Why did I get it: I love Dracula and I love re-tellings of the story, whether they be faithful, off-beat, or comical. And after really enjoying the way cell phones were used in relation to Sherlock Homes in the new BBC miniseries Sherlock, I also couldn’t resist the premise of this book.
How I would rate it: 4 out of 5 stars – Very good and very amusing.
My Summary: iDrakula is a cell phone YA novel that strives to retell and rework elements of Bram Stoker’s Dracula through taking the characters and moving them to present day in Gotham, NY. There they use the iPhone, the internet, and e-mail communications to deal with each other and the threat of vampire invasion from Romania.
My Review: Quick and fun sums this book up nicely for the most part. There were a lot of hilarious moments and even a touching moment or two. The format itself was obviously the book’s main selling point so I was glad that it was also pretty awesome.
Using cell phones to communicate the contents of Dracula added a lot of humor and a rapid pace to what isn’t exactly the most action-packed of classics despite its having vampires. I liked the different cell phone cases and what that said about each character, the idea of Mina using search engines to look up information or poetry, and the constant texting or e-mailing back and forth taking the place of letters, diary entries or newspaper clippings. It almost goes without saying that the best parts of the book would be those featuring direct scenes, passages, and letters being re-written or re-worked as texts and e-mail exchanges. There is a lot here that’s very faithful or at least in the spirit of the original with obviously some liberties to make it interesting. I really appreciated the level of care put into iDrakula.
Some changes were good such as Mina being much more of an active character than I remember her being in Dracula even if it was at Jonathan’s expense. Some changes were not so great such as drastically shrinking down the novel’s cast. I really missed Seward and Morris. I could have done with less of the error message for e-mails not being sent and more about Dracula from Jonathan’s point of view. The Brides were also left out, and I really wish they hadn’t been. I was glad, however, that Renfield kept his role and I really loved Mina’s e-mail summaries of conversations with him.
What really didn’t work for me is that everyone was a teenager in this re-telling. I realize this seems to be the thing to do when giving a book to teens or trying to write anything about 20 somethings, but in this case it sort of made no sense and was distracting. A novel about people dealing with a vampire requires some suspension of disbelief, but it wasn’t enough to make sending an 18 year old Jonathan Harker seem plausible even if these kids were intended to be Gossip Girl-esque.
Anyway, for the most part the changes were relationship-based and did nothing to alter or add to the plot, which was both good and bad. Good because it didn’t change much and bad because I’m still not sure I liked most of what happened to everyone’s relationships or how random some of it was. Thankfully, none of that really prevented me from finding iDrakula to be both amusing and entertaining.
So if you are somewhat familiar with Dracula, have an hour or less of free time, and need a good chuckle? Pick this book up and don’t think too much. Just enjoy the really neat job Bekka Black did. I’m sure you’ll have a blast. Or you can always imagine Keanu Reeves* reading the texts aloud, which I have to admit I occasionally did.
By the way, if you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPhone Touch, Sourcebooks Inc. has made an iDrakula app for that. If you check it out, let me know what you think of it! I’m curious, but lacking in the right technology.
* That’s right! Keanu Reeves played Jonathan Harker in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula.