Suffering from Halloween withdrawal? Don’t worry. Here’s an opportunity to relieve the symptoms. This edition of Buy, Borrow, Bypass is all about vampires.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
First published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula is considered to be the origin of the vampire as a pop culture phenomenon. Legends about vampires go back centuries, but it was Stoker who merged those legends with the legacy of the Wallachian voivode, Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the story of Count Dracula moving to England to seek new hunting grounds and the struggle to stop him. Told through journals, diaries, and letters, Dracula serves up a thrilling narrative. We get to experience the innermost thoughts and fears of the people who risk their lives to fight the vampire, most notably Professor Abraham Van Helsing and married couple Jonathan and Mina Harker. One hundred and seventeen years after it was published, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is still an exciting read.
Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
After more than a decade, Anne Rice returns to the world of The Vampire Chronicles with her latest novel, Prince Lestat. The novel tells the story of a mysterious Voice that uses the vampire gift of telepathy to turn vampires against each other. Prince Lestat is a dense, well-written story steeped in the deep history of the vampire-centered alternate universe created by Rice. To appreciate Prince Lestat you don’t need to be familiar with Rice’s previous vampire novels. However, if you would like to know more about The Vampire Chronicles—or simply refresh your memory—the novel comes with an introduction, a glossary, and two appendices.
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
The Strain is both the name of a trilogy and the title of the first part of that trilogy (the other two parts are The Fall and The Night Eternal). Bringing the monster back to vampire fiction, The Strain tells the story of the end of the world as we know it through the spread of a vampire virus. On the whole, the trilogy is an entertaining and fast-paced adventure. However, time and again, I came across inconsistencies and inaccuracies. For example, the attempt to anchor the vampires in actual history falls flat on its face because of poorly conducted historical research and confusion regarding the proper terminology of book and manuscript production.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of vampire fiction and want to know where the genre might go next, or if you’re a fan of Guillermo del Toro, my verdict is, Buy. If you’re just curious about The Strain, either as a New York Times bestseller or as a TV show on FX, then I’d say, Borrow. None of the above? Bypass.
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