I don’t know that I am going to finish it. I am certain it is not worth much of a review. (Strange sentiments to express in an entry with a kickback link, but there is nothing else to say.) So I’ll point out a few interesting things I learned and then point out why you should not bother reading this book.
- It was interesting that, in some ways, it looks as if Whedon went to the source.
- But vampires have come to be portrayed as much more physical than they are in Dracula. In Stoker’s novel, they are not so much supernaturally strong and mutated human bodies as they are ghosts who can animate a body and keep it going by blood. Not only Dracula but any of his own vampires can simply become immaterial and seep through cracks (thus, a vampire would never show any sign of having left or returned to a casket). In this respect, Tim Powers’ The Stress of Her Regard and Expiration Date get closer to the idea than much vampire fiction (those books are worth reading, by the way).
- Pretty amazingly Anglo-catholic. Not just crosses, but consecrated wafers are carried around as protection.
- But just to try to give you an idea of why this book requires testosterone therapy as an antidote while reading:
True to our promise, we told Mrs. Harker everything which had passed. And although she grew snowy white at times when danger had seemed to threaten her husband, and red at others when his devotion to her was manifested she listened bravely and with calmness. When we came to the part where Harker had rushed at the Count so recklessly, she clung to her husband’s arm, and held it tight as though her clinging could protect him from any harm that might come. She said nothing, however, till the narration was all done,and matters had been brought up to the present time.
Then without letting go her husband’s hand she stood up amongst us and spoke. Oh, that I could give any idea of the scene. Of that sweet, sweet, good, good woman in all the radiant beauty of her youth and animation, with the red scar on her forehead, of which she was conscious, and which we saw with grinding of our teeth, remembering whence and how it came. Her loving kindness against our grim hate. Her tender faith against all our fears and doubting. And we, knowing that so far as symbols went, she with all her goodness and purity and faith, was outcast from God.
“Jonathan,” she said, and the word sounded like music on her lips it was so full of love and tenderness, “Jonathan dear, and you all my true, true friends, I want you to bear something in mind through all this dreadful time. I know that you must fight. That you must destroy even as you destroyed the false Lucy so that the true Lucy might live hereafter. But it is not a work of hate. That poor soul who has wrought all this misery is the saddest case of all. Just think what will be his joy when he, too, is destroyed in his worser part that his better part may have spiritual immortality. You must be pitiful to him, too,though it may not hold your hands from his destruction.”
As she spoke I could see her husband’s face darken and draw together, as though the passion in him were shriveling his being to its core. Instinctively the clasp on his wife’s hand grew closer, till his knuckles looked white. She did not flinch from the pain which I knew she must have suffered, but looked at him with eyes that were more appealing than ever.
As she stopped speaking he leaped to his feet, almost tearing his hand from hers as he spoke.
“May God give him into my hand just for long enough to destroy that earthly life of him which we are aiming at. If beyond it I could send his soul forever and ever to burning hell I would do it!”
“Oh, hush! Oh, hush in the name of the good God. Don’t say such things, Jonathan, my husband, or you will crush me with fear and horror. Just think, my dear . . . I have been thinking all this long, long day of it . . . that . . . perhaps . . .some day . . . I, too, may need such pity, and that some other like you, and with equal cause for anger, may deny it to me! Oh, my husband! My husband, indeed I would have spared you such a thought had there been another way. But I pray that God may not have treasured your wild words, except as the heart-broken wail of a very loving and sorely stricken man. Oh, God, let these poor white hairs go in evidence of what he has suffered, who all his life has done no wrong, and on whom so many sorrows have come.”
We men were all in tears now. There was no resisting them, and we wept openly. She wept, too, to see that her sweeter counsels had prevailed. Her husband flung himself on his knees beside her, and putting his arms round her, hid his face in the folds of her dress. Van Helsing beckoned to us and we stole out of the room, leaving the two loving hearts alone with their God.
Honestly now, if you managed to wade through that, don’t you feel yourself turning into a woman? No, actually all women I’ve known seem pretty masculine compared to that Kincaidesque prose. The whole thing is insufferable. You virtually begin to want the vampire to kill all of them. If this was what the victorian era thought was great drama? Count me thankful that we’ve moved on.