This review would not be complete without mentioning the Twilight series, which has gained supernova popularity despite being a black hole quartet of books. I’m sorry, fans. They just are not that good. All these kids should be reading Anne of Green Gables instead.
Here’s the thing: I like a strong female character. I realize that not everyone does. Some people really enjoy the damsel in distress. I can appreciate that, but it’s not for me. Rosie the Riveter is the kind of woman I like to read about. Ladies who can run a business and fight like a man and battle wild animals with their bare hands, those are the kind of women I identify with.
Barring any epic one-on-one battles with a pack of wolves, a book’s got to do more than have a male lead that the narrator keeps swooning over.
I’m falling into the anti-Twilight trap. I really am unhealthily obsessed with that series. Snap out of it, Rae.
It was good.
The book is old, obviously. The language and composition is dry and difficult to get through until you hit your stride. It’s composed as a collection of documents (letters, journal entries, newspaper articles, etc…) that tell a story of a fresh-faced new lawyer who travels to Transylvania to finalize some real estate papers with a bigwig client and finds out his client is a psycho killer who has locked him into a castle with cannibalistic she-vampires.
He escapes. Bravo.
Cut to the lawyer’s fiance. She’s having her own adventures with a saccharine sweet girlfriend whose sleepwalking is freaking everyone the heck out on what’s supposed to be a nice beach vacay. Fiance’s tale culminates at the stroke of a stormy midnight, at the top of a cliff, where she finds her boring friend dead asleep in the clutches of a creepy phantom who disappears before a positive identification can be made.
Man and woman are reunited, married, then discover the psycho client and the creepy phantom are the same person, and he is living next door to a friend (who runs an insane asylum, conveniently enough). The stupid gal-pal dies, which is a plus, and the rest of the book consists of the couple collecting friends and attempting to vanquish the bad guy.
Here’s what I like about this book. Although it’s got that classic Victorian “woman in trouble” with the lady being bitten by the vampire and all the guys leaving her behind “for her own protection,” in the end, they’re obviously wrong. You know why? Because every time the guys go do fun stuff like trash a side-lair in Essex or desecrate graveyards they leave her behind, and then they pay. Something happens to them, or NOTHING happens to them, or something happens to the girl because she’s all alone.
And then it turns out that the vampire tries to escape, and they guys are totally useless at tracking him. Only the gal knows what the heck is up. Mina saves the day.
Obviously, the narrator is telling us that girls should be included in all aspects of vampire hunting. Or else it will never work.
Moral: Best book on the bucket list so far.