Audra (Unabridged Chick)'s Reviews > Dracula in Love

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
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's review
Aug 30, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: diaries-and-letters, heroine-unusually-attractive, historicals, place-london, mood-dark-and-twisted, mood-evocative, science-gone-bad, sex-sex-and-more-sex, supernatural, trendy-but-good, truth-is-tawdrier-than-fiction, place-uk, vampire
Recommended to Audra (Unabridged Chick) by: the internet
Read from August 19 to 30, 2010

One-sentence summary: Mina Murray tells all, news at eleven.

Review: I'm not a vampire girl when it comes to supernatural affections. But I love classic vampire stories so I was willing to give this book a try since it was a spin-off of the original. And having been introduced the possibility of a Mina Murray with some real oomph (thanks to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen -- the graphic novels, not the film) I've been eagerly awaiting her incarnation in popular literature. Karen Essex's Mina comes close to satisfying.

The conceit is brilliant: Bram Stoker got it wrong. And with that start, the story develops as a very twisted parallel to the one originally offered, deviating here and there, revealing far more malicious and duplicitous characters than the ones Stoker presented. Purists might protest, but that's the best part: it was a man telling the story in a man's world, and Mina's experience in that world was vastly different.

Essex's research really comes out in the novel, especially regarding Seward and his work at the madhouse. The passages featuring 'treatments' at the madhouse are chilling, perhaps the most horrifying stuff in the novel and I found myself really questioning whether the Count was the villain -- or the medical community.

Sadly, my constant swoons over this book lessened as the story went on. Even though I'm not naturally inclined toward vampires -- especially as romantic leads -- I was willing to run with it (especially since every mortal man had so far been monstrous). But midpoint in the novel Mina developed the kind of sudden onset passivity seen in some action film heroines, when they transform from strong, tough characters to helpless creatures in need of a hero to make things better. Even though Mina ultimately came into her own by the end of the novel, the second half of the book left me very cold.

I found the romance between Mina and the Count to be very contrived, despite Essex's attempts to give it some romantic gravitas (which, frankly, were a little too Marion Zimmer Bradley-esque for my tastes), and I especially hated Mina's easy acceptance of the histrionic men -- immortal and moral -- in her life. After the treatment she experienced with Jonathan Harker, it was insulting that she took it from the Count. Girlfriend should have schooled the man, not let him skulk around.

Ultimately, I liked this book -- it was such a refreshingly researched take on Stoker's Dracula. As Essex explains in her Author's Notes, the era of Stoker's Dracula was one filled with abject fear about women. Illuminating that in this book is what made it so captivating and charming despite it's flat romance.
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Reading Progress

08/20/2010 page 63
16.0% "I didn't expect to be loving on this book as much as I am -- Essex very expertly reminds us of what London at this time was like and I'm so loving it."
08/26/2010 page 153
38.0% "Jonathan found at hospital with 'brain fever'. This book is familiar but so new at the same time -- really, quite delish!"

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-5 of 5) </span> <span class="smallText">(5 new)</span>

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Lu (Sugar & Snark) Hope you are still loving it!

Audra (Unabridged Chick) OMG, Lu, it really is just delish. I'm drawing out reading it b/c I *really* don't want it to end!

Lu (Sugar & Snark) I bought too many books this month!! Will have to try and get it soon :D

Audra (Unabridged Chick) Not to be too bossy ;) but I definitely recommend this as your first September purchase!

Lu (Sugar & Snark) Putting it on my to-buy list! I might have to wait till October as my giveaway will need some money :(

Dammit i must find a way!!! Will look at the budget and see what i can do :)

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