Newest Review: ... a killer known as 'Silver Knife' is cutting down vampire girls. The eternally young vampire Genevieve Dieudonne and Charles Beauregard of ... more
Anno Dracula............... .and Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes................ ........
Anno Dracula - Kim Newman
Member Name: Mummy_to_2
Anno Dracula - Kim Newman
Advantages: Witty way of writing, characters, storyline, extras
Disadvantages: Quick ending, some weak main characters
It is currently priced at £6.23 for a new copy and around £3 for a used one, these prices are from the Amazon website, this is the new annotated 2011 version (with extra bits) so this is the version I shall be reviewing. Reprinted by Titan books LTD.
The novel was originally written in 1992 by author Kim Newman, and is the first instalment of the 'Anno Dracula' series (in which there are 4 books).
The main story is consists of 424 pages set in 57 chapters, although with the extra bits such as annotations etc the book consists of 547 written pages.
The front cover looks and reads like a vintage 'show' poster in creams, reds and black, giving you the name's of the major characters and a 'feel' for the story, there are the usual critic reviews and the synopsis.
Seeing as I love all these strange including killer novels and vampires, this to me sounded like the perfect novel for the recent chilly nights in.
The book cover synopsis as follows......................
'It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. His polluted bloodline spreads through London as its citizens increasingly choose to become vampires.
In the grim backstreets of Whitechapel, a killer known as 'Silver Knife' is cutting down vampire girls. The eternally young vampire Genevieve Dieudonne and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes club are drawn together as they both bunt the sadistic killer, bringing them ever closer to England's most bloodthirsty ruler yet...............'
***CHARACTERS AND PLACES***
The story is set in the year 1888, and mainly focuses on the east end of London namely Whitechapel and occasionally the Docks, although other places are mentioned throughout the story such as Chelsea, Buckingham Palace and the Diogenes club building.
Namely while it focuses on life in Whitechapel, it mainly focuses on Toynbee Hall and the sites associated with the 'Ripper' murders (Millers court and Mitre Square).
The main characters overall are that of Charles Beauregard - the Diogenes club spy stroke detective and Genevieve Dieudonne - the 'good' vampire who is around 500 years old! I did enjoy these characters although I think the lead male role could have been slightly more explored as the lead female was, and I also didn't like the old 'falling in love' story (a bit too Twilight for me!').
There is of course the split character of the 'Ripper' and the 'doctor'( I wont say who as not to ruin it) and sadly from the outset you know who it is- this I found quite sad as I was expecting a sort of whodunit but it turned into a will the realised whodunit!!
There are also some characters with a slightly lesser roles including 'Kate reed' the vamp reporter, 'Lord Ruthven' the Prime Minister and strangely a clergyman come protester 'John Jago'.
Surprisingly Prince Dracula and the Queen only appear in the last chapter; this surprised me because as the books are generally based on these characters and events started by them I was expecting more input from them.
For me though my favourite character has to be 'John Merrick' or 'the elephant man' although he is only in the last chapter and nothing is known about him etc, he becomes a sort of mini hero and helps the leads escape, the way he is written though makes you want him to survive and make it!
For me the book seemed to end to quickly and on a sort of cliff-hanger, yes the villains are booked to rights and good outweighs evil etc it seemed to me like the ending was rushed and almost became an afterthought, not really explaining what happens and how the characters develop, to be honest I thought the story was longer as I hadn't realised the extra bits at the start and thought it was another 300 or so pages longer. AAnother point is as I said the character that is a running theme in the book is hardly present and it would have been good to hear more about him and his escapades etc.
That said I absolutely love the style and idea of this book, I find it very clever, Newman's idea of taking many books and characters real and mythical is amazing, I love the idea of Sherlock Holmes being sent to a Vampire concentration camp because he resists the vampires.
On that line I think Kim Newman did very well in not over doing it, for example there were a lot of other characters that could have been added to the story and weren't as the wouldn't have 'fitted in'. Overall I loved this book and apart from the minor things wrong that I've stated I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the next instalment. In my opinion it is an expertly written book and a very good read.
***THE EXTRA BITS***
Like I said at the beginning the revised 2011 version has some 'extras', these are
-Annotation of each chapter
-The alternate ending of the story
-Extracts from the movie script
-'Drac the Ripper' an article by Kim Newman
-'Dead travel fast' a short story by Kim Newman.
These I found ok, having read the alternate version, I admit I prefer the chosen one, the movie extract reads like a script and I didn't really enjoy it as it was quite close to the story I had just read.
For me the interesting parts were the annotations, article and the short story, all three of which are interesting and fun to read. The annotation part basically tells you which books were included in each chapter and where the characters and ideas came from.
'Drac the Ripper' is putting forward the argument of what if Dracula were actually the Ripper and a short history in who has played the Ripper etc.
'Dead travel fast' is from the 'unforgivable stories' collection from 2001, and has some of the characters from the book in, it is quite a good little read though...........
Summary: A fantastic book but the ending could have been better