In a recent post I talked about how readers fall into two categories when faced with a book they do not like. They either stop reading or they push on and finish. We also talked a lot about why we were that type of reader and what not. I believe my word were along the lines of ” I personally am a little OCD about finishing any book I start for two reasons. One is that until that final page is read…the author can still make me believe, can still catch my attention and maybe even make me say “WOW” (this is my professional opinion as well and the one I apply to books I am reviewing in that capacity). I’m not saying this happens a lot but it could and that is why I must push on. The second reason is that for some reason I am very unsettled by starting a book and not finishing…it just feels wrong.”
Well let me know say I have found the book to make me put my foot in my mouth! When I went to the South Carolina Book Festival this year I was intrigued to find the great grand nephew of Bram Stoker attending to promote his book which was in fact a sequel to the original Dracula. Dacre Stoker…indeed…written with another writer Ian Holt. Well as a lover of classical literature I decided that if I was going to do it. I was going to do it right. I went back and re-read Dracula and once again what a treat. The true master of horror and gothic romance and just damn good storytelling if I may say so myself. No over indulgence in blood and sex, just horror storytelling at it’s best in a time when you truly had to be amazingly talented with mere words.
Well that thud you just heard is Bram Stoker rolling over in his grave because he just read the first few chapters of Dracula: The Un-Dead. That’s right I only made a first few chapters in the sequel before I literally threw the book down and I refuse to pick it up. So I must recant my former statement but oh with good reason. Within a few chapters I had dear Dr. Seward cast as a morphine addict who was somewhat happy Lucy was dead since if he could not have her no one should, a trio of lesbian vampires including the infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory bathing in blood and at least two sexual scenes….no they were sex scenes….almost pornographic. Oh and don’t forget the constant references to popular figures such as Jack the Ripper, Charles Darwin and The Wright Brothers…had to have those in there so people who don’t read books and surely have not read Dracula can have something that they recognize. I have since gone on and read other reviews of the book and learned it really only got worse from there. It was like a bad movie…all gore and sex just to sell. But what I think they did not understand is who they were selling to: people who loved the classic Dracula. Not the people who love the movies but could never get through a book…those people will just wait and see if Dracula: The Un-Dead comes out on DVD. Their audience was people who appreciate classic literature, classic horror and to be honest…well it was just so sad to see it reduced to that especially when you have a family member of such an esteemed Author put his name on it. The book did get some good reviews but they were stand alones not considering what a masterpiece this book was supposed to reference and even they noted what I saw in the first few chapters. I would love to hear opinions from anyone else who has read it or part of it (I can understand if you did not get far). . I just feel very disappointed and sad that another classic was degraded in this way.