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Thanks to Titan Books for the free copy in exchange for my honest review
DRACULA’S CHILD – J.S. Barnes (Released May 12th, 2020)
It has been some years since Jonathan and Mina Harker survived their ordeal in Transylvania and, vanquishing Count Dracula, returned to England to try and live ordinary lives. But shadows linger long in this world of blood feud and superstition – and, the older their son Quincy gets, the deeper the shadows that lengthen at the heart of the Harkers’ marriage. Jonathan has turned back to drink; Mina finds herself isolated inside the confines of her own family; Quincy himself struggles to live up to a family of such high renown. And when a gathering of old friends leads to unexpected tragedy, the very particular wounds in the heart of the Harkers’ marriage are about to be exposed…
There is darkness both within the marriage and without – for, while Jonathan and Mina wrestle with the right way to raise a child while still recovering from the trauma of their past lives, new evil is arising on the Continent. A naturalist is bringing a new species of bat back to London; two English gentlemen, on their separate tours of the continent, find a strange quixotic love for each other, and stumble into a calamity far worse than either has imagined; and the vestiges of something thought long-ago forgotten is, finally, beginning to stir…
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
Having recently read Dracula as a book club pick I was really curious to see how DRACULA’S CHILD was going to compare to the original text. Whether it’s in film or books, I feel like we see a lot of Dracula stories, and none seem to come close to capturing the same atmosphere and feeling of the original book. That being said, I think Barnes did an incredible job capturing the same overall tone and tension that we experienced when reading Dracula.
While I don’t think you need to read Dracula before this, because I feel that most people have the basic idea on the story, I think it’s definitely worth the read (or reread). Told in a similar format, the story is told through a series of letters, articles, and diary entries through multiple POV’s. Not only is the Harker’s son experiencing strange fits and acting out, but similar sinister events are occurring all over and these all point to one conclusion: Dracula is back and hellbent on exacting his revenge on the Harker family.
The slow building feeling of dread and fear is evident from start to finish, and I will say that I was not expecting that ending. I think what readers loved the most from Stoker’s novel was the eerie atmosphere, the slow building tension, and the horror throughout. Well, I think Barnes managed to weave in all of these elements and delivered a memorable follow-up to a classic.
Little Q&A (for Instagram Caption)
Q. What do you think the appeal is for modern authors to go back and rewrite, or write sequels to, classic texts?
A. The best stories never quite seem finished. They have a resonance to them, a sense that the lives of these characters will go on beyond the confines of the final page. And this is rarely more true than in Stoker’s Dracula. Indeed, the Count’s promise to seek his revenge seems to hint at the inevitability of a follow-up.