Dracula The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt

Synopsis (from Fantastic Fiction):
Written by a direct descendant of Bram Stoker and a well- known Dracula historian, Dracula: The Un-Dead is a bone- chilling sequel based on Bram Stoker’s own handwritten notes for characters and plot threads excised from the original edition. Written with the blessing and cooperation of many members of the Stoker family, Dracula: The Un-Dead begins in 1912, twenty-five years after Dracula ‘crumbled into dust.’ Van Helsing’s protégé, Dr. Seward, is now a disgraced morphine addict obsessed with stamping out evil across Europe. Meanwhile, an unknowing Quincey Harker, son of Jonathon and Mina, leaves law school for the stage, only to stumble upon the troubled production of Dracula, directed and produced by Bram Stoker himself.

The play plunges Quincey into the world of his parents’ terrible secrets, but before he can confront them he experiences evil in a way he had never imagined. One by one, the band of heroes that defeated Dracula a quarter-century ago is being hunted down. Could it be that Dracula somehow survived their attack and is seeking revenge? Or is there another, far more sinister force at work whose relentless purpose is to destroy anything and anyone associated with Dracula?

Fast-paced, full of suspense, and rich with historical detail, Dracula: The Un-Dead is the answer to every vampire fanatic’s prayers.

As a fan of the original novel, I looked forward to the publication of this novel and getting my greedy mitts on a copy to read, hoping it would live up to its promise. Although I tried not to let my expectations get the better of me, there was always going to be a fair bit of anticipation building up.

Unfortunately, I never felt the characters really got fully developed in this sequel, but then, it always had BIG shoes to fill following a classic like Dracula. Bathory could have been a far more interesting character had she been more conflicted and had I been made to feel any warmth towards her in her pre-vampiric life, and the “reveal” of a certain character was far too obvious far too early on (i.e. as soon as the character appeared!). Mina came across as being a bit of a martyr, Van Helsing was practically insane and Arthur Holmwood was, to be honest, a bit of an ass. Quincy was rather naive and unconvincing for me, but the one character I actually did warm to was Seward, despite his drug-addled persona, or perhaps because of his vices and flaws – I only wish there had been more of him!

The addition of Bram Stoker himself as a characterin procedings was a nice touch and I enjoyed his interaction with the other characters and the action as the plot unfolded. It made for an interesting blend of fact and fiction as certain aspects of his real life was mingled with this fictitious horror.

Despite all this, it was nice to read a twist on the original tale and see some of the reasoning and justification in Dracula’s actions when seen from his point of view. If you do read it, try to delve in without too much expectation and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised, but if you want a masterpiece you’ll be disappointed.

A decent enough read for fans of the genre, but nothing spectacular.

Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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