Top critical review
Great, but flawed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 March 2019
I really liked this book. Must have: read it twice. But for all that, I couldn't in all conscience give it more than 3 stars.
First, the bad. As others have remarked, it's too long - it needed a more ruthless editor. Although the pacing of the first half is terrific, it falls off thereafter. The epistolary format (intended obviously to mimic and pay tribute to Stoker's 'Dracula') doesn't quite work all the time; one occasionally loses track of who is writing to/for/about whom, and the reader feels the artifice of the construction. The denouement is too sudden, and too short - after such a long build-up, it seems almost trite and perfunctory. Plus there are some booming and preposterous coincidences in the story - one in particular - that make suspension of disbelief all but impossible. Lovers of the vampire canon will also feel the want of 'horror' scenes - the story is largely bloodless, contrary to the norms of the genre.
That said, the writing is very good, the research behind it is vast and intricate, the beauty of the backgrounds and the place descriptions remarkable. It's also damn creepy most of the time - in a good way - and despite all the flaws noted above it's a great page-turner. An honourable tribute to the Stoker original, and an enjoyable read if ultimately a tad disappointing.