Skulking in the Shadows (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – A Book Review)

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Published: 1886


My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt


If he be Mr. Hyde, I shall be Mr. Seek.

In Victorian London, Dr. Jekyll struggles with an experiment gone wrong. His life is turned upside down from a serum he created that brings a much more darker part of himself to the surface in the form of the disfigured Mr. Hyde. More and more often the doctor is locked away in his own body while the crazed and destructive Mr. Hyde is out on the streets at night terrorizing people and there’s nothing he can do about it. Dr. Jekyll turns to his trusted lawyer, Mr. Utterson, for help before it is too late.


I really got sucked into themes and ideas with this book. For a short story it was quite in-depth and was very dramatic. It was quite enjoyable and fast-paced. Dark is an understatement here. A good portion of this takes places at night and most of the characters’ nature match that darkness, which now I will propel deeper into.

This classic novel didn’t lean on the horror genre in my opinion. It felt like more of just a Gothic fictional piece. Mr. Utterson who is investigating this ordeal between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde goes about the story with great detail. He cares deeply for his friend which is why he can’t give up on the doctor and his troubles like many others seemed to do throughout the story. Much of what happened was just tragic, but not scary.

The theme is obvious to all of those that have read this story before: the duality of man-that there is both a good and a bad side to a person that cannot be avoided. (Yin-Yang, etc.)  Throughout the book it is pressed upon that the darker side of man is to be locked away and the key thrown away. This is one of the most common contemplations both in books and in the real world. Who are we? What kind of people are we? It’s a complex question with variables that blur the lines of black and white when you get nitty gritty. Life is never so simple.  There’s always that grey area.

Jekyll and Hyde

However, what about the idea that rumors are like wildfire? That one terrible incident can ruin a person’s life and consume them, forever making them this hideous creature according to other people for the rest of their life, with no hope of return? No amount of apology or repentance can fix this evil deed? Or what if this rumor isn’t even true? This debacle involving the doctor and his serum all starts with a story between Mr. Utterson and his friend about seeing a man who assaulted another person at night. In the dark it can be hard to see all of the features of a person and shadows can certainly morph those features. So while people assumed who it was, was it actually this person? Was it somebody else? While guilt does eat away at the person to blame, I know from personal experience that it can also it eat at a person blamed who is completely innocent. So, I find that


The style really moved me. It’s haunting and chilling with the description of shadows and how they lurk about in the night. Parts of this story are based around letters and stories rather than directly from what is happening at the time. I feel like I don’t get a full view of what may actually be happening; that it’s mostly hearsay from other characters rather than the man it’s actually happening to. When Dr. Jekyll really did get his moment it was too late. He was completely influenced by everyone around him. It was incredibly heavy on him. I found it very interesting.

The characters were very interesting, but not as people, but as in their purpose. I guess it’s tricky to understand. Like, the way they all circled around Dr. Jekyll like sharks. Even Mr. Hyde circled around him. There wasn’t a moment in which I was directly in Dr. Jekyll’s shoes, but he was the main character. He is what the story is all about, but I learned all about him from everybody else. Jekyll’s appearances were very few and in between. It added to my wonderings about if I could trust the information by these characters who professed to know him so well.

This was a great tale that really got me to think about the nature of man, but like I said, there wasn’t anything that really screamed horror like Frankenstein and Dracula. This was more thriller than anything. My anticipation to see Mr. Hyde was ever-growing the further I read. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. It really got me thinking and from time to time I enjoy a good story that makes me question things in my life/in the world. That’s really what I gained from this.



“I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world. It is all at an end.” (Dr. Jekyll to Utterson, p. 29)

“With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck; that man is not truly one, but truly two.” (Dr. Jekyll, p. 60)


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? Haunting by Halsey.


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The Blood is The Life (Dracula – A Book Review)

Author: Bram Stoker
Published: 1897


My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt


“I read that every known every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting.” (Johnathan Harker)

What begins as a business trip for Johnathan Harker in Transylvania turns into a horrifying stay. Meeting with the Count Dracula, he is mystified and grows increasingly nervous the longer his stay in the large estate. He discovers the Dark secret of the Count being a vampire and seeks, more than ever, an escape.

Johnathan’s return home to his darling, Mina Murray, is troublesome. The Count has followed him, leaving a trail of blood, despair, and un-death. The professor, Van Helsing, comes to the aid of the couple as well as his friend, Dr. Seward, Austin Godalming, and Lucy Westenra who also begin suffering at the hand of the Count Dracula. Desperate, the professor goes to superstitious lengths to protect all of those the Count has in his cold, deathly clutches.


A gothic masterpiece, Dracula, truly works the horror genre with style. I can’t say that I’m terrified after reading the book, but completely fascinated. This is, in part, where the story of vampires began. Their fiction. Their fame. And it’s completely delightful to get swept up by something that’s so abnormal. It’s completely out of this world to think of such creatures to be real, yet Stoker did a great job of doing that.


The writing style of this novel was magnificent. Each chapter follows segments of newspaper articles, letters, diary entries and more. There was no true POV. It was all done in fragments and in the order of occurrence. I found that to be very unique and intriguing. It brought me in deeper, closer, to what occurred. You get to explore the various characters of Johnathan, Mina, Lucy and even Dracula. There’s several more of whom have entries and major parts to play

The story itself had major depth. During the timeline, the characters’ entries don’t leave out a single tidbit whether in how they are feeling or what they see around them. At times it was a bit repetitive feeling, but in keeping with the characters it was still really nice. When it came to the blood and death, Stoker was very light on it. When people were killed, it was masked in disappearances or beauty, which is odd since death is usually neither. I am that person who hopes for a little gore with my horror. That just seemed to be lacking a bit here, but then again, this was the 1800s, so it’s understandable. Don’t want to scare readers to death.

Personally, and on a bit of a spoilery note if you’ve never read Dracula, Dracula is a skank. Then again if you’ve paid attention to the films you know this already. The man…vampire…vampire-man has three wives. And then, he comes in and seduces Miss Lucy Westenra, who is already engaged to be married, until he can get the attention of Mina Murray, sweeping her up with his irresistible charms. He just can’t get no (say it with me) satisfaction, apparently. Even though this is the second time I’ve read Dracula, I still get into a giggle fit over the ridiculousness of it. It’s funny to me.


Would I recommend this book? YES! While I find my own personal giggles in the book, it is a fantastic horror. I love what a beautiful piece of literature this is. It certainly explores the darker side of it. So yes, I think everyone should give this a read at least…along with some H.P. Lovecraft, which I have on the side waiting for me. Plus, if you can handle Twilight, you can handle the Count.



“It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Do you not know that to-night, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway? Do you know where you are going, and what you are going to?” (Old Lady to Johnathan Harker, p. 9)

“Denn die Todien reiten schnell—(For the dead travel fast)” (travelling companion, p. 15)

“I began to fear as I wrote in this book that I was getting too diffuse; but now I am glad that I went into detail from the first, for there is something so strange about this place and all in it that I cannot but feel uneasy.” (Johnathan Harker, p. 31)

“I am here to do Your bidding, Master. I am Your slave, and You will reward me, for I shall be faithful.” (Renfield, p. 116)


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? In The Shadows by The Rasmus.


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It’s Alive!! Now Beat It With a Stick. (Frankenstein – A Book Review)

Author: Mary Shelley
Published: 1818


My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltHalf bolt


Victor Frankenstein is a man of great intelligence and seeks the greatest mysteries in life as a scientist: eternal life. He goes one step further; he seeks out a way to bring life from death. When he succeeds, he isn’t excited about the revolutionary accomplishment, but utterly horrified. Under terrific duress, he tries to escape his disfigured and horrifying creature, only for more horrors to follow him wherever he goes, resulting in ultimate dread, loss and insanity.

The Gothic horror tale of Frankenstein is the first in my three story mass market.


Warning: There is a chance that this review is spoiler-y, though with the novel being well in-depth, maybe not that spoiler-y.

Having seen many different renditions and portrayals of the great Victor Frankenstein and his creature, I was glad to finally get to read the book. I was surprised by many things. One being that the great Dr. Frankenstein wasn’t a maniac as portrayed…

Frankenstein - imgur



It’s rather the opposite. Key word is misery. And death. There was a lot of death in this fantastic horror. And yes, there were many similarities by the great Gene Wilder and others, but still. NOPE.

I really enjoyed how this story was told. The POV was from Victor Frankenstein, but not in a present tense. You begin with letters from a man, Walton, to his sister while he’s on a ship voyage and then stumble upon Victor Frankenstein who then relays his tale to the man. You’re reminded that he’s telling you this with speckles from him such as, “Let me regain my breath” and “Let make sure I recount this correctly”. I loved that the most, I think.

Something that pickled me, and yes, I said pickled, was Igor. Igor, always known in films to be Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant in his experiment actually doesn’t exist. Henry Clerval is the closest character to compare to the disfigured and seemingly dumb character, though he isn’t those things in the book. My mom even tossed in her thoughts when I discussed it, saying, “I guess the movie producers/creators thought the great doctor was inept and gave him an assistant.”. LOL.



The strongest element that really pulled me in was the themes. While this is an element carried in most books, it’s not one that usually captures my attention like fireworks. Fireworks were had here with the themes. As you know, I discuss what draws me the most to the books I’ve reviewed here. In some cases it’s the characters or the setting because of how detailed it is and how beautiful of a visual it can be. Other times it’s how the book made me feel and how I related to these emotions. It’s all the usual. Frankenstein was special.

One of the themes that stuck out was in how people treated the creature. I refuse to call him a monster, because he didn’t truly become a monster until forced, and even still, he is just struggling to survive and figure out the world, like all of us. Though, I believe we call it adulting these days. So if he is a monster then aren’t we all?

More so, he was deemed a monster mostly because of what he looked like, adding (to this theme of being a monster) that he was judged based on what he looks like-something people everywhere has dealt with before at one time. After all, there’s one of those golden rules: Thou shalt not judge a book by thy cover.

And that leads me to the second theme. For those who have read this tale, you know that Victor Frankenstein’s creature comes to find the doctor after his creation/birth. He tells him the tale of his journey and how he came to learn how to talk and live off the land which shows, in my opinion, an off-handed, coming of age theme. The creature is full-grown when brought out of death and to life, but he goes through the motions of figuring out who and what he is all by himself with nobody to guide him, except those he watches from afar.

A longing for love and acceptance followed this one because the creature’s yearning that came from his tale of self-exploration and abandonment. In one way or another, finding a partner in life, one of equality and that shares in your living of it, is one of our greatest goals. It could go from having a best friend to a pet to having a soulmate in life. To see the creature express this need was fascinating and intriguing. It’s all he wanted. I was ultimately sad when it was refused.


While the book did have its repetitive moments, the pacing was quick, yet steady without hiccups. More so, I was consumed by the places Victor Frankenstein traveled to and how his creature sought to be like other people and be accepted by them. The novel is truly tragic for both parties. For those who enjoy horror, take a moment to read this classic. You won’t get scared out of your pants. That’s not what this kind of horror is. It’s that you are understanding another person’s horror.



“It was a strong effort of the spirit  of good, but it was ineffectual. Destiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction.” (Victor, 39)

“Do not despair. To be friendless is indeed to be unfortunate, but the hearts of men, when unprejudiced by any obvious self-interest, are full of brotherly love and charity. Rely, therefore, on your hopes; and if these friends are good and amiable, do not despair.” (De Lacey to creature, p. 133)

“You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!” (creature to Victor, p. 167)

“…For while I destroyed his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were forever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned. Was there no injustice in this? Am I thought to be the only criminal, when all humankind sinned against me?…” (Creature, p. 221)


On a separate note, I received something UBER awesome today and just had to share how grateful I am. I am a very big fan of Rachel Caine’s work (Morganville Vampires) and have been meaning to get my hands on The Great Library series. Well, today I received a mysterious package and the first three novels of the series were inside.

excitedBeing Becky is pretty damn accurate.

They have been added to my immediate queue line aka the back of my couch so I imagine I will be getting to them in the Spring. I’m very excited and grateful to whoever sent them and look forward to talking about them with you all, my hapless bookworms!


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers.


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