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Initial thoughts: “Goddess bless the Stoker family. Bram’s Dracula story is a gift that keeps on giving. There is nothing I did not love about this collaboration between Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker. As a prequel, it has everything I love about the original Dracula story without messing with it. As a stand-alone, it is cleverly and convincingly portrayed to be the real story behind the story with the reasons for the 102 missing pages of Bram’s original manuscript abundantly clear. Creepy, intense, gory in the right places, great characters – it is the perfect blend of storytelling elements. Plus, like his previous novel, the Stoker family authorizes this prequel. I am most definitely a fan!”

Now: I stand by my gushing. Dracul is a genuinely entertaining and scary story that works for both Dracula fans and those who may have never read the original story. Personally, because I am a superfan, I love the idea of Bram Stoker meeting vampires and that his personal experiences are what fueled his novel. I love that a distant relative attempted to fill in the gaps of the missing manuscript. I love the “Is it true?” aspect of the authors’ notes. I especially love how formidable Bram’s sister is. Seriously, that girl did not let convention dictate anything she did. I adore how Mr. Stoker and Mr. Barker turned on their head the characteristics of the original cast of characters and played with all of the roles. Plus, I had way too much fun with the little nods to the original; it felt like my own Easter egg hunt. Still, I do think that someone who is not as familiar with the original tale will find Dracul intense and enjoy it just as much as I did.

(I loved this format of shorter, less formal reviews so much I think I am going to adopt it for the near future. Much more manageable and fun – for me at least. What do you think?)

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