Count Dracula tells his own version of his fateful journey to England in 1891, presenting a surprising revision to the well-known tale. Original.
It is essentially written is somewhat of a diary format and stays very consistent with the original novel. In other words, the pace, the accounts, and overall feel of the book are in line with Bram Stoker's novel. For Dracula fans, this is a must read, since it gives a different perspective of the legend. The Transylvanian Society of Dracula even went so far as to award this book as the Best Novel inspired by Dracula in the past century. You can't get higher praise than that.
Where Saberhagen succeeds is that he does not simply flip-flop the original, turning Dracula into a beleagured victim, beset by villains. The reader may be on Dracula's side, but you don't exactly trust the guy. Dracula's "voice" is wry, self-deprecating, often annoyed, humorous and cunning. Fact is, Dracula isn't telling the WHOLE story either.
And a stinker is what we have with Saberhagen's "Dracula Tapes". Purportedly the transcript of a tape left in the vehicle of one of Mina Harker's descendants, the tapes represent the redoubtable Count's attempt at setting the record straight. Is he a decent fellow, maligned in Stoker's compilation of journal entries and letters? Or is he a liar, out to gain sympathy by weaving a tale of persecution?
Certainly, it behooves the reader to have read "An Old Friend of the Family", the first in Saberhagen's Dracula appropriations, in which the old bat arrives in Chicago to assist another set of Mina's descendants with some unpleasantness. This novel gives the reader the background requirted to accept Vlad as a good guy.
Saberhagen tries valiantly to clear Dracula's name in this book by sticking faithfully to the text of the original and refuting individual points. But the effect is unsettling and unbelievable; one has the impression that the vampire is making this all up on the spot and sounds ridiculous doing so. For example, who could possibly believe Dracula using a wolf's head as a battering ram to smash open Lucy's window?
The writing is stilted and awkward (but also was Stoker's, so who's to say Saberhagen didn't write this way on purpose?) and at its best when Drac is going head to head with the weird Van Helsing, who, in this version, is an incompetent old fool.Read more ›
CONS: A little slow, failed to keep my attention.
BOTTOM LINE: Better than the Original (at least I finished this one).
...Saberhagen apparently thought along the same lines because his Dracula Tape, told from the point of view of the Count, repeatedly points out the flaws of the original.
Unfortunately, that was the most appealing part of this book. While it made for a quick read, it suffered the same curse as the original; it was sometimes quite boring. I would like to give it another chance though...