Dracula lives! He has infiltrated his way into court and taken his place beside Queen Victoria. Those who tried to destroy him are nothing more than shrivelled heads on the pikes outside the palace. Vampires are flooding London society. But in Whitechapel, someone is brutally slaying female vampires and it falls to ancient vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the infamous Diogenes Club to rid the streets of the killer.
I read Anno Dracula after signing up for a book club with the author, so the impending deadline may have affected my overall enjoyment. However it did take me a long time to get into the story; there are so many characters, even if many are familiar. I wouldn’t suggest reading this without having read Dracula, and quite recently (unless you are an uber fan). The characters aren’t just from Dracula, but other novels, either its contemporaries or set in the same timeline. The result is a rather interesting take on historical fiction, with the exception of Jack the Ripper, it’s a fiction based on fictional characters, rather than using persons of interest from history.
The book club discussion with Kim Newman was still interesting despite me not falling in love with the book. The piecing together of others’ fictional characters is clearly at the heart of this series and something Newman really enjoys. I asked about the decision to use Jack the Ripper, whether it was an interest in him or just the convenience of his place in history. The serial killer provides the backbone to the novel and also a timeline that allows the story to take place over several weeks.
I liked Geneviève’s story most of all and I wish she had more page space. She’s older than Dracula but hasn’t turned into a monster. She’s been hiding from humans most her long life (or death) but hasn’t turned against them. The relationship between her and Beauregard gives the novel a bit more of an emotional touch. My main quibble is that there’s just too much going on for anyone one thing to really shine.
Anno Dracula has turned into a series, but one where each book takes place in a different moment in time; something that can be done with vampires of course. There’s no need to keep within the lifetime of an average human. Newman did say that he would find it hard to set the next book in recent history; we don’t have the same distance that allows a certain freedom in stories set further away. He has pondered a far future setting as well as moving East; perhaps bringing back that scary Chinese vampire assassin!
Also reviewed @ Book World In My Head
Shelve next to: Dracula by Bram Stoker
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