Thursday, 16 February 2017

Dracula's Heir & The Crimes of Dr. Watson [Mini Reviews]

Hello there! Two mini reviews for you all today :D

Title: Dracula’s Heir
Author: Sam Stall
Publisher: Quirk Books
Published Date: 1st August 2008
Rating: 4 stars

 Title: The Crimes of Dr. Watson
Author: Duane Swierczynski
Publisher: Quirk Books
Published Date: 1st November 2007
Rating: 3 stars

*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*


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Synopsis: In 1897, Archibald Constable & Company published Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the most famous horror novel of all time. For reasons still debated by scholars, the first chapter of Dracula was cut from the book just weeks before publication. Here, it becomes the central clue in a spine-tingling original interactive mystery.

Dracula’s Heir begins 10 years after the horrific events described in the original novel. Jonathan and Mina Harker are happily married and enjoying life in Bixby, England. Meanwhile, their friend Dr. John Seward is tracking a string of crimes that seems eerily familiar. A 14-year-old girl sleepwalks out of her parents’ house and disappears into the night. Two “accident victims” are found drained of their blood, yet there is no crime scene evidence to explain its loss.

When Seward shares his discoveries with the famous vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, all the evidence points to Jonathan Harker. After all, Harker spent weeks imprisoned in Castle Dracula as a guest of the Count – was he infected without anyone realising it? Has the mild-mannered English solicitor spent the last decade lurking in the shadows as a nosferatu? Or is someone (or something) else getting away with murder?

This chilling mystery novella features 8 removable clues, including a newspaper, a death certificate, Renfield’s private journal, and the original first chapter of Bram Stoker’s Dracula When you think you’ve solved the crime, you can open the final signature (sealed at the printer) to test your powers of deduction.

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Review: I absolutely loved reading this lovely little interactive mystery!

An interactive mystery is a mystery novel where the reader is the one solving it, alongside the main character. I loved how it had clues which you had to pull out and unfold, such as scrunched notes, envelopes which needed opening and little notebooks. It also had its own newspaper. Alongside all that fun, there were beautifully detailed illustrations that went along with the story. I just had to love that aspect of the novella.


I also really liked the writing style of the novella. I was pretty worried before I started reading this one because Dracula is a classic I have come to adore. I was anxious about someone else writing those characters, and trying to fit into Stoker’s style. But Stall does a wonderful job. Believe me, if I hadn’t known better, I would’ve been able to believe that Bram Stoker wrote this himself as well. Kudos to the author for mastering his writing style and writing it in a way I could love.

Then we have the mystery itself. Dare I say it was a better mystery and more so intriguing than that of the original novel? I did not guess the culprit myself, although I should’ve been able to, now that I know what the answer is. I really liked how it involved the previous characters and how they were accused as well. In fact, the evidence is so convincing that it’s hard to believe otherwise. But the clues were clever, and tricky, and it was just fun to read. I especially liked that we get to play along and try to figure it all out ourselves before the answer is given.


There were some new characters, and I did like them. I liked how they moved the time on ten years down the line, and how that played into the story. The ending was definitely haunting – the perfect atmosphere to leave with the reader after having read such a chilling read.

I’m so glad I had the chance to read this one!

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Synopsis: After the rooms at 221B Baker Street are set ablaze—and a mutilated corpse is discovered in the wreckage—Dr. John H. Watson is arrested and imprisoned at Coldbath Fields penitentiary. Writing from a cramped and dimly lit cell, Watson describes the mysterious events leading up to his arrest. Someone has been mailing him a series of cryptic warnings. His lifelong friend Sherlock Holmes has vanished in the raging waters of Reichenbach Falls. And Professor Moriarty’s criminal empire is expanding across Europe and throughout America.
 
In a desperate attempt to clear his good name, Watson has compiled twelve clues that may prove his innocence, including:
 
     •  The front page of a newspaper from Thousand Oaks, California
     •  A catalog of Victorian fashions and merchandise
     •  An empty matchbook containing cryptic handwritten notes
     •  The complete text of “The Final Problem,” Watson’s famous account of the death of Sherlock Holmes
     •  Plus a theater ticket, an arrest report, a railroad timetable, and more
 
All twelve clues have been painstakingly reproduced for this volume, along with the complete text of Watson’s manuscript and specially commissioned illustrations by Homes aficionado Clint Hansen.

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Review: This was another interactive mystery, but this one was told from the point of view of Dr. Watson. The novel is about those who find clues to a mystery which apparently was supposed to be secret, buried and hidden. However, when new documentation is brought to light, the reader can try and solve the mystery with some of the clues which are given. This is brilliant for those who are fans of Sherlock and enjoys these kind of mysteries!

I really loved the interactive side of things once again. Perhaps even more so than the Dracula novel because these were even more interactive. For example, there is a paper which has been cut up and burned, and you get the pieces and have to put them together. Although there are still notes, newspapers and so on, this has a bit more than the Dracula one did.


The illustrations are still intricate and so well drawn. I will say that I preferred those in the Dracula mystery more, but these ones were still able to take my breath away with their beauty. When you have interaction and beautiful illustrations, it’s hard to label this book as anything other than a winner.

However, for some reason when reading this book I felt a bit confused. Not when we were getting things from Watson’s point of view, but when we weren’t. When it was set in the present day, I got all mixed up with the characters and whose perspective I was reading from. I wish a little more time had been taken to describe who these people were so I would’ve gotten a little less mixed up. That took some enjoyment from my reading, but that could simply be something personal. Maybe others found it easier to follow, so make sure you go to Goodreads and check out other reviews to be sure!


All in all though, it was another fun, quick read which I flew through in a couple of hours. It’s well worth the fun!

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Gif Summary:



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Links: Goodreads and Amazon for Dracula's Heir! And then Goodreads and Amazon for The Crimes of Dr. Watson. 

Olivia’s Question: Which classic do you wish had a sequel to it?

Olivia-Savannah x

16 comments:

  1. This is amazing. The books in themselves would be inexpensive to buy as these stories are classics and went into the public domain years ago. But these sequels are interactive. This makes me wonder if this doesn't bump up the price somewhat. I like print books, but as I'm living in a different country to where I belong and am not sure where I'm going to end up, I try not to acquire too many physical books which is easier said than done. That's why I generally prefer eBooks. But if anything will challenge the supremacy of eBooks, the interactive books will. I am just wondering about the quality of the writing and the stories, will they be of a good literary standard and satisfy the reader? Really, I could go on about this all day. Thanks for sharing Olivia. I'll surely keep an eye out for this type of book. I've done my share of reviews in my time. Gosh I sound like an old lady don't I? LOL

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    1. It does bump up the price some, but it is totally worth it for the fun that comes with the story! I think these work best as print books (I'm not sure if you can even get ebook copies) so if you are going to be investing in print books, I would recommend these ones. I found them incredibly satisfying to read, especially the Dracula one as it was written in a similar style to the well known classic.

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  2. Hahaha that sounds like so much fun!

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  3. These look fun. I think I'd love for Jane Austen to rise from her grave and give me more of Mr. Darcy. P&P is my favorite classic. I also love To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. And since that book has a companion novel (which I can't bring myself to read because I don't believe she wrote it), it's not right to ask for a sequel. I just do not believe she wrote that. Just because some journalist supposedly asked her that on her deathbed, and she of course supposedly said yes, doesn't mean a thing to me. I really should have left it in the store. Every time I consider reading it, I put it right back on my shelf.

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    1. I would just want more Austen novels regardless of whether or not they were a sequel to anything! Wow, you really feel strongly about that one. I haven't really taken the time to read it or even consider reading it really. We'll never know for sure... but it is suspicious.

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  4. Gee, I don't know which classic I'd wish for a sequel. Perhaps, I would like Crime and Punishment. And on a little side, I'd like to know what happens next for The Wizard of Oz. =)

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    1. The Wizard of Oz is really left in a place where a lot more could still happen! So I understand :D

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  5. These interactive books look fantastic! I've only ever did kids interactive books and they are fun. Who knew that adults can have fun too? LOL, I am adding these to my TBR.
    Great review!

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    1. Yes, adults should be allowed to have fun too! I hope you'll enjoy these as well ^^

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  6. Wow sweetie, you make me want to read "Dracula's Heir". I will add it to my very long list. Have a good weekend :)

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  7. Oh my God these look so cool!!! Interactive stories sound incredibly awesome! Man, I need to get me some of those :D And I love that it includes art! They're just so pretty <3

    Lipstick and Mocha

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    1. I think you would be able to really like the interactive and artistic side to these stories!

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