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Powers of Darkness: The Wild Translation of Dracula from Turn-of-the-Century Sweden

Powers of Darkness: The Wild Translation of Dracula from Turn-of-the-Century Sweden

By: Bram Stoker
Published by: W. Trimble
Publication Date: February 2022
ISBN: 978-1792385452
Reviewed By: Risah Salazar
Review Date: March 29, 2022

In his superior's stead, an unassuming young lawyer from London, Tom Harker, was summoned by a powerful and complicated client in the Carpathians. The principal, Peter Hawkins, unfortunately could not make the trip in the mountains due to old age and health reasons. But that wasn't a problem since Harker was more than happy to go. During his travels, whenever the name of his client, Count Draculitz, would surface, the townspeople's faces would dim, and three or more signs of the cross would follow. Since Harker's not a fan of superstition, this did not make him doubt his journey. Despite almost everyone telling him not to go or postpone his visit to a later date, on he went with nothing but business in mind.

Upon reaching the Carpathians and the Count's abode, to say that he has experienced unexplainable things would be an understatement. Even the Count's countenance, when they finally meet, gives him the creeps. But still, being a man of the law and science, he disregarded all of these and proceeded with the purpose of why he was there. On the outside, the Count is intimidating, and Harker could see why the townspeople would be afraid, but he's actually polite and hospitable. After several conversations, it was revealed to him that what should have been a short trip would be turned into a longer stay. Count Draculitz has a lot of reasons, and of course, after some reassurance that this has already been communicated with Hawkins, Harker obliged.

However, as days go by, aside from the Count's questionable routine and his castle's eerie atmosphere, Harker experienced more and more horrific mysteries that he could not put aside anymore. He took it upon himself to go on an exploration of the castle that would make him realize the Count's true nature. He is not only there for paperwork but definitely for something else. He looks for a way out but there doesn't seem to be any. His only means of communication to the outside world, he would later realize, is also being manipulated by the Count. What other unearthly things will he discover here? But more importantly, will Harker get out of this nightmare?

Powers of Darkness' storytelling has an eloquent style. However, there comes a time when its articulation and attention to detail becomes overpowering. The theatricality is much appreciated until the reader realizes that things are taking so long to unfold. It's easy to get lost in the paragraphs, because most of the time, it's just lengthy descriptions and nothing really is happening. What makes this book even longer is the constant repetition of facts that have already been established before. Harker's thoughts such as the Count being repulsive - he can feel something’s off, but he can’t exactly explain why, the Count's adamant obsession for power, the way the mysterious lady makes Harker feel - all of these and more have been repeated more than thrice.

This is only an adaptation so it's a bit unclear who is to blame for the long texts, but every account could be dramatically shortened; the repetitive thoughts should stop. There are some racist quips, but these things have been explained and context was provided in the foreword, which was also quite long. Somehow, it can be enjoyable to read when, or if, the reader gets the hang of it.

Quill says: Powers of Darkness is suspenseful, just like how a Dracula story should be. But it is also so much more - it's weirder, darker, and well, longer. If this sounds right up your alley, then you should definitely give this version a try.

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