Sunday, 17 October 2010
Dracula: The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt
The original Dracula by Bram Stoker is on my top ten list of all-time favourite novels. I love slow-paced gothic literature, and for me, Dracula is the best of the bunch. I love the characters, the letters/diaries style and when I first read it as a 12 or 13 year-old, I was scared. I don't like the modern Twilight-style vampire stuff at all, but I did very much enjoy The Historian. Given that this 'sequel' to the original bears the Stoker name, I was looking forward to reading it.
Synopsis: Quincey Harker, the son of Mina and Jonathan, starts working on a production of Bram Stoker's Dracula at the Lyceum Theatre. There he starts to discover the secrets of his family as one by one the heroes from the original novel are destroyed.
Score: 1 out of 5
This may sound brutal, but here it is: there is nothing to like about this book. Please don't read it. It is a blatant attempt on cashing in through the use of a famous surname and should never have been an authorised sequel to what is a classic and much-loved book.
What offends me the most about it is how the original characters have been twisted and 'developed' into something completely beyond what Bram Stoker had imagined them to be. Mina has become a sex-crazed vampire affecionado, Jonathan a sad drunk who likes prostitutes, Jack a crazy morphine addict, Van Helsing a sell out and Arthur a sad and lonely old man. And Dracula, an undeniable villain, has become a tragic romantic hero, 'God's crusader' who was merely misunderstood. He doesn't even drink human blood anymore! And Bram Stoker even appears in it as a plagerist! It all seems a bit disrespectful to me.
There was also a high proportion of silliness in the plot. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a bit of tackiness or suspending belief - but Jack the Ripper really being the Countess Elizabeth Bathory? When the authors of a book take so much liberty with both the original story and the timeline of history that they have to provide an afterword to explain themselves away, you do start to wonder.
To sum up, I am sure Bram Stoker would have been appalled to have learned of this treatment of his novel if he was alive to witness it. If you like the original, steer well clear of this one.