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Posted February 23, 2009
The Dracula Dossier has an exciting premise: Bram Stoker, who would years later pen one of the most famous horror novels of all time, was somehow influenced in his later work by his experience with the famous Whitechapel murders that were attributed to Jack the Ripper. Add to the plot the interaction with Lady Jane Wilde and her rather famous son Oscar, along with other famous literary figures, and the story has the promise of something special.
Sadly, in my opinion, it fails to deliver on this promise. The story is told largely in a narrative style that is based on writings (letters and journal entries) by Mr. Stoker that cover a variety of topics from his unsatisfying career to his unfulfilling marriage to his somewhat eccentric acquaintences and friends. The problem with this style of writing is that it takes a lot time to "deliver the goods" and, as such, the payoff had better be worth the time and effort to get there. The action in the book never really picks up any steam and the languid pace makes the story hard to read for any significant lenght of time, which made it hard for me to devote much time to finishing it. Because the characters and action didn't hold my attention, I actually read parts of this book between other novels, something I rarely do. I could add specific examples of the more disappointing passages in the book, but I don't want to spoil it for others who might really enjoy the story.
I've read numerous novels with historic figures in finctional settings, and as a whole I like the genre. The ultimate decision regarding my appreciation for any given novel is still based on the plot, characters, and action, however, and the pacing of this book simply overwhelmed everything else. Of course, I'm not a big fan of Jane Austin books for the same reason, so it may simply be that I'm not cultured enough to really understand and appreciate this type of story. Still, I think that it could have been better with a slightly different approach to the storytelling, but that's just my opinion.
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Posted October 19, 2009
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