Book Cover
Title Mina
Author Marie Kiraly
Cover Art ---
Publisher Berkley - 1994
First Printing Berkley - 1994
Book Cover
Title Blood to Blood
Author Elaine Bergstrom
Cover Art Jim Griffin
Publisher ACE - 2000
First Printing ACE - 2000
Category Horror
Warnings Sexually explicit scenes
Main Characters Mina, Jonathan, Arthur, Van Helsing, Joanna
Main Elements Vampires
Website ---




Click to read the summaryMina

Click to read the summaryBlood to Blood




To avoid confusion, Marie Kiraly and Elaine Bergstrom is the same person, in fact Marie Kiraly is Bergstrom's grandmother's name...and odd choice to write a semi-erotic vampire novel with!

Well, where do I start. Last year I read a rather disappointing book about Renfield, I had higher hopes for that one but I just couldn't believe the motivations and behaviours of the character. This year I decided to try for Mina. Now I'll admit I prefer my vampire stories to revolve around male characters so I didn't really put high expectations on this one.

But I was pleasantly surprised. Now, if you check out reviews of these books you'll see people complaining about the same thing I complained about the Renfield book, they just couldn't see either Mina or Jonathan acting the way they did. Somehow that didn't register with me. I just enjoyed the writing and the story and for whatever reason, the flaws didn't get on my nerves as they would in most other books.

Now it all centers on the key point - did Dracula force Mina to drink from him (as Stoker most likely wanted us to think, Dracula being pure evil and Mina being an innocent), or was she a willing participant, such as in that Bram Stoker's Dracula movie.

Either way, we now find out that even with Dracula destroyed, it's hard to go back to being that prim and proper Victorian housewife she is expected to be. She's tasted passion and now wants something more than her husband appears to be able to provide. The story didn't end with the original book, they didn't just live happily ever after (Quincey notwithstanding).

The first book is lacking in actual vampires, but that's kind of the point when you think about it, after all they had just been destroyed. On the other hand, I will admit that the ending was, well, contrived. Basically bringing back to life anyone who was convenient to make the story more interesting. And inconsistent (* see spoiler at bottom). But still, it was interesting to see how Mina still had to deal with the aftereffects of her vampiric encounter and how she could no longer be who she was before. And neither could Jonathan, each dealing in their own conflicting ways. I must admit I thought the Gance storyline would head in a different direction than it did, and yet, in some way, it did go exactly where I thought it would.

The second book focuses on Joanna, one of Dracula's "wives" but in fact his sister. Now she was an oddball character, but needing a way to justify some part of the first book, had to prove that vampires were not all evil, they could choose to kill or not. Thus leaving Arthur in the unhappy situation that maybe it wasn't necessary to have destroyed Lucy! Once again, I'm not sure everyone's actions always made sense, particularly Arthur's. He'd make decisions that would have significant impacts later on, but it felt more like the justification was to move the plot forward rather than because he really thought it was a good idea. And I don't know of the Ripper-esque side-story was really necessary, other than as an excuse to bring everyone together in the end (and again, that whole ending, like the first, often made no sense, especially when you think that it covered at least a couple days to get everyone in place...)

So don't get me wrong, there are a lot of flaws in these books (I don't think they were intended as romances per-se, but they've got some of the silliness I tend to associate with the genre, a little over the top, lack of logic, that somehow leads to a steamy sex scene, which personally, weren't all that steamy or interesting...), but if you switch off your mind a little and maybe not think of the characters as the originals, then it made for some entertaining reads during the dark October evenings as Halloween approached.



















(*)SPOILER ALERT

Ok, so at the end of the first book Dracula's 3 wives survived in physical forms after both being destroyed by Van Helsing (who of all people should know what he is doing) AND being burned. Dracula survives in spirit form and needs a new body to take over...wait what? His wives survived and he did not, though he's the more powerful...and if that's the case why isn't Lucy wandering about too? It really made no sense whatsoever. Even Gance's motivations and actions were merely a plot device to provide Dracula with a body.

As for the second book, you get the crazy murderer Dr. Rhys who breaks into Mina's cottage, kills her maid, knocks Mina down then stairs...then treats Mina for her head wound during the next 3hrs until Van Helsing and Jonathan arrive, at which point Jonathan is intentionally non-fatally stabbed and tied to a chair, the maid is found still alive so the two doctors try to save her life, a full **DAY** passes with everyone in this weird scenario, till late the next night Arthur, Colleen and Joanna arrive and finally the doctor is dealt with. I don't know, I don't see how the doctor didn't end up killing everyone in those 24+ hours that passed. I mean didn't he sleep or use the bathroom? Only Jonathan was tied up after all. And, as Mina even thought at one point, didn't any of the neighbours hear the gunshots???




Posted: October 2015

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