Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dracula My Love - Book Review

Urgently, he brought his mouth back to mine.  As his kiss deepened and his body pressed closely against mine, it seemed to me as if we were two halves making up a perfect whole.  We caressed each other with our hands.  All at once, I felt frustrated by the clothing which separated us, overwhelmed with a yearning to touch his bare flesh and feel his flesh against mine.  I heard his thoughts; they mirrored my own.  With his lips on mine, he swept the cloak I was wearing from my shoulders.  His hand caressed my waist, my back, my arms, and then swept up to settle on my breast.  My eyes closed, and I gave a little gasp.  I heard his heavy breath in my ear and felt him pressed hard against me.
"Ah, my love," he murmured against my lips.  "I ache for you."

I read a few conflicting reviews on this book before I finally decided to read it, most of them taking Syrie James novel Dracula, My Love to task for romanticizing Bram Stoker's novel...which some reviewers say was not romantic at all.
I would not necessarily call Bram Stoker's Dracula romantic, but there is a definite tension (other than the obvious) between Dracula and the other characters in the story...most specifically between Dracula and Mina.

I've been a Dracula fan for as long as I can remember.
Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of my favorite pieces of literature, if not my favorite.  I love the dark descriptive language and the conflict between the so called monster and those whose paths cross his.
Who doesn't like a doppleganger?

I tend to side with monsters whose lives are complicated.  They are monsters in so many ways, but there are reasons that they are those monsters.  Reasons that we can all sympathize with.  Complicated monsters have enough humanity that we are encouraged to like them...find the good in them...even though they oftentimes lose their cool and tear other characters' throats out.
How would it be to fall in love with a monster like that?

Some relationships, no matter how real and vital, are too extreme, too dangerous, too exhausting to survive. p. 457

Naively and romantically (which is ironic, since I am not necessarily a romantic), I've always wanted there to be a way Mina and Dracula to be together.
I've always wanted Mina to love Dracula of her own free will though...and for both of them to "live" their "lives" together and apart.
Why can't they just each have it all??

Besides the deepening relationship between Dracula and Mina, this book delivers an honest look at Mina, the time in which she lived, her life as an orphan, growing up with Jonathan, her life as an independent minded woman before her time and her love for two men, the path that she should choose and the path that she should walk away from.  

Mina loves both Jonathan and Dracula.
She cannot choose one or the other, and her conflicting emotions over her feelings are believable and realistic.  She is overcome by her passion for Dracula and her need to be with him forever but never completely lets go of the guilt she feels for committing "adultery in her mind" or the fear of becoming "UnDead."

Mina's love for Jonathan is one of true friendship, security and symbolizes the expected path.
Her love for Dracula is emotional, dangerous, passionate and symbolizes the completely unacceptable path.
This theme is woven throughout the story as Mina's heritage is traced all the way back to Dracula through her mother, a gypsy...and ends with Jonathan when her gypsy mother brings her to the orphanage symbolizing a move from a dark nomadic existence to the light of a proper life.

This book also delivers a profound look at Dracula himself, his history, his own past, his loves, his fight against evil and then finally his turning into a vampire.
Dracula did not choose to become a vampire but attempts to reside harmoniously with the villagers, gypsies and animals in Transylvania. 
Dracula's love for Mina is so deep that he is willing to let her live out the rest of her mortal life with Jonathan, have children etc. and then to turn her into a vampire the day she dies to spend the rest of eternity with him.
Dracula's love for Mina is so encompassing that his existence is not worth continuing if he has to continue it without Mina.

Dracula ain't a wimp, though.
He's more than willing to kick the arse of anyone who gets in his way or especially anyone who threatens Mina.
He also makes a chilling switch to the monster when his emotions get the best of him.
Reminds me of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde at times.

Syrie James story stays honestly with the original story but in a way that makes the reader feel like the story is new. 
The ending is, of course, the same, and I honestly didn't want it to be.
At the same time, I probably would have felt like the story was false if James had re-written the end.

However, I do think James left some openings for those of us who want to see possibilities...
is Dracula really dead...or did he realize that everyone, including Mina needed to think he was dead for Mina to be able to live out her mortal life?
Is there a reason Mina's son is born with blue eyes and darker hair than Jonathan's?
The story opens and closes with Mina remembering how Dracula made her feel and her "longing" for his company, including premonitions that he is out there somewhere...



1 comment:

  1. HI
    Followed a link on Coffee and A Book Chick blog to your blog.
    Looking forward to reading more.

    enjoy ur day!