Dracul – Book 1 – 2020

Dracul – J.D. Barker

I finished this a couple of weeks ago. Just other things came up and I somehow, feel like I have been running around like a mad person. Yet, at the same time I don’t really think I have, it just feels that way.

Anyway, coming back to the actual topic at hand. Dracul, a prequel to the original Bram Stoker Dracula. This was selected as a book club read. Well, given that I couldn’t finish this book in that month probably reveals a little bit about how I felt. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. It was one of those books that just didn’t suck me in. (Ha yes I get it).

The writing was good. I felt like a typical nerd that was clever purely because of the books that they read. The physical world building was very well detailed. The details of the family were well developed and they did set the mystery question quite early.

That question being… What are you?

Bram Stoker is the main character of this story, along with his older sister Matilda, and I think he was the oldest brother Thornley. When Bram was young he was ill, magically cured by Nanna Ellen, but his parents will forever deny that she did anything. Leeches… the greatest cure… ew. No thanks. Anyway, since then Bram hasn’t been normal. I’m a little confused however, as to why Matilda ends up being the one with the obsession. The obsession to find out what Ellen Crone was, and what she did to Bram.

Matilda drags Bram into her investigation which inevitably drags in the oldest who is having issues of his own. By the end of it, they go on this mad race against Dracula.

Now… not being too picky. But…

Even though the characters physically see Dracula with Thornley’s wife. He somehow remains in denial.

Matilda’s questions, I suppose are answered, but then what? Her involvement in the end is nothing. She was the motivator for this investigation. Then she just faded into normalcy. What…?

Then Bram. There is a moment at the end of the book that I am not quite sure I understand. **Spoiler** (Unless you have read Dracula and this comes up). Bram goes with Ellen to watch her be locked inside what is essentially a Tomb. Her heart staked with an iron rod, not to kill her, but to forever torture her. Then that’s it Dracula sets the humans free without harm.

Question – Why would Dracula allow him to witness that? Because no one will ever find it again even if they had been there? Ellen gave Bram a note about killing Dracula. Now not being to … whaaat… about it but why would Dracula allow that? Granted he made a promise. Granted he might not have known that Ellen was going to slip Bram a note. But still why would you let him join just to watch? What did that accomplish? Really?

Another Question – Isn’t dracula meant to be all evil? Promises with evil won’t mean anything. I’m not quite sure what benefit to Dracula that would be? So why would he do that? This is meant to be old school Dracula that was nothing but evil and had no heart to feel love. You know, proper religious “The demons are coming!”. So… again what?

Also, can someone tell me if a character by the name of Ellen Crone ever reappears in the original Dracula book, because if she doesn’t then her whole story was just a waste of my life.

This whole book was a gothic love story turned tragedy. There wasn’t even an explanation as to why Ellen became what she did. If everyone that had died the way she did, which I guarantee you would be many then you wouldn’t have one, you’d have many of those beings walking around.

It was well written, and for those of you who like your gothic novels this is a good one to go for. Just, I couldn’t really feel for the characters, and it left me with more questions than answers. It wasn’t particularly for me.