Imagine, if you will, Bram Stoker: a dour, somewhat dull man who is always out of place in the illustrious company of his fellow fantastical authors – like a clerk joining a circus. Do you really believe that this man came up with Dracula, of all things?
Of course not. Vampires are real, and Bram, together with his somewhat-rival Oscar Wilde, encountered and hunted them. That could’ve made for a fun book, but alas. I think this book could’ve been a lot better if the authors hadn’t decided to go with an epistolary format. Yes, it’s a nod to Dracula and nerd bait is the name of the game, but it left them with the problem of having to write in Stoker’s and Wilde’s voice. They decided to go with “unbearably stuffy” and “unbearably arrogant”, which isn’t exactly wrong, but it’s not exactly right either. Getting Wilde’s voice wrong hurts my soul, so I’m being grumpy in this review.
The protagonists don’t like each other, and that’s fine – it could even be fun! But it isn’t. Instead, both just show off the worst in themselves and in the other. You get shown some fun facts about their lives (like, Oscar was into Bram’s wife before they married), and the rest is nerd traps about Dracula, Dorian Gray, and general Victorian Fantasy trivia. That wasn’t really enough to carry the book for me.