A little light on those insignificant little things like plot or character development, Draculas is still one wild, bat-shit crazy, over-the-top romp through what feels like a B-grade 80s gore-fest. More importantly, as the authors state in their introduction, this novel represents their attempt to reverse the 20+ years of sparkly, bare-chested, sexually ambiguous, romantic nonsense that's been injected into vampires and "make them scary again."
The vampires here are not cunning, seductive, or even dangerously attractive. They are more like bloodthirsty, fast-moving zombies with jaws so full of fangs that their teeth explode through the cheeks and lips in all directions. These are ugly, animalistic, single-minded SOBs who exist to feed, and who want nothing more (or less) than to tear your throat open and guzzle down every ounce of blood in your body.
As for pacing, it's almost frantic, will one intense scene after another tacked together like some sort of sick carnival ride. The authors waste absolutely no time getting into things, opening with the delivery of a million-dollar vampire skull to a dying recluse, and then snapping its jaws around his throat so quickly you're already on your way to the hospital with him before you realize what's happened. There we encounter a very different sort of bite, with a young birthday girl whose braces are caught in the flesh of a sad, suicidal clown.
With that, the set-up is complete, and it's time to open the floodgates on the bites, the blood, the breeding, and the body count. This is not a story of hope and survival; it's not a story full of deep moral lessons; and it's not a story with any redeeming message to offer . . . unless that message is RUN AND HIDE! There's so much carnage here, wonderfully bloody and excessive, but also freakishly inventive. The sad vampire clown with the red nose and shoes that still squeak? Genius! The birthday girl who wants to tear into people and eat up all the red candy inside? Fantastic! The hungry, pregnant vampire with the equally hungry vampire infant exploding from her stomach à la Aliens? Brilliant!
Don't get too attached to any of the characters because, odds are, they aren't going to make it to the end. Those that do, however, are well worth following, especially with a few throwing themselves blindly into last-minute sacrifices. Even more interesting are the characters who fight to retain a semblance of humanity in their vampire transformation, giving the story the edge it needs to be more than just a kill-em-all monster saga. There's a point at which the story completely passes the point of containment or simple resolution, but the explosive Hollywood ending is completely apropos, as is the lingering thread that sets up the inevitable sequel.
As fun as it is frantic, this is well worth a read for anyone sick to death of what people like Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer have done to the monstrous side of the vampire.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins