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February 21, 2012

Covenant with the Vampire

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A sensual, terrifying, incredibly accomplished first novel, this fascinating prequel to the classic and most popular horror novel of all time, Dracula, focuses on Dracula's great-nephew, who inherits the job of managing his great-uncle's estate...and his appetite. Written in diary form as Dracula is, this compulsively readable book has revelations that will shock and delight readers of the original. More erotic than Anne Rice, Kalogridis is a major new voice in vampire fiction. The first chilling tale in an exciting new trilogy is a rich and terrifying historical novel set fifty years before the opening of Bram Stoker's Dracula. At the castle of Prince Vlad Tsepesh, also known as Dracula, Vald's great-nephew Arkady is honored to care for his beloved though strange great-uncle...until he beings to realize what is expected of him in his new role. It seems that either he provides his great-uncle with unsuspecting victims to satisfy his needs, or Vlad will kill those Arkady loves. He is trapped into becoming party to murder and sadistic torture. And it is in his blood. When Arkady learns that his newborn son is being groomed one day to follow in his footsteps, he knows that he must fight Dracula, even if it means death


I love JKalogridis' historical fiction books especially since most of them are set in renaissance Italy, playing privy to the lives, power and intrigue of the Borgias, D'Estes, Sforza et al. So I was really excited when I chanced upon her Vampire book, a tale about Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula, and his descendants. 

Covenant with the Vampire is a tale about Strigoi and Moroi, a decade before RMead wrote about them in Vampire Academy. The setting of the tale is in Gothic Romania and the feel and imagery is reminiscent of the movie Dracula c. 1992. The plot is based on historical events and Bram Stoker's classic tale, the conflict well thought of and should meld seamlessly with Dracula's legend.

And that's all it was, an attempt. I really, really, REALLY wanted to like this book but I found it such a chore to read. If you take a look at the excerpt, the format is in diary form, alternating between Arkady, his wife, Mary and his sister, Zsuzsanna. So it's more of a narrative, detailing their observations, thoughts and experiences in detail than anything which I found that tiresome. I found myself skimming the pages furiously and gleaning through the dialogue just to speed up the story. 

I felt sorry for the entire thing because I really love JKalogridis' historical fiction novels. I found those informative and absolutely enjoyable and this did the opposite for me. Sadly I think it's one of those stories that didn't translate through the pages successfully. 

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