I love a good vampire narrative, and I was thrilled to be approved for this title.
Years after their original battle with Dracula, Jonathan and Mina Harker plan a birthday party for their son, Quincey. On the eve of the party, there are many announcements, but following a tragic turn of events, they have to admit that their battle with the darkness may not be over. At the same time, two men journey to various countries and meet up with an unlikely guide, and a naturalist plans on bringing a new species of bat back to London. What follows is a weaving of narratives into one intriguing homage. I enjoyed this book. Let me start by saying, if you're not familiar with Bram Stoker's Dracula, you might want to read that first before diving in. With allusions to the original, same characters, and Barnes drawing off the original plot for context, I'd say this would hit home more if you have the text fresh in your mind. I read this a few times in undergrad, but I actually went back and re-read to familiarize myself with the characters before diving in, and I'm glad I did. On its own, you could probably follow the story laid out with minimal confusion, but the characters and nods to the past become more nuanced when you understand the references. Speaking of this work on its own, it is a solid read. The voices and writing emulate the Gothic style. It's told in a series of newspaper articles, letters, and diary entries, alternating voices to further the timelines into one cohesive account. I think for this text, I preferred Mina Harker's entries the best, for her observations about Quincey and her doubts about the house. It is quite dense at times, with layers of character development and details, changing scenery and expositions, but the letter format makes it move quick. Overall, this is an elegant, immersive homage with lots of subtle intrigue and bloody vampire attacks. If you're a fan of Stoker's Dracula, I think you'll love this. And if you're a reader of vampire mythology, I also think this will be the book for you. Big thanks to Titan Books and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.