Ever since the original Dracula was published in 1897, the cast of characters created by Bram Stoker have continued to enthrall readers’ minds. Of the many voices that guided readers through the dark tale, the strongest of those was Mina Harker, a woman who, despite losing her dear friend Lucy to Dracula and seeing her husband Jonathan turned into a shadow of who he once was by the vampire, remains vocal and strong even when her own soul is in peril from Dracula’s curse. In the novel, Mina: The Dracula Story Continues, her voice speaks on, telling her story after the death of Dracula as she struggles to live under the restraints of being a woman in Victorian England and questions her sanity as the taint in her blood from mingling with Dracula’s grows in strength, making her wonder if he was truly defeated.
The novel begins with first-person accounts from Mina Harker’s journal in the same fashion as the work by Bram Stoker, in which the story was told mostly through newspaper clippings, letters between characters, and characters’ journals, creating the feel that Mina is a true continuation of Dracula. Mina: The Dracula Story Continues picks up just before where the original left off, with the Mina and the others on their way to Romania for the final battle with Dracula. This new Mina’s voice not only has the authentic texture of the original but is even stronger. Author Kiraly delves into Mina’s psyche with such precision that Mina couldn’t feel more whole or real if she were a living person sitting before the reader speaking aloud her tale as she explores her internal conflict on whether to be repulsed by the new passions growing inside her or to revel in them. By the second chapter, the story pulls back to a third-person perspective while interspersing Mina’s journal accounts throughout, allowing readers to sit back and watch events unfold, then get drawn into Mina’s mind as they read her private thoughts.
Through author Kiraly’s detailed writing, Victorian England and society come to life once again, and Dracula’s castle continues to stand in all its gothic glory. The writing is not simply detailed, though. It’s sensual, lovely, haunting. A strong sense of sexuality flows under the surface, growing more powerful as Dracula’s blood in Mina’s body does the same, tormenting her with thoughts of pleasures she’s never known and the guilty knowledge that she’d like to.
The characters who survived the original Dracula return; Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. Jack Seward, Arthur Holmwood, and all are accurate and richer in their personalities. New characters are introduced who meld so flawlessly with the others that they feel just as familiar. Among these new characters is Lord Gance, whose very physical appearance feeds the darkness growing inside Mina, and who charms with his sophistication and manipulates to see his goals are met. When he enters a chapter, the intensity increases and something interesting is sure to follow. Along with the original characters, the three vampire women who tortured Jonathan Harker resurface with their unworldly beauty, but this time they have names, personalities and history behind them. They are more erotic and very pivotal to the story, adding just one more layer to the already multifaceted story that Mina: The Dracula Story Continues is.
Quite simply, not enough praise can be given for Mina: The Dracula Story Continues. It’s not just a sequel to Dracula; it complements, honors, and rises above even Bram Stoker’s masterful storytelling by enriching the Dracula mythos. It’s a story sure to please its modern readers and would instill pride in the gothic masters of old at seeing their tradition being carried on so exquisitely.