Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book Review: Dracula the Undead, by Dacre Stoker

Dracula the Un-Dead Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've been a Dracula fan since the early Hammer films. I've also read Bram Stoker's book, so it's not just that I'm in love with the film presentations.

I actually listened to the audio version, but I'm putting my review on a book version because my comments aren't on the audio. The audio (from Audible) is, as with all the Audible productions I've listened to so far, excellent. The voice talent is fantastic and the production is clear and professional. So, no problem there.

I had no problem with the story taking liberties with the plot lines (Mina actually was in love with Dracula). Some of the anachronisms of vampire lore jerked me out of the story for a second, but only a second. For example, modern vampire lore uses the adjective preternatural a lot, a term I don't remember hearing pre-Anne Rice. It might have been in Stoker's original and I just don't remember it, but when I hear that term, I think of post-Rice vampires. That sin can be forgiven, though; I myself use it in my novels, whose vampires are more Dark Shadows era than Rice era.

I had no problem with the tone of the book. It was deliciously old-fashioned, much like the original Stoker. That, I felt, was a strong point.

The plotting, though, had too many stretches. Dacre Stoker tied in Jack the Ripper and Elizabeth Bathory into the Dracula story, which could have worked, but I think there were just too many plot irons in the fire. When the time came to wrap them up at the end, it seemed a little rushed just because there was so much to wrap up.

Your experience reading it as opposed to listening to it might differ. When reading, one pauses and mulls things over more, I find. Yes, I can pause my iPod, but I find that I don't. I don't know why; certainly when reading a physical book, I will stop and look away from the page to savor a scene or to remember the foreshadowing of certain plots. For some reason, though, I don't do that when listening.

Still, I found it enjoyable, and worth a read for any Dracula afficianado.

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