It was so worth the wait! Plot twists, danger, angst, humor and steamier-than-book-one romance topped off by another stellar performance by Tavia Gilbert. I couldn't put it down, even through the work day whenever I could sneak a listen.
I've read a lot of Vlad over the years but I think Frost's development of his character is by far the best. Based on the historical character, she makes no excuses for his vampire world view, which is sometimes brutal, while giving us insights into what's made him into the man and vampire he is.
Vlad is THE ally to have, indeed! He comes to the aid of the Southerland family, Mina's descendants, when evil strikes. his story sets the stage for the rest of the stories that follow that take place in present time. Easily one of my favorites in this series, made are the more enjoyable by Robin Bloodworth's excellent performance.
This time it is Dracula who must rescue his nephew (though in this book Holmes is referred to as his cousin, even though in the preceding book Dracula identified him as a nephew of sorts).
Told much of the time from Watson's perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed his character. Forced to acknowledge the existence of vampires in the Holmes-Dracula file, he nonetheless is reticent to summon the Prince when Holmes is abducted, even though he knows it is the best course of action. Even so, the two men form an uneasy alliance in order to discover what has happened to Holmes. Throw in a crazy former pirate vampire in search of a lost treasure, and it is lots of fun and intrigue. I won't spoil it here for you, but the resolution of the treasure hunt was an interesting twist.
I wish Saberhagen had been able to pen a few more of these stories. As always, Robin Bloodworth's performance is top notch!
I read this book out of order, but I don't think that matters much for this story. I love Robin Bloodworth's portrayal, but the story itself is much darker and lacks cohesion. There really isn't much Dracula in this story as he takes a secondary seat to other characters and crops up infrequently, and at the end.
As the plot unfolds, we find several different events converging together to create the main plot, but many times they lack important connecting elements to help the reader understand what's going on.
I'm still trying to decide if Saberhagen did this on purpose because he wanted the readers to fill in the blanks with their own ideas, or if the good stuff ended up being edited out or he was just out of inspiration. I guess we will never know!
I love this series, and am delighted to see we get to hear Robin's voice through all of them. I so wish it wasn't too late to send a fan letter to Fred Saberhagen. I loved these books when they were first out, and reading them all these years later is like meeting up with a dear old friend.
I will confess that I first read this book when it was new in 1975, as a teenager. I was delighted to find it here, along with rest of the series, and also afraid that my long-ago impressions would be tainted by my childhood memories. I am delighted to say its as good now, better even, than I remembered.
This was my first Dracula story and remains my favorite to this day. Dracula asks us to consider the Stoker story from his point of view, complete with rambling reminisces, dark humor, his profound disdain of his nemesis, Abraham VanHelsing, and some unlikely and humorous situations he finds himself in while acclimating to the "modern" mid-19th century world (such as passing himself off as a "portable closet" salesman when one of his crates of earth is discovered).
Bloodworth's portrayal is nothing short of amazing, whether as Dracula in present time, in the past with his Transylvania accent, Renfield or VanHelsing, you cannot help but be drawn in to the story. If I didn't know better, I'd say he was the Prince of Darkness himself.
I am still not sure who the reluctant vampire is, but I was definitely a reluctant reader. The whole "Marguerite says you are life mates" line is getting very old.
Despite the story being rather long in the tooth (pun totally intended), the performer did a great job with the female voices and accents. I don't know why all her male characterizations have to sound so Forrest Gump-like to me, but they do. Just because a fellow with the name Tiny is a big buy, it doesn't mean he has to sound like he's punch-drunk.
I will say that I learned that skunks are native to North America, but you'd think even a European vampire would've seen an episode or two of Looney Tunes in her long lifetime and realized that odd flat looking kitty with the white stripe down its back is, indeed, Peppy LePew!. That part in the book was hilarious.
I have listened to all of the available books in the Night Huntress realm, and I cannot say how much I enjoy hearing Tavia Glibert perform each one. It lends a welcome consistency to my vision of the characters. If you listen to and/or read enough series books (not just this one), you soon realize that many have redundant themes, and even redundant scenes, but not these. Each story is unique and entertaining. While the bad guys usually get their butts handed to them in the end and we learn more about our favorite vamps along the way, Frost does a stellar job of planting the seeds for the next story, whether it's in this series or one of the spin-offs.
There was plenty of humor and great secondary characters to liven things up, which was a good thing. Without them, this story would've fallen flat. I was disappointed in the lack of intrigue - I saw a glimmer of possibility when the taste-testing went awry, but it never happened. Still, a fun romance for romance's sake.
I know some reviewers don't care for the male performer, but I found his pace and voice acceptable.
I've listened to a few of the Argeneau books, but this was my first in the Rogue Hunter series. This is book 3, and while it would be helpful to know some of the other Argeneau history, you don't need to read the others in this series to understand what's going on.
I was pleasantly surprised by the edgier story line than the more light-hearted Argeneau books...until the end, that is. I won't spoil it for you, but the end left me wondering if this was the vampire version of "who shot JR?" from the old Dallas TV show.
The performance by Kirby Heyborne was acceptable, though the pace of the narration was a little slow for me - not how I would imagine the characters would really sound. Most of the characters' voices weren't all that different, with the notable exception of Lucien Argeneau, which really stood out. I'd listen to Kirby do Lucien all day long.
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