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Reviewed by Andretta Schellinger for Readers' Favorite
Carmilla: Prelude to Dracula by Timothy Baril is an adaption of the 19th-century book of the same name by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. This book and the original follow the lives of Laura Westenra, her father, and Carmilla, an invited guest of the Westenra family. This story starts with the introduction of the main characters as well as setting the stage for the plot and tone of the novel. After a carriage accident that conveniently occurs in the presence of the lonely Laura and her father, Carmilla, a sickly young woman, is invited to stay as their charge until her mother returns. Over the course of the majority of the book, conversation and small clues regarding Carmilla’s true nature ensue with the climax occurring towards the end. This climax brings Carmilla’s true nature to the forefront as well as referring to the subsequent novel, Dracula.
I read the original Carmilla and I enjoyed this adaption. This adaption, while still maintaining the language of the time, has softened somewhat to assist with readability and make the book less religious, which I believe really aids this novel. Another aspect that I enjoyed was how the author drew in Dracula while the original did not, as the book was not written yet. The story is very strong and really highlights how vampires are able to modify their appearance and personality to assimilate with unsuspecting humans. I found the cover art very apt for this book. The prose and voice of the characters is strong and makes this a very enjoyable read. Overall, this is a very good adaption and a good read.