Rachel's Reviews > Bloodline

Bloodline by Kate Cary
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's review
Sep 07, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: vampires, transformative-works, dracula-variations
Read in April, 2008

This Dracula fan fiction book begins as a mildly pathetic and uncreative pastiche of the original novel, and eventually take a turn for the truly bizzarre as far as characterization goes. Amusing, for a Dracula fan, but not satisfying either as a novel or a Dracula continuation.

The premise: It is World War I. Fighting for England is Quincey Harker, the son of Jonathan and Mina who we hear about in the epilogue of Dracula. But this novel takes the not uncommon perspective that he is actually the son of Dracula and Mina - no, wait, I musn't forget one of the more inexplicable plot points of this book. Apparently, the villainous vampire who had an affair with Mina after the original novel's end, and who took her to Transylvania after Jonathan's unexpected death, was not Count Dracula at all, but rather Count Dracula's son, Tepes.

Even leaving aside the oddity of that naming scheme, did author Kate Carey ever stop to think how distinctly odd it would be for Mina, whatever one presumes her relationship with the elder Count was, to have an affair with an eventually marry his son? And what real purpose did it serve to add this new character? Author's and filmakers for decades have found ways of getting around the Count's rather unconvincing death at the end of the original novel; surely Kate Carey could do it.

But back to the plot. Quincey Harker is a vampire and belongs to the Dracula family, though the father on his birth certificate is the deceased Jonathan Harker. Serving under him is John Shaw (get it? John like Jonathan? Oh, this book), for whom the battlefield serves as a substitute for Dracula's Castle, eventually sending him back to England and, of course, Jack Seward's asylum, now converted into a war hospital, where he is treated through his illness and delirium by Mary Seward, Jack Seward's daughter. After some Renfield references, John regains his sanity and - surprise of all surprises - falls in love with and becomes engaged to Mary.

Soon we meet Lily (get this one too? Lily like Lucy?), John's naive and slightly irritating sister, who promptly falls madly in love with Quincey, and elopes with him back to Transylvania.

After that, the action progresses with overwhelming speed, complete with revelations about paternity that either leave no one surprised or come out of nowhere, characters switching loyalties at the drop of a hat, and plans made absurdly far in advance. The highlight of course, when one reads this book with the perverse delight of reading bad fan fiction, comes with Mina's appearence, as she persistently acts like a badly written Evil Queen from a fairy tale. Which doesn't fit her archetype in the least, can we all agree that?

One might wonder what version of Stoker's novel Cary found herself reading.

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