02 August 2010

Dracula, the Un-Dead, by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt


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

Dear Quincey,
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.

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


  1. Hi, Thanks for stopping by... I bought this book but I had a hard time getting into it and I never did finish it..I will someday...I enjoyed Dracula in Love although I read a review on this book and there were some reviewers that hated it...I guess it is up to the person...!!

  2. I have this one sitting on my TBR pile. I am sorry that it was disappointing for you. I hope to read it this fall during the RIP challenge.

  3. @ CelticLady -- Your site is great, it was my pleasure to stop by! It was tough for me to finish it as well, I just thought maybe something would magically happen that would make me fall in love with it...sadly, no. :(

    @ Molly -- I'm excited that you'll be reading it! I would love to get your insight on it as well! And there's an RIP Challenge?! Oh, my -- I can't wait!!

  4. you are 8 minutes from the beach....oh!!! how lucky you are!!!

  5. I've never read this one but it sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for sharing your review

  6. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it. I would be interested in this kind of book, but now that I've read your review I'm hesitant as to whether I should ever bother.

  7. Guess it's really hard to beat the original Dracula. My teaser.

  8. There seem to be several Dracula/Mina Harker books around at present - sorry you were disappointed in this one.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog - this is my first visit to yours and I like it very much. Looking forward to browsing further and reading some of your reviews.

    Now a subscriber. :-)

    Happy reading!

  9. @ Stacy -- Yes, 8 minutes!! Now, if I could only find the time to actually go!! :)

    @Bookventures -- Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to know what you think about it after you've read!

    @ Connie @ SogniE Sorrisi -- I was really disappointed in it, unfortunately. And this is the kind of story that I love!!

    @ Book Bird Dog -- I think you're right. Bram Stoker really knew how to bring the world Dracula, didn't he?

    @ Cat -- Thanks for stopping by! I get even more disappointed when it is one of my favorite subjects, Dracula -- I hate it when they make the story so, I don't know, I guess trite...? :( THANK YOU for such kind words about the blog!! Yes, please grab a cup of coffee and enjoy my blog, I would love to read your thoughts! (After, of course, I come back from visiting your blog!)

  10. Believe it or not, I've not read Dracula yet. That said, I'm always slightly wary about "sequels" - specially sequels not written by the original authors. If I had read Dracula though, like you, I'd want to read this because of who the authors are. Sorry it didn't live up to your expectations :(

  11. I am really sorry you didn't enjoy this one. I don't have a strong Dracula background except for what i read about Vlad the Impaler. So from an outsider's perceptive it looks interesting but i guess that will slowly go down the drain once i read it..LOL

  12. Oh no. I hate it when expectations are so high and the book falls short. It seemed like it had potential too. I haven't read it. I do enjoy vampire books (although I still haven't read Dracula!) but I probably wouldn't read this now as I'm getting a bit tired of all the vampire books that have been out lately.

  13. @ Another Cookie Crumbles -- You *must* read Dracula! Ooh, it's such a gothic treat, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! Which is precisely why I wanted to read this one so much -- I thought these authors with their backgrounds could combine and craft a really excellent "sequel." I was so sad when I finished it! :(

    @ Bookventures -- It could have been me, maybe I'm just such a Dracula purist that you can't take those characters and make them something else, so different from the character foundations that they had in Bram Stoker's Dracula, but I really want to be able to see what others thought! If you pick it up, I'd love to know your thoughts!

    @ Iliana -- In my opinion, this had SO much potential! Which when it fell, it really fell flat for me. If you read Dracula, read this one, and let me know what you think!

  14. Oh no!!! I've been wanting to read this and, gasp, how can it be bad!?!?! Sigh. I might still check it out but I've been warned. Thanks!!

  15. I skipped Dracula's castle when I visited Romania, but I did see his birthplace. It's now a restaurant. Too weird!

  16. @ Amanda -- Please do read and let me know what you thought! Maybe it was just me -- I just really enjoyed Bram Stoker's Dracula, so to see all the characters this way...! And believe me, I was *so* excited for this book, too!!

    @ Lenore -- Ooh, you visited Romania, how fun!! I would very much like to visit there one day. Dracula's castle is a bit spooky, though, and rumor has it that all sorts of weird things happen to you when you visit it, so maybe it's best you didn't get a chance to go there! And his birthplace is now a restaurant? That is weird -- especially for his history to be...a restaurant? Yikes!

  17. I have not seen one positive review of this book. I was interested in it...and now I'm not. It's kind of sad too given that he's a descendant of Stoker.

    Have you read The Historian? I actually enjoyed that book but it's another that got fairly mixed reviews. I couldn't put it down though.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

  18. @ Bibliophile by the Sea -- There was a certain element that drew me into it, but I wish I had fallen in love with it! :( But, that's what's fantastic about a book, right? There will always be so many responses to it that really get the conversation flowing!

    @ Carin -- I have read The Historian and I absolutely loved that book! It's one of my favorites -- I was on a long 3-month business trip when it first came out. I was in a hotel room in Washington, DC and for 3 days I could not put it down -- I'd rush back from the office to the hotel and dive right into the book, I was so caught up in it!

  19. I think I might just get this from the library and see how it goes. I agree with you on that cover. :)

  20. @ Chris - I would love to hear what your thoughts are once you finish it! Please keep me posted!

  21. Good review! Sadly I felt the same about it! I was so hyped up when I received it and was crossing my fingers that it would be great! It wasn't completely horrid but didn't thrill me like I thought it would!

    Thanks for commenting on my review!

  22. Book Lady -- Thanks for stopping by! Yes, unfortunately it just wasn't what I thought, or hoped it would be. :( Your overview on your blog was how I felt as well. Too bad it wasn't more, huh?