Review: The Dracula Tape

The Dracula Tape
The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I rather enjoyed this alternate retelling of Dracula. The basic premise is this: Count Dracula, tired of being maligned for years (remember, Bram Stoker’s novel was published in 1897 and this book takes place in the 1970s), decides to tell his side of the story. For hours, he speaks into a tape recorder telling his version of events. He isn’t quite as bad as everyone thinks he is, and the group of people who pursued him (Jonathan Harker, Abraham Van Helsing, and the like) were bumbling idiots at best and malicious at worst.

For those readers who reviewed it and criticized the fact that we know both the story line (since the events of Bram Stoker’s novel are present in this one) and the ending (presumably, if Dracula still exists in the 1970s, Van Helsing and his posse didn’t succeed in killing him, if killing is the right word to use for the undead!), I want to ask: why read this book?! If you want something new and with a surprising ending, it’s probably smarter not to read a book that is a retelling of a classic. It’s like complaining about knowing the end of Wide Sargasso Sea. Since this novel overlaps and complements the events described in Jane Eyre, of course one would know the basic premise of the ending if one has read the original work!

So yes, I quite enjoyed this book. I enjoyed Dracula’s voice throughout it. I think the author did a good job of capturing his erudite, slightly old-fashioned English. And the fact that Dracula’s actually quite witty makes the book all the more enjoyable to read. There are nine other books following this one, if I remember correctly, and I enjoyed this one enough to want to seek out the others.

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