Reading level: Adult
Genre: Horror/Historical Fantasy
Size: 480 pages
Publisher: Avon A
Release Date: July 20, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: From Librarything’s Early Reviewer Program for Review
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book through Librarything’s Early Reviewer program. I love the original story of Dracula but always wished that the women characters were more filled out. This book does a great job of doing that in a believable way and paints Dracula into a more complex character than he was originally portrayed as.
The whole book is told through the viewpoint of Mina Parker. Through her eyes we see Lucy’s decline, hear of Jonathan’s troubles in Transalvania, etc. The story line closely follows the original Dracula storyline but the interactions between Mina and Dracula are more filled out. You also see more of Mina’s relationship with her husband Jonathan. This definitely comes off as more of a romance than the original Dracula, but mostly it is a Victorian fantasy of sorts.
I thought the book was well done. The language and writing style mostly stays true to the original Dracula, and the original Dracula storyline is basically followed (if embellished on quite a bit). Mina Harker is a wonderful complex character: she is dutiful, yet independent, she loves her husband, yet is drawn to Dracula. She is a character that is easy to love and empathize with, she is even admirable at points.
The characters of Jonathan and Dracula are also filled out nicely. Neither of the male leads is completely good or completely evil. Jonathan can be overly restrictive and traditional towards Mina; which suffocates her at times…yet he is also a loving husband. Dracula is more accepting and encouraging of Mina’s non-traditional behavior (wanting to work outside the home and be educated) but is selfish when it comes to what he wants.
This book ends up being less about the mystery behind Dracula and more about Mina’s struggle to decide between two men who truly love her but each have faults of their own. That being said there is still some mystery and urgency throughout this book. The book would have been more engaging and unpredictable if I had not already known the story of Dracula so well.
Overall the book is well done and a must read for Dracula fans, especially Dracula fans who have always wanted the role of the female characters in Dracula expanded. This take on Dracula is definitely more of a romance than a horror, although not annoyingly so, and it is aimed towards a female audience. Some of the steamy scenes in the book get pretty explicit so I would recommend for an adult audience. I enjoyed this book and would definitely consider reading other of James’ books in the future.
This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
– The 100+ Book Reading Challenge