Review: “Bloodline” by Kate Cary

It is 1916, more than thirty-five years since the events in Bram Stoker’s Dracula occurred.

Dr. John Seward is now the father of Mary, who is a nurse working in his own hospital.  World War Iand its growing casualties introduce wounded Lieutenant John Shaw to Mary, and he quickly becomes a patient under her care.  Mary reads John’s journal in the hope of finding the key to breaking his delirium, but instead she discovers John’s frightening past experiences on the battlefield and the horrors he witnessed.  Most of all, she begins to understand his fear of his commanding officer, the mysterious and brutal Captain Quincey Harker.  As circumstances seem to change for the better, the growing romance between Mary and John is interrupted by the reappearance of Quincey and his confusing behavior toward Lily, John’s innocent younger sister.  Mystery and suspense beckon as Mary and John are forced to face a shocking family secret and battle against a complex, supernatural plan that will forever determine not only the destinies of characters involved but also their salvation.

Narrated by Kate Cary through journal entries and letters by the main characters, Bloodline is more than an unofficial sequel to Dracula.  All the myths about vampires and their “characteristics” are acknowledged in the storyline, but romance, desire, and eternal damnation are not the most interesting concepts in the story.  The central theme in Bloodline is the constant internal battle in every person between good and evil.  Can any person on this earth be truly just and remain so in spite of overwhelming temptations?  Can a just person’s virtues be taken for granted?  It is surprising to see different sides of Plato’s famous arguments in the Republic indirectly re-enacted in this novel.  The author utilizes four of her characters’ consciences to express her questions about destiny, its power over free will, and an individual’s choice of adhering to morality or immorality.

How can a person completely change his/her temperament?  Lily’s love and desire for Quincey Harker consumed her and blinded her to reason.  John’s superficial abhorrence of evil is seriously stricken by the prospect of his inevitable destruction, while Quincey begins to question his own innate evil nature on Lily’s account.  Ultimately, Mary Seward is the real heroine, for her steadfast good nature helps her to firmly fight against any evil, whether terrestrial or supernatural.  The twist at the end ofBloodline is unexpected amid Cary’s convincing settings of England and Romania during World War I.  However, Bloodline does contain mature adult content and mild sexuality, which confirm it to be a novel strictly for both young adults and adults.  Nevertheless, this “sequel” is a highly engaging thriller whose horror and fantasy are perfectly matched by the love and noble heroism that outwitted Dracula before.

Original review: Part 1: Kate Cary continues the story of ‘Dracula’,


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