to the story I love so much.
Dracula's Castle, Romania
I was absolutely disappointed. Right off the bat, you learn that 25 years after the events that first brought them all together, each of the characters has now thoroughly crumbled to some extent. They are surrounded by fear and belief that Dracula may still be alive and now coming after them. It's a fantastic and wonderful premise but I couldn't get over how (note: this is not a spoiler, it's part of the publisher's note) that Dr. Jack Seward is now a "disgraced morphine addict," as they described it. He is obsessed with stamping out evil and his one room flat is a complete and disgusting mess. As much as I initially thought the change in all of the characters would have been dark and sad, yet wonderful, it wasn't.
I was frustrated with every character's turn, and extremely frustrated with what Mina's character goes through, particularly during a few dreams. Her marriage has also essentially crumbled and their son, who is a lawyer, now wants to be an actor. It all felt so contrived and even contemporary, at times. And when the son becomes enamored with a particular actor, his "mentor," I wanted to slap him across the face. Arguably, that may be a great reader's reaction in most stories, but for me, not in this one.
Overall, I was sad when I finished this novel. A direct descendant of Bram Stoker and a renowned Dracula expert joined forces to write a sequel to the original classic and came up short in my opinion. My beloved Dracula deserved more.
Did anyone else read this and feel the same as I did or did you love it?
Visit their site, Dracula, the Un-Dead.
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