For a dedicated American doctor, he promises the medical breakthrough of a lifetime, as well as a very special love she's never been able to find. But he also conceals a shockingly intimate link to a clan of vampires and their legendary leader - the fiend the world calls Vlad Dracula, who, for centuries, has triumphed over countless rival tyrants, including death itself.
©2008 Dan Simmons; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio
"Count Dracula kicks off the coffin lid again in this updated vampire tale....the book offers a mesmerizing tour through the ghostly, gray tatters of Romania." (Publishers Weekly)
"Neatly ties the vampire legend into political history to create a new and clever twist to the idea of the vampire's craving for blood." (Library Journal)
"Toothsomely well written." (Kirkus Reviews)
I read the print version a few years ago & quite enjoyed it. When I got the audiobook, I was looking forward to many hours' worth of chores being vastly more entertaining....but. The audio version bogs down occasionally, such as during the longer, more detailed CDC research discussions (& I'm a biologist & researcher myself!). The real problem with the audio version is the narrator. Mr Ralph has one of those whiskey/smoky gruff voices which I usually like, but his leaves me wanting to cough & clear my throat repeatedly. Also, he never pauses at appropriate spots --such as when between chapters or drastic scene jumps-- and it can leave the listener disoriented for a moment. Worst of all, when he alters his voice for the male characters, some end up sounding just like Rodney Dangerfield. I kept waiting for ex-husband Tom, who shows up a lot, to say "I don't get no respect!" or "Take my wife --please!" Jerks one out of the dark, suspenseful world of the book, to say the least.
I’m shocked and disappointed that this book got so many bad reviews. I have never read a Dan Simmons book that was less than masterful, and this book is no exception. As always, his research is impeccable, which allows him to make a distant world vivid. The characters are compelling (one of them is from Children of Night, where he is much younger).
Other reviews have complained of boring stretches and romance. Some parts go into biology details, but I found these parts fascinating (and they are important to the story). As for the romance, well, I have no idea why a love interest is a bad thing. The characters are human, after all, and humans have love interests, so it’s quite realistic. But even if you dislike a bit of romance, don’t let that deter you from reading, because it’s actually quite a small aspect of the book.
I enjoyed the reader. None of his voices are irritating, and one of them is done exceedingly well. I feel that his performance enhanced my reading experience.
If you can get through the mind numbingly brutal and despairing first few chapters which detail a trip to post revolution Romania by a cadre of wealthy industrialists, medicos and religious leaders the listener will be rewarded with an intriguingly 'modern' and unique twist on the legend of Dracula. While some of the science seems a bit stale and dated (considering the publication date of this novel that's actually impressive as one would think it would have grown trite by now) and some of the later plot twists are somewhat obvious. Nonetheless Simmons does an excellent job of creating a what if world wherein Vampires are very real and so is the son of the dragon. Now if only Summer of Night were brought to audio :)
I haven't read the print version, but I laughed when I read Kelly Howard's review after I finished it because I kept thinking Rodney Dangerfield too. I also felt that the reader didn't pause enough between chapters and scenes and it really left me unbalanced at times.
It was a new twist on the Dracula story and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Dan Simmons is one of my new favorite authors.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
This is like two books in one. You got this really gross gory story about Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) and then you have this chick story. They are thrown together, but not very well. I understand that DS has researched his stuff and this is kind of a historical fiction. I was turned off from the start, as DS decides that he must put down rich people who go to foreign countries to adopt children. He insults them several times in the first nine chapters and then his main character adopts a child from Romania! He goes into long boring descriptions of a lot of things. Parts of the book are as dry as reading Scientific America. I guess he wants everyone to know that he actually visited the area or that he can read a map, as there are a couple of parts of the book where they main characters take trips and we get a run down of the seven or eight highways they are going to take and when they are blocked the back roads they must take. There is one good sex scene which takes place between the main character and a priest. Most of the parts about Kate read like something from chick lit, while the parts about Vlad are quite the opposite. Warning when the narrator headlines Dreams of Blood and Iron, beware that a lot of very gross stuff is about to happen. I am always amazed at how cruel humans can be to each other. Vlad, who is several centuries old laughs at Hitler, as he is nowhere near as cruel as Vlad is and I have to agree. I probably should not admit that these were my favorite parts of the book. If he had just stuck to the story of Vlad the book would have been much much better. I never really cared for Kate. The narrator takes some getting used to, he is nowhere close to the late Frank Muller. Sometimes he gets his voice for his characters mixed up and all the males sound like biker dudes.
Vampires, kidnapped babies, scientific mysteries, international intrigue, romance, Dan Simmons....How could it have turned into such a tedious listen???? I am convinced that Mr. Simmons needed a way to make his trip to Hungary tax-deductible. He clearly did not give the plot of this novel much thought. As the reviewers have said, the narrator was not great (and some of the characters did end up sounding ridiculous), but the author was much more to blame for this audible failure.
Good story - worth a listen. The narrator could be better, but doesn't qualify as 'bad'. The story can be a little drawn out in areas, but a good, fairly 'traditional' vampire story.
It is hard to believe that this was written by the same Dan Simmons who created Drood, The Terror, The Black Hills and the Hyperion series.
Most of his recent historical, horrorhh; novels such as Drood and Black Hills have been extraordinary. This makes Children of the Night; that much more hard to accept. Unlike his other work, Children is derivative and uninteresting. The story is not intrinsically bad. The tale of an American scientist to adopts a sick, Romanian infant and finds that the child is not only a vampire, but holds the key to curing countless diseases should keep our attention and give Simmons the canvas he needs to produce the challenging, thought-provoking that is his trademark. How it became this charmless drivel is beyond my understanding.
An accessory crime was committed by the narrator. His silly accents, inability to give most characters their own voice, and consistent mispronunciations add the final, unnecessary touch to this disaster.
Dan Simmons can be a brilliant writer, but that is not in evidence here. The characters are not well drawn, especially the main protagonist, Kate. Her character is totally improbable and really whiney. It may be the way the narrator chooses to voice her, but she is so whiney and self, or child, absorbed that I couldn't care enough about her or Joshua to enjoy the book. The narrator is good, but not great. He doesn't seem to pause in the best place and the inflections he uses really colored my view of the characters in negative ways. The male characters are much better written and the narrator's choices made the female characters even worse. The actual story isn't great, but this is still one book I wish I had "read" on paper.
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