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…
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke
I’ve always been a massive fan of Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula’ so I was incredibly excited when I had to opportunity to read Dracula’s Child. The story takes place ten years after the original novel’s events after Abraham Van Helsing destroyed the evil Count Dracula. In this novel, we follow Jonathan and Mina Harker, who are still dealing with the trauma and aftermath of those horrific events. Then, something happens on the eve of their son Quincy’s 13th birthday leading to a descent into darkness for everyone involved as it quickly becomes clear that the evil may not be gone after all. Thus begins a fight not only for Quincy’s soul but for the lives of everyone around him.
What I loved about this captivating book is how it’s in the same epistolary format as the first and written in the form of letters, found documents, newspaper clippings, and diary entries. Like the original, the story is also told through multiple points of view, allowing us to experience the story from several different angles, viewpoints, and voices.
It was so true to the original and so atmospheric that I felt as though I were reading a sequel penned by Stoker himself. It even had that same suspenseful slow burn aspect to it as what was really going on was slowly revealed by the author.
Additionally, the characterization was spot on and utterly faithful to the original. It was so compelling to watch the new terror unfold as many of our favorite characters from the original story are forced to face an unspeakable horror and make some impossible decisions. There are also plenty of new characters as well as a new and original plotline to add to the intrigue of the story.
I thought this book really stood up well to the original and what we end up with here is a gothic story as timeless as the original Dracula. The story’s ever-darkening atmosphere had an increasing feeling of foreboding and menace to it as the events slowly unraveled, revealing quite a twisty, multi-layered heart-in-your-throat tale.
Though this book does stand on its own, I’d recommend reading the original first as there were plenty of references to that book’s events. It will also help the reader better understand the characters and their motivations.
All in all, I thought this was a phenomenal and unputdownable novel. Barnes has succeeded in creating here an intense, troubling, and complex story just as dark and creepy as the original, and I thought that the blend of human horror and the human heart is expertly achieved. Dracula’s Child is an outstanding balancing act that walks a thin line between being an ode to classic horror and a nightmarish and original modern-day suspense story all its own.
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