Welcome to Day One of the #RandomThingsTours Stoker’s Wilde Blog Tour! I’m honored to kick things off today, and I couldn’t be happier with the book we’re featuring. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out the rest of the tour through May 17th!
Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a mysterious madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will.
- Title: Stoker’s Wilde
- Series: Fiction Without Frontiers
- Authors: Steven Hopstaken & Melissa Prusi
- Cover Artists: Flame Tree Studio and Nik Keevil
- Publisher: Flame Tree Press
- ISBN: 1787581713
- Publication Date: May 30, 2019
- Content Warning: Racism — there is frequent use of the word “g*psy.”
I’d like to thank Flame Tree Press for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and I’d like to thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for including me in this tour!
I love — LOVE — a good pun. This title is so good that, the second I heard it, I became firmly convinced that the authors came up with the title first and then everything else just fell perfectly into place. Obviously there was quite a bit more work involved than that, but Stoker’s Wilde is so fun and so well-executed that it feels like it was just waiting for Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi to pluck it from the ether. The novel follows Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde as they team up to fight supernatural evil in and around Victorian London. Told in an epistolary style, as is only appropriate for its Victorian setting, it weaves alternate history, literary allusion, Wildean wit, and bloody good horror into a funny, frightening adventure that delivers on every front.
Fans of Wilde and Stoker will appreciate the allusions to the authors’ works — the reader quickly recognizes the characters who will go on to inspire The Picture of Dorian Gray, and I think I startled several people nearby when I was reading and suddenly said to no one in particular, “Ah, Renfield!” But the story is so engrossing that you can enjoy it even if you’ve never heard of Oscar Wilde or Bram Stoker. It’s a wild ride (no pun intended, I swear) with a large cast of well-drawn characters, as the title duo and their monster-hunting allies fight vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beasts across Ireland and England. The book is often hilarious, as Wilde’s letters are filled with his trademark deadpan wit, and the eerie settings and inventive kills will satisfy horror hounds looking for a little gore.
Stoker’s Wilde suggests that there is far more going on beneath the surface of this world than most people realize, and that even the stories we thought we knew have a much darker (and much more interesting) background. The use of multiple perspectives shines a light on human nature as our heroes struggle against the constrictive morality and rigid class structure of Victorian society, and the treatment of the female characters shows the reader that women are far stronger and smarter than they’re given credit for — especially in an era when women were viewed as being best suited for staying home to raise children and (chastely) kissing the men as they ride off to fight monsters. Seeing the women come into their own and occasionally even save the day, and watching each character’s development as their predicament becomes more and more horrifying, was a real and unexpected treat.
This is a novel that has a little something for everyone, whether you’re looking for humor, adventure, alternative history, or horror. I didn’t know that I desperately needed a monster hunter buddy comedy slash terrifying cosmic vampire tale starring Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker, but I absolutely, positively did. Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi even left the saga of Stoker and Wilde open for a sequel, for which I am very grateful. I’m ready for more bloody, hilarious, and insightful horror, and with Stoker’s Wilde, Hopstaken and Prusi have shown that they’re the right duo to deliver it.
That is one hell of a pun. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 coffins.