Book Review: ‘Dracula the Un-dead’ by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt

*written in 2014.

There have been several sequels to Bram Stoker’s literary classic Dracula. Only one of them however, was written by a member of the Stoker clan.

Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker teamed up with Ian Holt to pen this novel, which was ambitious and interesting.

I guess that being a family member gives Dacre some justification for continuing the tale, as countless others have sequelized and bastardized the Dracula name for well over a century. If everyone and their mother has a right to touch Dracula, then why not Bram Stoker’s own kin?

A problem I have, is that Dacre wanted to clear up a lot of inconsistencies in his great-granduncle’s classic novel. Family or not, I feel like criticizing the work you are trying to build off of is a bit bizarre and kind of dismissive of what Bram Stoker created.

This book falls victim to a few things.

Most notably, like many modern updates of classic stories, it tries to string together a bunch of unrelated historical and fictional elements. This book ties Dracula to Elizabeth Bathory, Jack the Ripper and the Titanic. I’m not going to spoil it and tell you how, other than to say that Bathory is the villain of this story.

Additionally, Dracula is sort of the hero and the younger Stoker, whether he realized it or not, turns the elder Stoker’s classic tale into just one big misunderstanding, as Dracula wasn’t the villain in the original story but was in fact in London to kill Bathory (who is also his cousin, by the way).

Calling this book a mess isn’t really accurate. It is full of interesting ideas but it more than pales in comparison to the great work it is based off of. I would expect a book like this from an author trying to make a quick buck off of the Dracula dynasty; I wouldn’t expect it from a member of Stoker’s family, as it paints its own colorful picture while dismissing and retconning the intent of the original story.

Is it worth a read? I think so. However the almost 500 page count is a bit hefty for such an unsatisfying payoff.

And I don’t want to sound like I am bashing the book. As I said it is interesting and ambitious. It is just that with that ambition came a lot of liberties that downplay the significance of the original story.

Truthfully, creating a great book to follow what is one of the most beloved novels of all-time, is an uphill battle and very few people would be satisfied with the end result, regardless. I commend Dacre Stoker for trying and it is a decent book on its own. It just doesn’t build off of Bram Stoker’s original tale with anything truly substantial or necessary.

Rating: 7/10

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