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The Amulet of Elisabeth Bathory and other Short Stories PDF Print E-mail
Friday, October 19, 2012 12:20 PM

For the month of October, the month of Halloween, I thought I’d review something of a “darker” nature. The Amulet of Elisabeth Bathory and Other Short Stories by Kevin Eads is a collection of vampire tales.

Now, this is definitely not my genre. I didn’t read the Twilight saga or watch the movies, nor do I want to. I’m not a fan of horror movies, either. I read a little Stephen King when I was younger. Now I’m just generally not into any of that. The jacket of this book reads, however, “...“not the Edward Cullens of Twilight, but rather for a bygone era of beautiful stalkers of the night, the Brides of Dracula styled.” This intrigued me. As a literature major, I have read a few books of this kind that I have enjoyed. I would say these books are a bit elevated in terms of theme, meaning, character development, and so on. And that’s what I found when I read Kevin Eads’ book.

This book is written like a play, which might appeal more or less to some people, depending upon familiarity with this style. I enjoyed the format. The cover, by the way, might be all it takes for certain prospective readers to open the book, as it contains a picture of a very blonde, very voluptuous vampire. But moving on.

The first story takes place in the past and is about Elisabeth, who is given an amulet by “the leader of an ancient and evil cult.” She knows her life will end prematurely and she also knows that the amulet will allow her to come back to life at some point. The story then jumps to the present, when the amulet is stolen by a priest. A distant descendant of Elisabeth must retrieve the amulet in order to save her. Sound complicated? It is. It’s also quite entertaining and thought-provoking. There are religious implications, post-colonial themes, and a focus on gender roles, not to mention the psychological representation at work here. The characters can be dissected and analyzed in such various ways, and that’s what appealed to me.

Eads also really sets the tone for each scene; his description of a castle, grim organ music, dead bodies, and blood in a medieval bathtub took my imagination right there, and I could vividly picture every scenario. The reading goes quickly, as the play format allowed me to zip through, as opposed to getting bogged down by a heavy-handed novel. I can easily see these stories becoming a movie, which is, perhaps, Kevin Eads’ intent.

This is for more mature readers, as some themes are graphic, as well as some of the language. It didn’t bother me; I enjoyed the writing style, but I would caution younger readers. I would say this is best suited for older high school students and above, especially readers who enjoy darker themed stories, and of course, vampires.


Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:45 PM

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