Monday, May 09, 2016
First Published: 2015
The Blurb: All know Dracula as the king of the vampires. But how did this come to be? How did a man, a warlord of an obscure province, rise to rule the Night? DRACULA ARISEN answers that question, showing the origin of Dracula, beginning with the young Prince Vlad, detailing his rebellion against the Sultan, and his reanimation as a creature of the Night—only to find himself a slave to the wizard who drew him forth. After turning the tables on his would-be master, Vlad Dracula strikes out to build his Empire of the Night. These fifteen stories lead up to the climactic events of Bram Stoker’s novel, “Dracula”. And beyond. Forget wimpy, apologetic vampires, afraid to draw blood. DRACULA ARISEN makes vampires scary again!
The review: For reference, I have already reviewed Book 1 and Book 2 of Lake’s series. A pdf of the book was provided for review.
The first book had flaws – not to denigrate it too much and the depths of ideas and references was mind boggling, the second book felt more like the collection of short stories it was and held together better because of this. The author offered the volume much more focus. This third book again feels like it has more focus – following the way Vlad became a vampire and how his desecrated corpse was found and reborn into undeath through the actions of Faust. The book follows the turning of tables on Faust, making him a slave to the vampire Prince and then through to dovetail into the story laid out in Stoker’s Dracula.
There are quite a few stories within where the focus is not Dracula but rests on mortals and this was refreshing. I liked the Scholomance section (which could stand expanding but is a satisfactory section as stands), and the connection between the Vordenburgs (the family of vampire hunters we follow through this and previous volumes) and Van Helsing was interestingly done. The cod-medieval language is still there and is still distracting but, like volume 2, it is used in a more sparing way and it is a feature that the author and I will never agree on.
One piece of lore worth picking up on is that there are different bloodlines of vampire. Whilst (older) members of Dracula’s line can walk in sunlight (albeit sparingly) other bloodlines disappear at dawn and reappear in their graves. Vampires are corpses possessed by demons in this. A rather interesting concept was that a werewolf believes him/herself to become a wolf and, though they are still human when they are under the delusion of transforation, the illusion is shared by other humans observing them – the vampires just see a man as they are a supernatural creature.
This satisfactorily closes the trilogy and is probably the stronger volume. Dracula seems somewhat less all-powerful, which is great. He is, of course, dangerous but the power seemed more in line with that described by Stoker. 6.5 out of 10.