Horrible year. Again. Russia invaded Ukraine. Myanmar is going through a violent military coup. Women of Iran are still fighting for their right to live. Transphobes, emboldened by rich brainless humans, are becoming ever more violent too. And that’s just the very tip of the shitberg. There’s much more happening, many more countries in need of help, many more protests going unseen, many more threats.
As a result of it all I’ve had little time or will to search for Dracula books. Upsetting, because it’s this vampire that taught me the value of life. How important it is to fight for survival. How essential it is to cling to life. How one must always move forwards, even if means crawling, or standing still, trying to outwait the darkest times, the darkest thoughts. Instead I was pulled to read other tales of horror, made worse by books being historical. Books on Ukraine. On Holodomor. Iron Curtain. Red Army, Communism. Totalitarianism. Russians slaying their Tsars. Russia. Chechnya. Georgia. Syria. Putin. Brain’s full of nightmares, I can’t believe someone would willfully repeat any of it. But due to this it is even more important to keep moving forwards. Soulless, heartless, and, honestly, brainless bullies are not to be allowed an easy victory by us stepping back, away. So, we keep going. You, I, us all, together. We’re stronger in numbers, so, be sure, your beating heart matters too.
Think you’ll not be upset with me if I’ll add another Dracula book I’ve read earlier this year, as it’s worth mentioning. But as I’ve got it for a review request – couldn’t have kept it all the way to Dracember.
First Dracula book I’ve read this year: I, Dracula by D.S. Crowe:
Author gave me this book in exchange for a review. Through entire process she’d check in on how the reading is going, how I like the book, and even how I’m doing. A heartwarming person. The book itself is good too, got better towards the end, so it’s worth reading through bits that might not be too savory. Will definitely read the sequel too.
Two finished series: Fred Saberhagen and, technically, John G. Hartness:
Started Fred Saberhagen series last year, with my absolute favorite – The Dracula Tape. Finished it this year (last review tomorrow), happily too. As, sadly, they gradually got way worse. Poorly aged flaws began poking through, starting from too common comparison of distress to feelings of violation, rape. Ending with backwards views on theft and infidelity. Dull secondary characters made books a chore, and Dracula, for how old he is, offered no more than ever duller monologues, retelling tales, and no personality.
Meantime John G. Hartness, four year omnibus series are technically not the end of Harker’s adventures, the newer ones are simply not put together yet, it seems. Those too went a bit downwards towards the end, but reading Dracula’s lines was always a pleasure.
The three “others“: Children of the Night by Dan Simmons, Draculas by Blake Crouch, and, again, I, Dracula by D.S. Crowe:
These three are stand alone books at least in the sense that no others surrounding them need to be read. Dan Simmons was a discovery, from a series of similarly themed books that are unrelated, this one tells a fine tale of Dracula’s family, and Dracula himself in the modern times. While not everything was palpable, it ended good and in that way I appreciate having read it.
Draculas by Blake Crouch is that classic shoot-catch thriller with spreading zombie/vampire virus, and brand of humor only found in parodies of such movies. Laughed out loud, and was on the edge of my seat most of the time. The only “cherry” missing was the two matcho dudes who found so much in common towards the end – hooking up. That would’ve pushed the book to the top lists for me.
I, Dracula by D.S. Crowe I already spoke of, so, yeah.
The Best Dracula of 2022: Despite it all, I must give the title to John G. Hartness. His Dracula is well adjusted to life in modern times, and prepared to continue adjusting, no matter what the world throws at him. He’s witty, strange, and retains both the “old vampire villain” charm, and the “medieval warlord” roughness.
The Worst Dracula of 2022: This, with great regret, goes to Fred Saberhagen, whose Dracula I would’ve loved to love. Tales from before and after Bram Stoker, adventures, life. And yet, lacking of personality, seemingly stuck up and dull, him and the side characters made some of the books entirely a chore.
Discovery of 2022: D.S. Crowe. The book might not be the best out there. It starts from birth, childhood, teenhood, and so on, until it reaches the good and interesting bits. But author truly did her work to make this an interesting book with a well arched plot.
Such was my December with Dracula. Not too bad, considering what’s going on. And due to that, I’ll not wish for anything just now, let’s not borrow time, and, instead, walk in slowly. Look around. And stick together, until the next year.