Genres: Fantasy, Literary, Mystery
Joseph Barkley is a renowned inspector of rare and valuable manuscripts. With such valuable items, he is used to their wealthy owners having quirks or downright odd demands, so when he is given the task of authenticating and delivering the original manuscript of Bram Stoker’s Dracula by a mysterious, wealthy person who refuses to even meet with him until the bulk of the work has been done, he accepts it all in stride. In spite of a growing sense of malevolence, it is not until he delivers the original Dracula to the Bran Castle in Romania that he realizes that he is not free to leave and is in fact being held prisoner by the son of Vlad Dracul himself. Thrust into a world where vampires are a real and terrifying reality, Joseph works furiously to stay alive. Once held captive by a vampire though, there are only two true ways out: he must kill or be killed.
Stoker’s Manuscript is an actual vampire story–and the vampires are no relation to the sparkly things in Twilight. Stoker’s Manuscript depicts the vampires as Bram Stoker himself created them: monstrous and terrifying. This was not light fantasy, but it was gripping and very well written. It was definitely a step outside the norm for me as far as genre goes. With the exception of Harry Potter and A Discovery of Witches, I really haven’t been interested in the idea of vampire fiction. Mainly, I think, because I have this idea that the genre is permeated by Twilight and other teeny-bopper, romance-driven books, and those really aren’t my cup of tea.
Stoker’s Manuscript had that element of fantasy, but it felt like more of a literary mystery to me. It seemed very classic and old-school. It wasn’t a particularly quick read even though the book itself isn’t very long, but the style of writing doesn’t lend itself to very speedy reading. If you like a meaty, kind of gothic, literary mystery this is the book for you. It’s not nearly as long as Elizabeth Kostova’s ‘The Historian’ but it really reminded me of that in the writing style and genre.
Overall, I really liked it: 4 out of 5 stars.