I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Monday, May 6, 2019

What I'm Reading: Stoker's Wilde

Here is a review of a highly entertaining, wide appeal, historical horror novel from the latest issue of Booklist.  As usual, I have posted the draft review here and added more content that will help you to booktalk this one to patrons. And there are a lot of patrons who will enjoy this one.

Stoker’s Wilde.

Hopstaken, Steven (author) and Melissa Prusi (author).
May 2019. 304p. Flame Tree, paper, $14.95  (9781787581715); $24.95 (9781787581739)
First published May 1, 2019 (Booklist).

Using the real life complicated relationship between Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker as inspiration, Hopstaken and Prusi launch the first in a new series of historical supernatural adventures. The novel sets its ominous, historically accurate, yet playful tone right away as Wilde and Stoker are enlisted by legendary British explorer Richard Burton [and the Queen] to rid an Irish seaport of a murderous werewolf before stepping back to set up the main plot for this story. Written in the epistolary style of Dracula and pursuing many of the themes and ideas from Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, the reader is thoroughly immersed in a Victorian London both as it actually was and how it could have been. The fun, action driven plot features vampires, secret societies, portals to another realm, and the theater world. Historical details, action sequences, and supernatural monsters abound, but it is the odd coupling of Wilde and Stoker, their diametrically opposed personalities and interesting quirks that drive this story. Clearly well researched, the novel bring these well known but long dead authors to life while still incorporating the unreal aspects seamlessly. Pass this volume on to readers who are hungry for more historical stories with a supernatural frame like Lovegrove’s Cthhulu Casebooks series, The Quick by Lauren Owens, Creatures of Will and Temper by Tanzer and Dracul by Barker and Stoker.

Further Appeal: This book is way better than it had to be. The historical details both in the setting and in the way it is written [like it actually came from its time] was excellent.

The "found" documents and secret society that frames the entire book was highly satisfying as a reader, but please note, the horror here is way more of the paranormal variety. No terror, more just creepy and atmospheric. But also, really fun. You will feel chills, but you won't need to put this book in the freezer.

The interactions between Wilde and Stoker make this book, both how they react to each other and work together despite their differences and quirks AND how they describe each other to others.

I know a lot more about both of their personal stories and their works than the average reader, but even if you know very little, the authors work in all of the necessary details without sacrificing the pacing. They work real world biographic details into the story seamlessly.

Speaking of pacing, while it moves at a good pace, it is still told in letters and in an accurate Victorian style, so modern suspense and adventure readers may find it plodding at times, but fans of historical horror, suspense and thrillers will love it.

This is a great suggestion for people who like historical fiction with real characters and supernatural elements. And that sentence can be your opening soundbite to help match this book with readers.

Also the case closes at the end of the book, but a new one opens, setting up the next adventure/book-- Vampires in the Wild West of America! So get ready to order book 2.

Three Words That Describe This Book: highly entertaining, real book world characters, paranormal

Readalikes: As I said above, anything that is historical fiction with real characters and supernatural elements [of which there are MANY] work here. I gave a few readalikes in the review to show the range of titles you could try.

To that list I would also add, any of the historical horror by Dan Simmons, but especially, Drood or Alma Katsu's The Hunger.

No comments: