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Bloodline by Kate Cary This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Before Stephanie Meyer bought us her (in)famous Twilight series, there was Dracula. As a novel filled with metaphors about Victorian sexual repression, fascination with the occult, and lust for mystery, Dracula became one of the most memorable and recognizable literary works of the past few centuries. By the early 20th century, Stoker had officially catapulted the Vampire mythos into the forefront, Carmilla notwithstanding.

It should come as no surprise, then, that hundreds of writers of all ages have been inspired by the heroic tale of humanity coming face-to-face with pure evil and emerging triumphant. As a result, countless knock-offs and copies of the Dracula tale came into being, many more existing even before Twilight was ever literally dreamed of.

Although many of these- there are way too many to even count- have been direct sequels to the Dracula story, others have been spin-offs.

The young adult horror novel "Bloodline", by Mary Cay, can possibly constitute both. Told in a series of journal entries, letters, and newspaper clippings much like the original Dracula, this incarnation deals more with teenage characters.

The year is 1916. Nineteen-year-old John Shaw, a British lieutenant caught in the shrapnel-infested midst of the so-called "War to end All Wars", suspects there is much more to his bloodthristy commanding general than meets the eye. Gen. Quincey Harker displays a monstrous, animal-like passion for violence and combat, and takes a liking to the determined and noble John.

As it turns out, Quincey is really the spawn of Dracula, and he has set his sights on John's timid sister Lilly to continue Dracula's accursed bloodline. When Lilly elopes with Quincey to the iconoic Romanian castle built into the mountainside, John enlists the help of Mary Seward- Lilly's close friend and John's nurse- to put a stake in his nefarious plot.

At times, reading Bloodline was like waiting for a cold car to heat up. The story tends to drag on and on, and we often hear the same section of story from the same point of view. Lilly is naive and lovestruck almost to the point of stupidity and her diary entries were enough to make one want to slap her. This serves as a stark contrast to the resourceful Mary, a Catholic nurse whom sees Quincey for what he truly is from the first time she sets eyes on him. John was also a character that I liked. His sense of justice pervaded the novel and the twist at the end served to spice things up.

Said twist is what made this novel for me. I have read Dracula many, many times, and I knew that there was more to the characters than what appeared to be true on the surface, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. Kate Cray must be praised for her handling of this revelation and the events that followed.

From the time John & Mary reach the castle, the novel is pure action and horror. I was practically scared to continue reading at some points. The fact that the middle sections of the novel were so tedious actually aided the 70 page long climax and redeemed the book in every way, shape, and form. I had thought I didn't give a flying dishwasher about these characters, but when they were faced with the prospect of death and tragedy I was glued to every single letter like I were holding on for my life. Quincey Harker doesn't have the same charm as the original Count Dracula- but reading about him through Lilly's dazed and fanatical diary entires reveals that he still retains all of Count Dracula's seductive powers that made the original by Stoker such a masterpiece.

All teens who enjoy horror and/or vampires should give this book a try. It is Twilight without the mush and with added terror. Also, Kate Cray must be credited with writing a truly scary Young Adult novel- the genre is sorely lacking in those.





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