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Even had Bram Stoker not penned the fabulously successful Dracula, efforts such as the stories in this book would more than qualify him as a gifted, masterful writer, with a special penchant for writing horror. The most prominent story in these pages is of course "Dracula's Guest," a story excised from the final manuscript of Dracula. This is an interesting, well-told tale, but its exclusion from the aforementioned novel seems to me to be rather inconsequential. The real jewel of this collection is "The Judge's House." I have read this story several times over the last decade or so, and I must say that this is my favorite horror story of all time. It somewhat chagrins me to make such a pronouncement, thinking of the masterful tales of Lovecraft, Poe, and King, yet I am compelled to make it. The ending may be somewhat cliched , but the dark, brooding, smothering atmosphere Stoker creates in this house is powerful and brilliant. The Judge's House may well be the most haunted house in literature.
The other seven stories are less noteworthy but eminently readable. Again, there are some cliches to be found among them, but they all "work." "The Squaw" is my least favorite--it is, to some degree, silly n terms of its characters and ending. I should also add that animal lovers such as myself may well be somewhat traumatized by one incident in the story--I certainly was. "The Secret of the Growing Gold," "The Gypsy Prophecy" and "The Coming of Abel Behenna" are pretty standard fare. "The Burial of the Rats" presents a thrilling, well-thought-out story of danger and escape (as well as a grim portrait of some of society's underbelly). "A Dream of Red Hands" is a sort of moralistic story that puts me in mind of some of Hawthorne's work. Finally, "Crooken Sands" is a good doppelganger tale whose presentation and overall air seem different, if not unique, from the other tales in this book. If you love old Scottish dialogue, you will reap some benefits from this story--for the rest of us, though, it makes for some slightly harder reading (but I think the story would be much less effective without it).
All in all, Stoker was a more than capable short story writer, even though he did sometimes stick too closely to the classic form; cliches and predictable plot points do diminish the quality of a few stories but by no means do they seriously hamper the effectiveness of them. It is unfortunate that many people think Stoker wrote Dracula and nothing else. The selections in this book are classic horror stories that only help to grant legitimacy to the genre.
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on 8 April 2009
'The New Annotated Dracula' is a feature-packed presentation of Stoker's original 1897 novel, presented in it's unabridged version, together with 1500 notes, maps, illustrations, points of history and trivia, excepts from Stoker's edited additional short, everything the Dracula fan could possibly want in a volume, including additional chapters on Stoker's life, information on TV and Film versions of the story etc.

A highly-engaging, enjoyable and informative presentation of this classic work of Gothic literature.

Highly recommended.
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on 2 May 2009
This is a hefty tome, no doubt. The notes are informative for any scholar of victorian literature. Less impressive are the essays on vampire films & subsequent literature which are little more than Mr Klinger's personal taste and opinion. I found the editor/commentator's conceit of taking the text as a factual narrative to be amusing at first but not, finally, satisifying. Bram Stoker deserves to be taken more seriously as a writer in the Anglo-Irish tradition & I would have prefered a more precise approach to this great cultural influence. Still, a pretty book, for collectors.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 October 2011
I have a few other volumes in the Annotated collection, ('Alice' 'Oz', and 'Hunting of the Snark') and I like them - I like them a LOT. They give all sorts of great background info, mixed with some entertaining speculations, and they really add to my enjoyment of books I already love.

This one, however, started to annoy me almost within the first few pages, then became more and more irritating, to the point that I found myself agreeing with Groucho Marx ("This is not a book that should be set aside lightly - it should be flung with great force"). I admit this may be a very personal thing, but I'm posting the review because if *I* feel this way, I'm sure I won't be the only one.

The author (or rather, annotator) begins with the rather nice idea that Dracula is a serious account disguised as a work of fiction. This idea appealed to me at first, and I still don't really have a problem with it. I don't even mind that so many of the annotations point out the inconsistencies and downright mistakes in the story. But the almost gleeful tone in which mistake after mistake is pointed out really got old very quickly for me.

It's not an exact comparison, but the main illustration that comes to mind is this: You're in a cinema, watching one of your favourite movies for the umpteenth time. And a couple of rows back, just loudly enough for you to hear, some smartass is keeping up a running commentary explaining how THAT'S just stupid because such and such is impossible, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

I'm not saying that mistakes shouldn't be pointed out. In an annotated edition, of course they should. Maybe I just have some personality quirk that makes this writer continually rub me up the wrong way; Or maybe it's that so much time is spent (wasted?) on the idea that since this is a 'true' story the mistakes have to be explained away by piling fiction upon fiction.

In either case, sorry, but it just didn't work for me.

The volumes of Annotated Sherlock Holmes were next on my shopping list, but now I'm disappointed beyond belief to find that a) they're also by this writer, and b) he applies the same conceit that they're true stories (no doubt true stories with lots of mistakes that require his clever explanations). Well, no thanks.

If you love the original Dracula, you may love this, I suppose. But be aware that instead you may hate it.
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on 21 January 2012
Whilst the e-book version I read of this collection of short stories was exceptionally badly typeset (no chapter headings or differentiation between chapters on my kindle for iPad edition) the stories were very enjoyable.

I read this following a re-read of Dracula and whilst the short story format did not allow Stoker to achieve the same level of characterisation as in his longer work, there were still some grand pieces of writing.

For those who are looking for a sequel to Dracula, read the blurb! For those who are looking for a further example of Stoker's skill with a pen then look no further.
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on 12 February 2014
This is a great collection of supernatural stories plus the title story "Dracula's Guest" which is not so much a stand alone story as an episode originally intended to be included in Stoker's Masterpiece and most famous work, "Dracula" but was excised from it due to lack of space/editorial reasons. It was probably right that it was cut out, although it is a lovely little episode in which the Englishman (probably supposed to be Jonathan Harker, although he is not named in the piece) acts more bravely than wisely and sets out to discover an abandoned village on Walpurgis-Nacht (the night when the devil was free to roam the earth and the dead walk the earth). There's lots of stress on the characters "Englishness" and bravery, although even he comes to realise that there's something to be said for the maxim: "When in Rome, etc." as he comes to regret not following the advice of the locals and hiding in his hotel room with a gin and tonic during the night time hours.

The other stories also lay emphasis on the alleged English characteristic of adventurousness and slightly masochistic bravery (I've got to say, I've been English all my life now and I'm not one for adventure myself - perhaps I'd rather just read about it!) I particularly liked "The Squaw" with the obnoxious American who falls foul of a cat, which then goes on to wreak a gory, but justified revenge on him.

The Judge's House is very creepy - I read it just before I went to bed and this was a mistake I felt afterwards! There's a great deal of atmosphere and entertainment value in all of the tales and I really enjoyed reading them. A must if you are a fan of Stoker and free on Kindle - there's not much not to like there.
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on 30 December 2011
This collection of short stories is really excellent - they are of an ideal length for reading a whole one in a single sitting, and are wonderfully reminiscent of a traditional ghost story. They are far livelier than 'Dracula', and several are rather funny, if you have a morbid sense of humour. I would heartily recommend this book to any lover of gothic fiction, as there are some super examples of gothic features scattered without these stories.
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on 28 December 2012
If you only know Bram Stoker for his novel Dracula then be prepared for some chilling nights shivering in the candle light. This collection of short stories shines a quivering light on some dark places where sometimes it's best not to look. Although the book is called Dracula's Guest there is very little relation to Stoker's most famous work Dracula.

Bram Stoker writes in a gothic style which does take some getting used to but once the words flow then you will become hooked on the creative imagination which springs from every page. Stoker takes time to create vivid locations filled with innocent characters who meet nameless hideous things on the edge of our world. With this much obvious talent it would be a crime to only read Dracula and not experience the other stories from Stoker's incredible imagination. Modern horror writers have much to learn from this old master.

The stand out story has to be The Judge's House where a scholar thinks he has found peace for his work but instead finds a rat infested nightmare. This is truly one of the most frightening haunted house stories you will ever read. Enjoy.
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These really are true horror stories. The Judge's House terrified me and actually gave me a nightmare and The Squaw upset me terribly being a cat lover. I actually cried with the sadness of it.

All in all though, if you love a good horror story then you will find this short and free collection really good and frightening to boot.
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on 3 January 2012
i bought this for my kindle, wow, what a fantastic book, i was so engrossed in this for a few days, really well written with the most amazing attention to detail, my imagination took off, i have read this a few times now and im still not bored with it. Totally fantastic
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