Margaret's Reviews > Dracula the Un-Dead

Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker
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's review
Feb 12, 2010

did not like it
Read from March 03 to 06, 2010

Is there a way to give negative stars?

Against my better judgement and despite my ingrained wariness of “sequels” to classic novels, I ill-advisedly started Dracula The Undead in the optimistic hope that the author’s relationship to Bram Stoker might have inspired him to actually write something more or less worthy, as opposed to just exploiting his illustrious family connection for some quick cash.

Guess how that turned out.

This acorn has fallen so far from the tree that it can’t even see the forest. Apart from the usual problem of sequels, that really no one wants to re-encounter great grand-uncle Bram’s fearless band of vampire slaying heroes in middle age when they’ve all become drunks, drug addicts and failures at parenting, the plotting is prosaic, the writing by turns lead-footed and ham-handed (though it’s impossible to tell which appendages belong to Dacre Stoker and which to his so-called “co-writer” Ian Holt), and – possibly worst of all -, the authors keep Dracula himself, one of the more compelling characters in literature, offstage until the last 40 pages or so, as if they know they can’t handle him for very long. Prior to that, our primary villain is Countess Elizabeth Bathory, an early Dracula bride (so we’re told) who in addition to being a vampire is also a Lesbian – one of the ways, the authors offensively indicate, in which she has turned her back on God, in addition to her propensity for bathing in the blood of slaughtered peasant girls. I prefer my vampire fiction without a political/religious agenda, thank you so much.

About a third of the book is a boringly written rehash of Stoker’s original, via flashbacks, memories, and Francis Ford Coppola’s movie version (just in case anyone is actually reading the sequel without knowing what happens in the first one) and the freshly minted part of the novel is an even more boring succession of clashes between men and vampires, although their boringness may be a perverse kind of achievement given how much graphic violence these scenes contain. Bram Stoker wasn’t Henry Irving’s general manager at the Lyceum for 27 years for nothing, and while he may not be one of the great stylists of all time, he understood how to work an audience - how to build suspense and sexual tension (yes, even in the 19th century) and how to manipulate their imagination for maximum effect. His talent-free descendant apparently thinks it’s sufficient to announce roughly every page and a half that someone or other is in “grave danger,” and then follow that up with one of the aforementioned scenes of stomach-turning carnage, which for all their lurid detail are curiously unaffecting.

DRACULA THE UNDEAD is an Unsatisfying Unbook. I’d like my time, and my Dracula, back, please.
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Reading Progress

01/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Kate (new)

Kate Great review I most certainly will not waste my time. Cheers

Brandon I wish I would have seen your review before wasting my time with this selection. Excellent post.

message 3: by Shadow (new)

Shadow Watcher no but giving a one star might help

Preston Good Review! I just finished reading it and couldn't agree with you more.

message 5: by Carswell (new)

Carswell I concur.

Stoker (the younger) and his co-writer couldn't have mangled the original story any more if they'd tried - and the very obvious and obnoxious conflations with Coppola's movie were unconscionable.

Bram Stoker must be rolling in his grave.

message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa I so much agree with your assessment of this book... for what I read of it. I was sorely disappointed and hated every minute I spent trying to read this until I just could not force myself to continue on. I would not recommend this book at all to anyone! If you want more of the original Dracula... read the original!

Vicki Lanzo I totally agree!! I feel like the original characters are ruined forever for me now! :(

Vicki Lanzo I totally agree!! I feel like the original characters are ruined forever for me now! :(

message 9: by Josephine (new)

Josephine If only I read your review before even opening this book. I got as far as when the villain was described as a 'misty rapist'. When that happens you know it's KO.

message 10: by (new)

ロ I've seen this review a little too late.

message 11: by John (new)

John Sullivan Check out The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

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