Saturday, March 29, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Dracula The Un-Dead (The Authoritatively Disappointing Sequel to the Original Classic)

In a nutshell, we get to see how the band of heroes are living 25 years after their encounter with Count Dracula.

Written by:  Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt
Genre:  Horror novel

# of pages:  424
Country:  United States
Year Published:  2009

Sounds interesting, right?

Oh and it's written by Bram Stoker's great grand-nephew, Dacre Stoker! Are you really stoked now? I sure was!

They claim it's the true sequel to our beloved classic. An authoritative sequel in fact. I believed them. How gullible was I? 

Borrowing a quote from the book, Dracula The Un-Dead at its best is made up of only a few, special, scattered moments. I don't know which or how much Dacre or Ian wrote, so I can't pinpoint who is really to blame, but let me just mention (if you haven't googled them yet) that Dacre is a track & field coach, while Ian Holt has previously been a direct-to-DVD horror screenwriter who has been a fanatic of anything Dracula-related for a long time. You can bet a dollar or two who did most of the writing, and which one whose name served as a huge banner ad.
Reading the first several chapters was an effort on my part. It took a considerable amount of patience and understanding not to tear the pages and chuck it on a crap-filled toilet bowl. First of all, the writing style is not even remotely similar to that of Bram's - but I didn't care about that. Of course it's not wise to copy the fascinating correspondence/journal technique used in Dracula... and I wasn't expecting them to. What truly irked me was seeing Bram's characters that I so loved turned into damaged-beyond-repair kind of people who live pathetic lives that will make those who have read the classic cringe. Well you might say that it's possible, after that experience they had with Dracula, they'll be scarred for life and messed up. I will grudgingly accept that. But the fact that there were a lot of alterations to the original story just so they can cram as much drama & plot twists they could think of - NO! Just no. Talk to my hand.

Bram's was sophisticated, subtle, and mysterious. Dacre & Ian's was too in-your-face. 

Don't get me wrong, the book is not that horrible. It was written in rich narrative and could be an exciting page-turner at times. Incorporating real people or events to the story was also cool & made the novel more intriguing. And seeing Bram Stoker as a character was fascinating (but I was appalled SPOILERS: how they made him look like a has-been nincompoop who messed up "Prince Dracula"'s story) In my honest opinion, the book would have been appreciated better (by me) if they didn't so shamelessly claim that it's a sequel to Dracula - because it's not. 

What this book really is.

It's simply a modern re-telling of a classic vampire novel with several familiar names obviously meant to bait the readers. The whole time I was reading the book, I kept on asking myself, did they really read Dracula or did they just base everything from the film adaptations? While I have only watched the first half of Coppola's 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula, I can say that these authors took more stuff from this adaptation than from the real book. And that's truly dreadful. Maybe they didn't mean to, but it's so obvious, and it irritated me to no end. At some point I couldn't help but imagine Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, and Gary Oldman as Dracula. -_-

"To the literary purists we apologize, but we feel this is a necessary concession, made in the hope of once and for all harmonizing all Dracula fans" - Ian Holt

Not to spoil the book, I'll just say that there's a lot of romanticizing and numerous attempts to shock the readers with gore/sex/plot twists that's worthy of a daytime soap opera. And what's up with the "my dark prince" and "my love"???!! Like I'm reading Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey! C'mon!

It's just too much for a fan like me to forget what truly transpired in Bram's tale and who Dracula & the Harkers/Helsing/Seward/Godalming really were, and believe everything they presented. It's hard to swallow. I'm saying for such an incredible plot they concocted, they should have taken into consideration how they would convince the fans of the original to gobble their story up as if it's actually Bram who wrote it. 

This could be a kick-ass vampire novel, but a great sequel it is not.

Why you should read it.

Well, if you're reading this review, you obviously like reading books. And chances are, you have read Bram Stoker's novel. Despite my disappointment with this one, I still recommend that you read it, because who knows? You might enjoy it! I did like a few chapters, but the overall flavor wasn't appetizing to me. 

My Rating: 

2/5 as a sequel. I really couldn't accept the romantic angle they presented. I just couldn't. 
Maybe 3.5/5 if it was a stand-alone vampire book.

Check out MY ULTIMATE BOOK BUCKET LIST or the books I wanna read before I die!

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