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The Rivals of Dracula | Nick Rennison | Review

With Halloween just around the corner, I’ve noticed a definite spooky turn in my reading habits. I’ve been revelling in unsettling and creepy reads. Amongst my recent reads was The Rivals of Dracula, a collection of short stories edited and introduced by Nick Rennison. I love Dracula and even did a lot of academic writing about it, back in the day. However, my research really highlighted how much Dracula has overshadowed other vampire literature of the time so when I saw this collection, I immediately bought it. Unfortunately, it then fell towards the back of my TBR for a long time. I finally got around to reading it on a recent holiday and am happy to be able to share it with you guys!
As I mentioned, this collection shares short stories about vampires from the Late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Some of the authors are somewhat well known, while others were completely new to me. What they all had in common was that were incredibly interesting and utterly creepy.

Because the collection is centred around a very specific theme, I did find that I couldn’t read too many at once or else I didn’t appreciate them. However, when I took the time to enjoy them at a slightly slower pace, I realised just how brilliantly varied the stories are. There is very little uniformity to the vampires in this collection, which was fascinating.

Though I loved the collection as a whole, I did have some stand out favourites. I loved Let Loose by Mary Cholmondeley, which features an utterly creepy creature which is accidentally set free. I don’t want to say too much more, but it was chilling to read. Other favourites include Ken’s Mystery by Julian Hawthorne (a wonderfully unnerving tale set in part in Ireland), The Mask by Richard Marsh (truly haunting story about deceit and deception) and Medusa by Phil Robinson (a creepy story about a woman who seems to feed on her victims).

If you loved Dracula and want some more vampire stories in your life, you should check out The Rivals of Dracula - just try not to read it just before bed!

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