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Review: Dracula, My Love, Syrie James

What would Dracula look like from Mina’s point of view? Syrie James takes this question and twists it, causing Mina to fall in love with Dracula before she knows he’s Dracula. Just as in the original book, she goes to visit her friend Lucy and her mother in Whitby, but what we don’t see are her secret meetings with a mysterious and attractive man, because she doesn’t mention them. And when she discovers that his true identity is Dracula, the story changes, to accommodate Mina’s new truth.

The original Dracula is one of my favorite books, and as a result I seem to have a lot of trouble with any book that modifies the story in any way. And so it happened here, for a variety of reasons. Some things made sense told James’s way – like how the four men actually killed Lucy because of the danger of blood transfusions – but some don’t.

First of all, I felt like there was too much explaining on Dracula’s part. Every single move in the original novel is carefully explained and turned around by Dracula himself when Mina starts to ask questions. It happens every time the men discover something and, though I know it’s a novel, I honestly had just had enough of his excuses. If I were Mina I’d have chucked him out immediately, simply because there comes a point when you get tired of hearing the same story. Plus, I found it crazy that she’d trust the word of a mysterious stranger over that of the husband she’d known and loved her entire life. Maybe passion makes people crazy, but I often wanted to smack her around. And even though she and Dracula have plenty of intelligent conversations, none of these are actually explicit in the text – we just learn about all the things they had in common. I didn’t feel the connection or the spark between them.

Other than that, the book mainly follows the original’s plot, with some diversions explaining more of Mina’s backstory. These did give the book an interesting angle, going into more detail about how she and Jonathan met and the origins of her parents, but overall weren’t really enough to justify the whole basis of the book as a love story between Mina and Dracula. It didn’t help that I felt Mina was a surprisingly weak character. Her intelligence, for me, was belied by the fact that she never really questioned Dracula. She just went along with his explanations and continued to fall in love with him – she never considers that he might be manipulating her, as she knows he can do. She starts to wake up in some respects by the end of the book, but for the most part I just didn’t like her, which is a disappointment given how fond I am of the original.

In all honesty, I do think my fondness for the original has stopped me enjoying more modern takes on it as much as I might had I never read it. As a result, I just didn’t really connect with this book.

Plenty of others have felt differently about Dracula, My Love. If one of them is you, please let me know in the comments and I’ll feature your review here.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free for review from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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9 comments to Review: Dracula, My Love, Syrie James

  • I liked the original very much, and don’t feel that I would really be able to appreciate this book because of some of the things that you mentioned. Sometimes it’s better to just leave things alone, rather than trying to freshen them up with spin-offs and re-imaginings.
    zibilee´s last post …Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans — 352 pgs

  • I’ve never read the original and probably won’t read this one. The whole vampire thing has never really interested me. Thanks for a thoughtful review.
    bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last post …Wondrous Words Wednesday

  • I really have to read the original. It’s in mind for later in the year!
    Kailana´s last post …Week in Review 8

  • Pam

    I loved this book because I loved the original. I had a problem with van Helsing’s accent but Syrie later left a comment explaining that to me and I agree completely with her explanation. So sorry you couldn’t connect more.
    Pam´s last post …Review- Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower

  • Wait, so we don’t see her actual meetings with Dracula? Isn’t that the whole point of the book?

  • Oh thank goodness, you’ve made me feel less guilty for never haven gotten around to reading this. Many thanks!
    Michele @ Reader’s Respite´s last post …How to Make Sense of the Norman Invasion

  • Dear Meghan,
    Hi! I’m so sorry you didn’t connect with my novel “Dracula, My Love,” but I thank you for taking the time to review it. I fell madly in love with Dracula while writing this book, and yes, nearly all the critics and readers loved it. You can find their reviews at http://www.syriejames.com/DraculaReviews.php, and reader feedback at http://www.syriejames.com/DraculaReaderFeedback.php. Here are a couple of excerpts:

    “I loved it! A gripping story, infused with passion, excitement, and emotional turmoil. This vampire can bite my neck any time!” —American Book Center

    “What magnificent writing! 5 stars. To put it simply: this novel was truly outstanding! I took pleasure in gaining new understanding and insight to Dracula’s character, the compelling action of the plot, and the ardent yet illicit love affair between Dracula and Mina Harker. Dracula, My Love is a poignant, passionate, and powerful novel you should not miss!” —Austenesque Reviews

    I felt compelled to reply to some of the things you said, just to set the record straight and to correct a misimpression. Mina and Dracula do indeed have frequent, long, meaningful, and passionate meetings throughout the book–their love story is the central focus of the novel, and something that was entirely missing from Stoker’s original. And although you said Mina “never considers that he might be manipulating her,” that’s not true. Mina questions Dracula’s veracity several times, the first time in this excerpt on page 246:

    I leaned back against the wall, my mind a whirl of confusion. Should I believe him? What if he was just inventing these explanations to win me to his side? I had no way to verify any of it, and surely he knew that…

    Here are a few more excerpts from the reviews:

    “The rest of the world might think they know everything about the Count from Transylvania, but only Mina Harker, who once fell under the seductive spell of literature’s most famous vampire, knows Dracula’s true story. James gives readers an intriguing alternate theory as to the events that occurred in Stoker’s classic horror tale while at the same time delivering a spooky yet thoroughly romantic love story.”
    —Chicago Tribune

    “This very romantic side to Dracula, seen through Mina’s eyes, is powerfully sensuous and gives credence to his obsession and Mina’s acquiescence. Masterfully told, smooth flowing and compelling; DRACULA, MY LOVE by imaginative storyteller Syrie James should sit side by side with Bram Stoker’s DRACULA on your keeper shelf.” —Single Titles Reviews

    “5 stars. Fans of Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer will find much to rejoice about in this novel… However, in my opinion, James is a better writer than either.” —Much Madness is Divinest Sense

    I hope your readers will give DRACULA, MY LOVE another chance! And please check out my new novel, NOCTURNE: http://www.syriejames.com/NocturneSummary.php

    Thanks and take care,
    Syrie James

  • I have seen a lot of really interesting reviews for this one. Most of them didn’t really push me toward reading it though. I think part of that is that I didn’t really LOVE Dracula. The most appealing aspect of this book is that Mina seems to come out as a stronger character with more back story, but even that seems to be tarnished by the hold that Dracula seems to have on her. Even though I was incredibly reluctant when it first came out, I’m thinking that I just might have to end up reading this one just because I am so incredibly curious!
    Jennifer´s last post …Review- Dogeaters

  • Ana

    I absolutely loved this book. I never felt any reason to like the original novel due to it’s lack of romance, however I completely enjoyed Mina’s point of view…I couldn’t help but fall in love with Dracula,and somehow already knowing the ending, I wished with all my heart that Mina and Dracula could live happily ever after….After finishing the book, I started to think that Dracula lied about the way he could heard Lucy’s thoughts. I think there is a mystery about the whole thing. Maybe she drank his blood as well…I also dislike the way Dracula kept pushing Mina into becoming a vampire, making her feel that there were more benefits that anything else..I somehow discover that Dracula didn’t really died at the very end, since he had explained to Mina that he could only die during the day when he didn’t have all his powers…I felt as if he just choose to let her live the life she wanted, but waiting to come back before she died…