Saturday, April 1, 2017

Anno Dracula 1899 - A Review

Author: Kim Newman
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Sci-Fi / Short Stories
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400

A collection of horror short stories by acclaimed author, journalist and movie-critic Kim Newman. This volume contains twenty-one stories featuring famous figures from Jack the Ripper to Frankenstein's monster, and includes a brand-new, exclusive Anno Dracula story 'Yokai Town: Anno Dracula 1899'.

I stumbled across this gem at the bookstore around my birthday, and it was meant to be.  Ever since I read the his book Anno Dracula, I've been a fan.  Somehow I missed the announcement of this book, and even better the fact we're getting another book in the Anno Dracula series.  I cannot wait for October to get my hands on book!

But, this isn't about the upcoming book. This is about this book, Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories. What I love about this book is it takes everything I love about Dracula series and meshes them with other pop culture icons I adore. While Edgar Allen Poe plays a heavy part in the first half of this book, no one goes untouched.  Orson Welles has a story just to himself, Boris and Lugosi reprise their famous roles with a twist, and Jack is Back.  Best of all though, Geneviéve Dieudonné graces the pages of the last story to fill in a few blanks that happened at the of Anno Dracula.

What I love the most about this book is how well that Kim Newman can weave a story.  How he takes a genre, a story, or a character, loved my many and twists into his own creation.  Turning the world into something else entirely.  Something darker and little bit terrifying.  It wasn't hard to get sucked into each story and need to know how it ends.  Each story is beautiful written and I felt each pop culture icon was well represented.

Still, there were some stories I liked better than others.  A couple that had me putting the book down, only to pick it back up, slog through that one story, just to get to the next.  It was never the writing style that made me not like it, or the world building, or even the characters.  Mostly it was subject matter.  Maybe one too many stories about Poe (whose work I love).  I was ready to move on to other icons.  Other worlds.  

Mostly I was excited to get to Geneviéve Dieudonné!

I think what I loved the most about these stories, was that none of them were a retelling of the original stories.  For most it was a continuation from the original story, or a twisted version of the reality of how we know movie should have gone.  One of my favorite ones was with HG Welles, years after he convinced the world aliens were attacking our streets.  The story wove history with something more magical, more supernatural.  I loved the voice Newman gave to Welles throughout the shorty pages.  

All-in-all it was a great collection of short stories, and I'm glad I picked it up.  Kim Newman is still one of my favorite authors out there.  This book freaked me out in places, left me scratching my head, and a few times laughing out loud.  

Buy, Burrow, or Skip: I'm always of the opinion to buy anything Kim Newman does for the covers alone.  Plus, they're great books to reread, because I always find something I missed the first time around. 

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