Professor of Victorian and Gothic (and Victorian Gothic) literature, avid reader of loose and baggy monsters, dedicated aesthete.
Kim Newman's meticulously researched Anno Dracula is a marvel of plotting and a love letter to the fantastical curios of Victorian fiction. While Dracula is the most extensively referenced text, characters created by Conan Doyle, Wells, Haggard, Kipling, Hodgson, Rohmer, Dickens, Wilde, and Shaw are seamlessly blended with historical figures to create a world that, more than any other attempt (e.g. Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentleman) feels like a distillation of the Victorian era, obsessed with its obsessions and more literal than the historical reality. All of that is without mentioning the wealth of vampire fiction that is drawn in. Nearly every historically appropriate vampire from literature, film, television, comic books, and folktales, no matter how trashy or obscure, finds purchase in this narrative--each a wonderfully accurate representation while still feeling like an authentic part of this narrative.
Unlike the almost overwhelming barrage of referential and nostalgia-based entertainment of the present day, the pleasures of arcana are only a small part of the narrative delight. Much like its source material, Anno Dracula is not a novel about ghoulish delight in blood and death but rather a novel about the horrors of everyday compromise. Vampirism, under Newman's disciplined hand, does not supplant the issues of class and race that so stratified Victorian society, rather it enhances them: forcing its characters to confront uncomfortable truths about their values, the source of their comfort, and their ability to find forward momentum in an age of torpor.
The novel is also beautifully melancholy. It eschews the climactic violence of most horror novels for the kind of quiet grief and creeping existential dread that follows in its wake. Newman writes a world where tragedy does not destroy so much as paralyze--a world that would have been intriguingly, perversely familiar to Ruskin, Gibbon, Arnold and other social critics of the age.
In short, in an era where most of our fantastical Victorian sensibilities are linked to the meritocratic anachronism of Steampunk--more interested in the aesthetic trappings of the century than the moral or philosophical concerns--Anno Dracula is a refreshingly authentic bit of Victoriana written as a companion to the great novels of its setting, rather than the cheap thrills of its own age.
William Gaminara was excellent. Book was dull.
Great voice changes. Good pacing.
Moments of good world building. But mostly tedious discussions.
There are much better books.
Yes, they might like it if they like books on the history of vampires, in general or of Dracula, in particular.
I was not particularly impressed with the book...thought little about the ending.
It was okay. Nothing exceptional. Hard to follow the accent, at times.
Say something about yourself!
There's so much to love about this book. If you're not familiar with the idea beyond the Wold Newton Universe, this book is an excellent place to start. The more classic Victorian literature you're familiar with, the better this book gets, and more geek-out-loud moments there are. And if you don't know any of it, it doesn't stop you from enjoying a fun vampire adventure. Predictable? Certainly. But in a good way.
Although the premise of this novel is the hunt for the mysterious Jack the Ripper, readers become acquainted with his true identity early on. The mystery in this clever and entertaining novel are the forces in play behind the scene.
Anno Dracula started out slowly for me, and early on I thought it would probably be a "put down" (i.e., maybe I'll read it later). Fortunately however (and for this very reason), I try to give every book a shot, and this one rewarded me for it. It's a fast-paced, confusing (but in the way a mystery is supposed to confuse you; not bad writing), sometimes amusing, sometimes gory read.
Newman sets up an 1880s London which is fairly plausible, if one first accepts that Queen Victoria has taken as her new consort, Dracula of Wallachia. Vampirism has become THE social distinction, with social-climbing "norms" scheming to become undead. The book is well-researched, blending history,literature and mythology so well that it's hard to distinguish them from one another. Newman has obviously taken inspiration from many other great vampire works from the Nineteenth Century to the present, and in a classy touch, he unobtrusively references them throughout the book. I'm sure I missed several.
The narrator seems very well-suited to this genre & time-period.
No, the story rambles and then just stops. I finished it and was still wondering why I had bothered.
The edition of the book featuring the cover used to advertise this performance contains additional material not present here, leaving me feelung a bit cheated. The description should include mention of this, if it doesn't (I didn't check, judging an audio file set by its cover.)
For background, my favorite authors are George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Jacqueline Carey, Ken Follett, Bernard Cornwell, Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher and Margaret George. My favorite illustrators are Johanna Basford, Millie Marotta, Richard Merritt, and Claire Scully (just to name a few).
I read this book back when it was first published and have always had a fondness for it thanks to its different take on the Dracula tale as well as the spin of Jack the Ripper. I figured I would try the audio version of it and I wasn't disappointed.
It isn't the best vampire tale I've ever read but I do like it a lot. I liked the alternate history the author created and I enjoyed the appearances of various people one would recognize from both reality and fiction.
The narrator wasn't bad but at times when using accents it was a little hard to understand if you weren't paying attention.
In the end it was worth the $5 I paid for it but I don't think I would continue the series because I had always felt this book was just fine as a standalone.
An interesting idea...London is now a night city, with a large number of vampires wandering around a city ruled by Queen Victoria and her new Prince Consort...a certain undead Wallachian prince, who arrived in England a scant few years ago. The story is populated with familiar names from Victorian-era history and fiction....Sherlock Holmes is in a prison camp somewhere, but his brother Mycroft is still sitting in his club and his foil Inspector Lestrade is on the case, and so on.
In this setting, someone starts killing vampiric ladies of the night (in the traditional sense of the term). Someone known as "Jack the Ripper." Against this, various groups seek to solve the case while dealing with political unrest and London deals with the brave new world of vampires and the "warm."
I found the story starting out slowly, but picked up as it went along. But the ending was somewhat predictable...I found it worth listening to, but I won't bother listening to it again.
The way everything was tied together, so many famous and well known characters sewn in seemlessly. The way the world was set up and organized so naturally.
The author managed to make a type of vampire that includes all the sexiness and attraction that most people think of when they think vampire, but also managed to make them as horrible and terrifying as any other type of monster. Mysterious beauty? Check. Horrifying _thing_ with too many limbs or joints, Check!
He has a rare bombo of gifts: Perfectly done accents and he does women's voices really well. He was a delight to listen to.
"Victoria: Vampire Queen of England"