Varney the Vampyre: or, The Feast of Blood, Part 1 by James Malcolm Rymer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am conflicted about this work. I mean, I *KNEW* it was a Penny Dreadful series during the same time of Dickens, the equivalent of today's Twilight or 50 Shades, and no one would ever mistake it for high literature.
It was sensational, full of bodice-ripping, bloodlust, revenge, mobs, high adventure on the seas, and a snarky villain.
So... wait... it sounds rather MODERN.
Well, yes, in a way. Just not in the way it was written. It was hugely popular THEN and rode the early, early wave of vampire mania 50 years before Dracula made the genre halfway respectable.
Yes, Varney makes Dracula look immensely respectable.
But for all the things Varney is, I keep thinking of the classic dawn-of-movies vampire tales like Nosferatu, the images of all the very worst b-movie trash vampire movies since then, and even the spitting image of Anne Rice's Lestat, (albeit with a LOT less nuance or charm).
I swear, it's almost like EVERYONE that came after looked at Varney and said to themselves, Wow, this is FUN but I really kinda hate how much the WRITING is like trash... I need to remake it! :)
I don't hate this book. I think some parts are rather awesome. Some... made me groan, yawn, and want to strangle the idiots... ALL the idiots. And yet, some parts are rather awesome.
So! Total props for being the hugely popular START of the vampire craze, but the writing?
Muahahahahaha... OH, THE ADVERBS...
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