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Lily Wight

     Updated 16/10/2015

     The Bloody Red Baron (1995) is the second novel in Kim Newman’s superlative and ever-expanding Anno Dracula series.  Newman continues to weave effortlessly both history and fiction to conjure a world in which Dracula – formerly wed to Queen Victoria – has joined forces with The Kaiser to bring terror to Europe.

     The shift in time and tone may surprise some readers expecting more of the first book’s Victorian gothic.  Book two is a World War I novel that successfully captures the tropes of military fiction whilst broadening its appeal with genre-mashing wit and just the right amount of girl power so you won’t miss those smog bound cobbled streets whatsoever.

     A running theme of genetic experimentation and weird science ensures that the series becomes increasingly pertinent and there is plenty of action too…

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Lily Wight

     John Polidori (1795 – 1821) is best remembered as Lord Byron’s travelling companion and personal physician but his short story, The Vampyre (1819) is the first significant vampire tale in English Literature, following on from Lady Caroline Lamb’s less revered Gothic Novel, Glenarvon (1816).

     The Vampyre is rather prosaic and melodramatic for modern tastes yet its brevity and vital role in vampire mythology make it an essential read.  The Vampyre himself, Lord Ruthven, is the original frilly-cuffed brooding immortal; a character endowed with the dangerous dilettantism associated with the Romantic writers and artists who, for many, have come to define the tastes, fashions and attitudes of the Georgian era.  Ruthven’s style of vampirism bridges the gap between the demons and monsters of folklore and the modern vampire anti-hero with his magnetic charisma and troubled conscience.  This new archetype was later perfected and explored by…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 09/01/2015

     Every vampire fan should be well aware of White Wolf’s seminal role-playing game system, Vampire; which effectively collates and categorizes every bit of vampire lore and literature up to and including the work of Anne Rice.

     This book owns a hefty title – and well it might – as it boasts a doorstop-sized collection of spin-off novels and associated writings, re-edited chronologically into a complex and epic drama.

     With numerous authors at work there is some jarring in the narrative style and the structure suffers, albeit necessarily for the books conceit.  Certain events are needlessly re-played from different characters’ perspectives without providing extra insight whilst dramatic tension is often lost when chronology forces precedence over plot.

     There is however so much going on that new readers of all tastes…

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Lily Wight

     

     Updated 14/06/2014

     It takes a writer as bold as Game of Throne’s George R.R. Martin to pen a Southern Gothic vampire novel just three years after the publication of Anne Rice’s genre-bending Interview With The Vampire.

     Martin’s Fevre Dream includes plenty of Rice’s familiar tropes – such as setting, era and two bickering immortal dandies – but Fevre Dream has less romance and more grit, as though two writers used the same remit to inspire very different tales.

     Martin pens marvellous prose in any genre, he is descriptive but never dull and poetic without being florid.  He has a knack for authentic, character-crafting speech and an ability to make even the driest detail fascinating so readers will come away with a new love and comprehensive understanding of life as a Mississippi steamboat captain even if…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 05/06/2014

     Pat Brien’s Denied is a refreshingly old-school vampire yarn that owes more to Hammer era Dracula than Twilight style teen romance (cheer or boo here as you prefer).

     
     Brien does an admirable job of honing and reinvigorating gothic folklore by finding ingenious and refreshing ways to reconnect disparate vampire archetypes.
   
      Monstrous Nosferatu and brooding immortals share an intriguing new evolution and the inclusion of werewolves takes the tale to new levels of adventure, mystery and page-turning excitement.
   
     The novel has two distinct parts, the first  – which acts as an extended prologue – is quite different in tone and location to the latter.  It’s a bold structural move, as readers may prefer one part of the book over the other, but Brien’s commitment, combined…

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Lily Wight

Updated 03/06/2014

     Despite obvious extensive research and the Stoker seal of approval belated Dracula sequel Dracula The Un-Dead is a wasted opportunity which panders to modern tastes instead of keeping faith with the original vampire classic.

     Dacre Stoker and collaborator Ian Holt throw in everything from Elizabeth Bathory and Jack The Ripper to The Titanic creating a convoluted yarn which, although fast paced, struggles to find themes and focus.

     This sort of  Victorian Gothic Alternative History, or Literary Re-imagining, has been done far more successfully before by author Kim Newman whose Anno Dracula series is both effortless and ingenious in its use of similar settings and characters.

     The Un-Dead reads more like a sequel to Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula movie and when Dracula intones to Mina’s son “I am your father!!!” you may just die…

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Lily Wight

     A “subtle” hint of Literary misogyny has confined Carmilla to countless Hammer-style lesbian vampire flicks yet J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s perfectly executed short novel (1872) preceded Bram Stoker’s Dracula by a good twenty years.

     Many familiar folkloric traditions were collected and presented here first, so Le Fanu’s tale has lost non of its relevance.  The foggy Eastern European locales, racing horse-drawn carriages, suspicious locals and masquerade balls are all present and continue to contribute to the variable laws of vampirism.
     The prose is fast-paced and contemporary with a tantalising cinematic quality.  Taut with tension and genuinely chilling Carmilla deserves just as much adoration as The Count!

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Lily Wight

     Updated 28/01/2014

     It’s almost a decade since Stephenie Meyer’s first Twilight novel was published and here is the last review of our four book retrospective…

     Breaking Dawn is undoubtedly the most mature and entertaining book in the series with more incident, action and horror than all the previous volumes put together.

     Discerning fans might try to excuse, scan or simply ignore Edward and Bella’s nauseating honeymoon and enjoy instead Jacob’s first person narration of the birth of their monster offspring.

     The Twililght Series has always tended to be a little tame and anaemic but by introducing that classic horror staple – the “demon-child” – Meyer invigorates the tale creating, arguably, a better starting-point for the entire series.

     Unfortunately Meyer bungles the ending by rushing the introductions to an influx of interesting new characters and…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 11/01/2014

     It is almost a decade since Stephenie Meyer’s genre-busting archetype-twisting début novel Twilight was published.  Now that this much-loved yet contentious saga is definitely over and RPatz and KStew have gone their separate ways (or have they?) perhaps it is time for a reassessment.

     Fans of hardcore horror and esoteric gothicism will feel vaguely violated by this dilution of Vampire Mythology for the Young Adult market but Twilight heroine, Bella Swan is as clingy as a Spider Monkey 😉

     Unfortunately Twilight’s magnificent PR campaign will forever be superior to its subject and style – melodramatic teen diary destined to alienate literary-minded adults.  It also commits the unfortunate crime of being a mere introduction to better things to come.

     Heroine Bella details her chores one minute and snipes about her perfectly nice and…

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     Who needs a dose of cute and fluffy when there are gifs this good which also explain why current reports of vampire attacks have dwindled to… well, nothing.

     According to ancient folklore counting seeds or grains of rice was sure to keep vampires busy until morning however, since we installed domestic electricity, they are obsessed with light switches instead.  So next time you wake up in the middle of the night and notice you’ve left a light on somewhere just remember… it might not have been you.

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Subscribe now and you’ll never have to miss great shizz like this ever again 😉

Next Post 22/10/13 (18.00 BST) ~ Brand new vampire art for the Gallery.

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     We have reached the third book in Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula (or Red Reign) series in which each novel, although uniquely different, is consistently strong.

    This time the action relocates to a super suave Rome on the cusp of 60’s cool; an era of glamourous movie stars, paparazzi, familiar super spies and legions of the un-dead.

    Newman’s light style and knowingly referential wit bring charm but also surprising depth to a serial killer mystery that unites some familiar characters.  The setting is vibrant and there is an insightful sensitivity to the handling of female characters during a period sometimes tinged with misogyny.

    Back in 2012 this reviewer hoped for a further sequel to this series and it seems Mr. Newman makes wishes come true!  Anno Dracula IV: Johnny Alucard is ready and waiting to be read. 

Next Post 17/19/13 (18.00 BST) ~ Lily Wight’s Tarot Reading For Autumn

Related Articles

Anno Dracula I

Anno Dracula II: The Bloody Red Baron

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     Updated 16/10/2015

     The Bloody Red Baron (1995) is the second novel in Kim Newman’s superlative and ever-expanding Anno Dracula series.  Newman continues to weave effortlessly both history and fiction to conjure a world in which Dracula – formerly wed to Queen Victoria – has joined forces with The Kaiser to bring terror to Europe.

     The shift in time and tone may surprise some readers expecting more of the first book’s Victorian gothic.  Book two is a World War I novel that successfully captures the tropes of military fiction whilst broadening its appeal with genre-mashing wit and just the right amount of girl power so you won’t miss those smog bound cobbled streets whatsoever.

     A running theme of genetic experimentation and weird science ensures that the series becomes increasingly pertinent and there is plenty of action too as Newman’s cinematic prose turns aerial dogfights into something captivating and unique.  Have you shelved your old copies of Twilight yet?

Next Post – Book 3: Dracula Cha Cha Cha

Related Articles

Anno Dracula Book 1

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     It is only the snow and not the vampires that glitter in this must-see Scandinavian horror gem.  No, we’re not talking about Let The Right One In – the thinking vamp-groupie’s vamp movie – but Anders Banke’s Frostbite (2006) known intermittently as Frostbitten (and Frostbiten in Swedish) just to add a little confusion.

     This is what happens when you drop old school scary bloodsuckers into a town of restless youths enduring 24/7 darkness.  Check out the trailer and line-up a full viewing for Halloween.

There’s a great movie you might have missed every month at Lily Wight ~ The Arcade of Arts & Arcana.

Next Post 10/10/13 (18.00 BST) ~ Discover the best vampire novel in three decades!

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     John Polidori (1795 – 1821) is best remembered as Lord Byron’s travelling companion and personal physician but his short story, The Vampyre (1819) is the first significant vampire tale in English Literature, following on from Lady Caroline Lamb’s less revered Gothic Novel, Glenarvon (1816).

     The Vampyre is rather prosaic and melodramatic for modern tastes yet its brevity and vital role in vampire mythology make it an essential read.  The Vampyre himself, Lord Ruthven, is the original frilly-cuffed brooding immortal; a character endowed with the dangerous dilettantism associated with the Romantic writers and artists who, for many, have come to define the tastes, fashions and attitudes of the Georgian era.  Ruthven’s style of vampirism bridges the gap between the demons and monsters of folklore and the modern vampire anti-hero with his magnetic charisma and troubled conscience.  This new archetype was later perfected and explored by Anne Rice throughout The Vampire Chronicles then de-fanged and romanticised for a younger audience in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga.

     Some critics suspect that Byron himself penned The Vampyre following that same stormy night of drug-fuelled storytelling which gave the world another great genre icon, Frankenstein’s Monster.  The tale’s pedestrian prose suggests otherwise but the mystery of its authorship has allowed this slight story to claim a significant place in Gothic Literature’s evolution.

Related Articles

J. Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla

What did Lily Wight think of Twilight?

Anne Rice’s The Wolf Gift

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     Greetings Blogsprites!  Its October and autumn is well and truly underway.  This month folk at home, by the Land of Green Ginger, will be looking forward to our annual travelling fair and the usual Halloween celebrations.

     Here, at Lily Wight ~ The Arcade of Arts & Arcana, there’ll be things to make you go “ooh” – cute gifs, Lego art, the latest installment of our Wheel of The Year calendar – and things to make you go “AAAaaaarrrgggggghhhhhhh!!!” – a whole month of grim, gothic and generally spooky vamp things (or vampy spook things if you prefer) including art, books, graphic novels and the odd jack o’ lantern.

     Carved pumpkins won’t be the only form of illumination this month as we’ve also received a lovely Shine On blog award from http://modernoracletarot.com/.  If you enjoy the Tarot posts you find here you’ll enjoy Ronda Snow’s work too.

     Last, but not least, a huge thank you to 7,798 subscribers who read this blog over 9 syndicated sites and helped Lily Wight achieve a daily hits personal best with 3,427 visitors on September 17th.  Keep those comments coming everyone x

Dare you peek into the Macabre?

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     There is FREE ENTRY at The Arcade Of Arts & Arcana Gallery all year round!

     Enter via the tab at the top of the homepage or click the pics to see more…

Faerie Lore & Fairy Tales

Puppets & Marionettes

Automatons

Victoriana

Grand Guignol

Middle-earth

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     If you dust-off June in The Arcade Of Arts & Arcana’s Archives (head to the sidebar on the homepage) you’ll find Pre-Raphaelite strumpets, naughty vintage movies some ridiculous facts about the Victorian Era and a popular post on that favourite guilty pleasure – Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (click the link to read the original post).

     Perhaps it was Eiko Ishioka’s demonic raw-muscle armour that made the post so popular.  You can see it again here along with more of Ishioka’s Oscar-winning costumes for Gary Oldman…

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     First came the Vampires, now Werewolves are rampaging through The Arcade Of Arts & Arcana Gallery.

     If you are brave enough click on the homepage Gallery tab or the pictures below…

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     It’s all treats and no tricks at Lily Wight ~ The Arcade Of Arts & Arcana this month!

     The new image album, Grand Guignol, is now available to view via the Gallery tab at  https://lilywight.com/ or just click the pics for a fast pass 🙂

     Here are a few vampires to get you started…

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     Park Chan-Wook’s English language début promises to be an alternative vampire yarn written by Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller.

     Click the smiley for more information 🙂

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     Updated 14/06/2014

     It takes a writer as bold as Game of Throne’s George R.R. Martin to pen a Southern Gothic vampire novel just three years after the publication of Anne Rice’s genre-bending Interview With The Vampire.

     Martin’s Fevre Dream includes plenty of Rice’s familiar tropes – such as setting, era and two bickering immortal dandies – but Fevre Dream has less romance and more grit, as though two writers used the same remit to inspire very different tales.

     Martin pens marvellous prose in any genre, he is descriptive but never dull and poetic without being florid.  He has a knack for authentic, character-crafting speech and an ability to make even the driest detail fascinating so readers will come away with a new love and comprehensive understanding of life as a Mississippi steamboat captain even if such a subject previously held no appeal.  The subtle inclusion of issues of race and prejudice also provide authenticity and much food for thought.
     Most admirable is Martin’s creation of a truly memorable and scene-stealing mortal character in a genre over-populated with charismatic bloodsuckers.  Captain Abner Brown is unfailingly human – quite literally warts and all! – and his singular tale provides an entirely satisfying, sequel free conclusion.
     Vampire fans may see a link between Fevre Dream and True Blood as Martin may be the first author to suggest a synthetic blood “cure”, an idea that is constantly evolving in the genre.  So, regardless of whether you prefer your vampire novels from The Old World or The New, Fevre Dream deserves the status of a  modern classic alongside the likes of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend.

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     Count Dracula (alongside fellow Victorian gentleman, Sherlock Holmes) holds the dubious honour of being the Movie World’s hardest working (and most abused) literary character.

     Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 adaptation is a gloriously bombastic mountain of soft-focus eroto-nonsense but a highly recommended guilty pleasure.

     Coppola claimed that his version would be the closest ever interpretation of Stoker’s classic novel but his attempts to include every character whilst frequently switching narrative perspective makes for a cluttered and unfocused movie.  Dracula is depicted in his numerous evolving guises but the inclusion of a psuedo-historical prologue forces a new reincarnation theme on the tale.

     Dracula was released just prior to Neil Jordan’s adaptation of  Interview With The Vampire and has too much in common with Anne Rice’s genre-changing interpretation of vampire archetypes as immortal dreamboats.  Coppola’s film oozes lush Freudian imagery; sinking suns, blood cells, eyes, nipples and fragrant blooms are everywhere.

     Oldman himself admitted to essaying Dracula as “a Fallen Angel” and the beloved actor deserves much credit for creating a tour-de-force (and cohesive) performance with a role that required him to play a medieval relic, a romantic Victorian Prince, a wolfman, a bat and just about every stage in between.

     His Eastern European accent is sublime or ridiculous but unforgettable either way.  Many have forgotten that he was nominated for an Oscar for this role.  As a Fantasy character he was never likely to win (even The Lord Of The Rings failed to gain plaudits for its cast) but his creation is every bit as unique as Depp’s Jack Sparrow.

     Rumour has it that Winona Ryder petitioned hard to have her then boyfriend Johnny Depp cast as Jonathan Harker.  Depp fans would no doubt love to have seen this but it is hard to imagine how he could have improved or altered the end result.  Some films are actually enhanced by unintentional comedy moments.  Keanu Reeves is one long comedy moment.   It is enough that Reeves is simply awful and memorable (with a grey streak that turns into a continuity nightmare and helpfully distracts from his lack of performance).

     Perhaps it is time to watch Coppola’s Dracula again.  The set and costume designs are lavish, Lucy’s beheading has genuine chills, Antony Hopkins goes all out to match Oldman’s Method mania and the orchestral score is magnificent.

     It’s guilty, yes…but pleasurable.

 

 

     Click for another post you might like 🙂

 

  

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     Updated 05/06/2014

     Pat Brien’s Denied is a refreshingly old-school vampire yarn that owes more to Hammer era Dracula than Twilight style teen romance (cheer or boo here as you prefer).

     
     Brien does an admirable job of honing and reinvigorating gothic folklore by finding ingenious and refreshing ways to reconnect disparate vampire archetypes.
   
      Monstrous Nosferatu and brooding immortals share an intriguing new evolution and the inclusion of werewolves takes the tale to new levels of adventure, mystery and page-turning excitement.
   
     The novel has two distinct parts, the first  – which acts as an extended prologue – is quite different in tone and location to the latter.  It’s a bold structural move, as readers may prefer one part of the book over the other, but Brien’s commitment, combined with Denied’s brisk pace and engaging characters, assists in covering any cracks.  A sequel is surely essential.

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Thank you http://myvoyagethroughtime.wordpress.com/
For this amazing link!

Thank you http://myvoyagethroughtime.wordpress.com/ For this amazing link!

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     Updated 15/05/2014

     A “subtle” hint of Literary misogyny has confined Carmilla to countless Hammer-style lesbian vampire flicks yet J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s perfectly executed short novel (1872) preceded Bram Stoker’s Dracula by a good twenty years.

     Many familiar folkloric traditions were collected and presented here first, so Le Fanu’s tale has lost non of its relevance.  The foggy Eastern European locales, racing horse-drawn carriages, suspicious locals and masquerade balls are all present and continue to contribute to the variable laws of vampirism.
     The prose is fast-paced and contemporary with a tantalising cinematic quality.  Taut with tension and genuinely chilling Carmilla deserves just as much adoration as The Count!

Read Full Post »

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