Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron by Kim Newman


It is 1918 and Graf von Dracula is commander-in-chief of the armies of Germany and Austria-Hungary. The War of the Great Powers in Europeis also a war between the living and the undead. Caught up in the conflict, Charles Beauregard, an old enemy of Dracula, his protegé Edwin Winthrop,and intrepid vampire reporter Kate Reed go head-to-head with the lethal vampire flying machine that is the Bloody Red Baron... In the brand-new novella Vampire Romance, Geneviève Dieudonné,newly returned to England, infiltrates a singular vampire gathering in the service of the Diogenes Club.

A brand-new edition, with additional novella, of the critically acclaimed, bestselling sequel to Anno Dracula. Written by popular novelist and movie critic Kim Newman, The Bloody Red Baron takes the story into the 20th century.  


I have been thinking, a most dangerous endeavour, on the best way to describe and review this book so that you give it the chance it deserves. You can't really pigeonhole Anno Dracula into one genre so that doesn't help either. My best and probably easiest description would say an alternate universe where history as we know it is intertwined with vampires. Interested? Good.

This is not a quick read in the slightest, but well worth it if you enjoy reading highly descriptive, meticulous almost, attention to detail with worldbuilding being almost as important as character. One can't work without the other in a book like this and Kim Newman strikes a fine balance. The details are simply amazing and you really get a chance to know these characters, especially since this is the second installment in the series. The original was published long before the now popular mash-ups ( I believe it was 1995) and I actually have the originals in my must keep storage boxes, from back in the day. 

I first read  The Bloody Red Baron when I was barely 20, so it was fun to compare my two reading experiences and I can honestly say that I appreciate the writing style more now than I did then. The pacing is slow and intense, much like the mood during war, written so that the reader can place themselves in the smoky rooms, and see the skies dotted with aeroplanes on a moonlit night. Each character has a rich background and once you get a firm grasp of the cast you can place yourself within each conversation. Yes, this book is involved. Yes, it takes some time to "get into". Yes, it's worth it.

*My review of Dracula Cha Cha Cha should be available in the next few weeks. 

Reading Order:
Anno Dracula
The Bloody Red Baron
Dracula Cha Cha Cha

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