Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mina: The Dracula Story Continues- Review


Book: Mina: The Dracula Story Continues
Author: Marie Kiraly
Category: Paranormal Fiction
Grade: B+
She tasted the blood of Dracula...
In Brahm Stoker's immortal Classic, Mina Harker became the living breathing object of an obsession- only to fall prey to the stalker's seductive powers. There was only one way to save her soul- by destroying Count Dracula, the creature who controlled and consumed her. But was the spell broken? Could Mina really return to the ordinary turns of a day, to the constraints of a Victorian marriage, after the pleasure of such exquisite darkness?

Mina is a book that I have been interested in reading since its re-release in 2007. I put off reading it until the RIP III Challenge came along. The reading criteria for this challenge gave me the the perfect opportunity to finally give Mina a chance.

Never having read Dracula, and only knowing the black and white movie adaptation, I can honestly say that I was a little unsure about the premise of the story. Luckily, though the book pulled me directly into the action of hunting Dracula down, there was enough back information that I never felt lost. I should say that the book starts with an Author's note where Marie Kiraly goes into short detail about how Mina's voice drops suddenly from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Kiraly felt that Mina had more story to tell and took liberties in continuing her tale.

The story begins with Mina's journal entries. She and her male counterparts: her husband, Jonathon, the vampire hunter, Van Helsing, Dr. Jack Seward, and her late friend Lucy's fiance, Author Holmwood are on the hunt for Dracula. Since Mina has been seduced by the vampire and has drank his blood, they know that in order to free Mina from his hold that Dracula must be killed. Mina is suffering silently at this time. Inside she is changing, a passion is rising inside of her that wasn't present until she was seduced by Dracula. She spends most of her days and night's with Van Helsing. He watches her closely to be sure that she is not turning into a vampire. This also bothers Mina, making her feel as though she is under constant suspicion.

As in the Story of Dracula, the vampire is killed and the curse in Mina's blood is thought by all to be cured. They all go their separate ways, believing the threat to be over, but unknown to everyone else, Mina can still feel the vampire inside of her. She still has a burning passion and she still reacts to the sight of blood. This is where the story continues from the original Dracula tale. At this point the book goes into a third person account, spending a little time with all of those who faced Dracula on their journey, along with a few new characters who meld seamlessly into the story.

Mina's husband Jonathon has thrown himself into his work, but he is still haunted by the memory of the three vampire women who seduced him. Van Helsing stayed behind in Dracula's homeland and is finding that there is still a dark, lurking threat in the snowy lands. Mina is attempting to settle into life as a dutiful wife, but is finding it hard to do so. She writes in her journal of how she longs for her husband to show her the passion that Dracula once had, but never finds it in him. A new character, Lord Gance, comes into the equation and Mina is tempted to find what is lacking in her marriage in him. At the same time she is still struggling to control the urges that her tainted blood stir within her. Urges that make her a wanton woman and lead her to believe that Dracula is still out there, for if he wasn't she would be free of the scandalous feelings that possess her.

Mina is a subtle read. I can best describe the writing as quiet, as is the tone of the book. This quietness, at times, made the story feel as though I was simply a spectator in the lives of these people, watching them lead their daily lives while attempting to overcome the haunting memory of Dracula.

Throughout the story I did question if Mina's blood was truly possessed by Dracula or if she was simply a passionate woman in a time where that was frowned upon, therefore she thought her feelings to be wrong and stemming from Dracula's blood. TO me, Mina came off as a woman who craved touch and wanted to be in control as much as she wanted a man to take control of her. Which is not an oddity in this day and age, but in the Victorian era, where women were not allowed to freely engage themselves in sexual acts unless it was specifically for procreation, it was taboo. Could it be that Mina's deepest fears--that Dracula still lived in her--were all for naught? In the end, the The answer to this question is left ambiguous.

Overall, Mina was an enjoyable book. I'm glad I finally took the time to read it. Grade B+.

3 comments:

  1. Interesting cover, book and review!! :) I've never read Dracula and know so little about it... the only thing i know is the movie Van Hellsing with the Wolverine guy... LOL and i think it probably wasn't the best adaptation :)

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  2. The cover is interesting. I've seen bits and pieces of Van Helsing and you're right, it's not the best adaptation. :p

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  3. Bram Strocker's 'Dracula' (1993-ish) is AMAZING! BUY IT! RENT IT! But eithEr eay get your ahnds on it! If you can get past Keanu aka Bill from Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Adventure having caught a brutal British accent- the overall film is perfection! Daniel Day Lewis is the best Dracula and Wynona & Anthony Hopkins just fill out their characters. If this novel pays tribute to the original Dracula tale, it's a great book.

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