I hate what has been done to the Vampire myth. I read Twilight, I didn't hate the writing(or love it for that matter), I just quietly mourned another stake in the heart of this particular slice of the horror genre.
Vampires have become Fabio-esque love leads for the emo generation.
So I was hoping when I heard about Dracula's, that it was would be a return to the classic vampire; the evil, seductive, bastard that needs to be staked through the heart.
So is this your traditional bloodsucker?
No not really. It's been a while since I read the original Dracula, but the similarity ends pretty much in Transylvania.
Which isn't a bad thing.
The story is an adrenaline fueled thriller fest with the only slow part (by comparison to the rest of the story) being the introduction.
An oddly deformed humanoid skull is found in a farmer field near the town of Brasov, (it's in Transylvania) its mouth brimming with shark like teeth and two large hollow canines. It's largely dismissed as a hoax.
A powerful recluse dying of cancer buys the skull for a undisclosed amount of money, on the pretense of studying it. In reality he is a member of an ancient order who knows the true story behind the skull.
The skull carries a virus, a contagion spread though the blood. The recluse chooses to infect himself by puncturing his own neck with the skull's canines. He is transported to Blessed Crucifixion, a small country hospital in a town whose name really isn't important to the story.
The virus spreads through his system transforming him into a bloodlusting beast with increased strength and senses - oh and a face splitting skull full of sharklike teeth. One of these Dracula's in the confined halls of a hospital would be terror enough, but of course the virus spreads via contact with blood, and the authors have made sure there's an abundance of that flying around.
What I loved
The characterizations are memorable, particularly Clay, the gun nut cop and Randall the chainsaw wielding hick.
But my favorite is Benny the Clown, the image of a sadistic, blood covered, vampire clown stalking the surviving patients of Blessed Crucifixion is etched in my mind for ever, the sound of squeaking clown shoes the harbinger of horror.
The pacing of the book suggests the term extreme reading. It's that full on from start to finish that I find it hard to describe it any other way. It's rare I think to find books that can continue pace at this level for so long.
What I wanted more of
A little bit more of the back story, how the original Dracula came about and how the Order of the Dragon and the central villain's membership of it fit into the larger story.
I realize though, that this would have distracted from the pace of the book.
Too many chefs? Nah !
Dracula's has four authors, four capable exponents of the horror genre throwing their skills into the ring. You'd think this type of arrangement would be a minefield of bruised and bloodied egos, not to mention a work that would seem disjointed to the reader - after all each of these writers brings with them a distinct style.
The book, however, hangs together so well that without knowledge of the above, you'd think it was written by one author
How did they do it? According to the extra's (yes this book has extra's just like a DVD) at the end of the novel they chose particular characters to write for the length of the novel. The book isn't structured in normal chapters but rather told from the points of view of the various main characters and specific villains.
Value for money
Now I received a free review copy, but I would have been more than happy with paying $5-6 (it actually retails for $2.99)for the book. In addition to the story you get:
- An interview with the 4 authors
- Bio's and excerpts for their latest individual works
- 3 short stories
- Deleted "scenes" and author commentary on why they we left out or altered
If you like fast paced thriller action, a touch of gore and dark comedy I think you'll really enjoy this work.
Oh and did I mention that it's:
- DRM free so you can convert it using Calibre for the device of your choice.
- The book website can be found here
Disclaimer: This is a review copy of the final product, provided by the authors.