Reviews of Powers of Darkness

I collected some reviews of Powers of Darkness here. As could be expected, most reviewers were intrigued by the discovery—how they actually liked the story largely depended on their expectations and  personal taste. Taken althogether, though, the amount of interest shown in these high-ranking publications demonstrates that my discovery tickles the curiosity of nearly every fan of Gothic fiction.

Powers of Darkness spotted in a bookshop in Utrecht, Holland. Photo: Tessa de Roos
Powers of Darkness spotted in a bookshop in Utrecht, Holland. Photo: Tessa de Roos

New York Times

"And now, with the discovery of its vast differences from "Dracula," it will have a lasting impact on the world of vampire studies too."


You can read the complete review here.


Times Literary Supplement

"As for Powers of Darkness, although it does not stand up as a novel in its own right, it is an invaluable extension to our knowledge about Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Now we just have to wait for more."


The complete review is here.

The Guardian, U.K.

"We may never know who – Stoker or Ásmundsson – was responsible for what is in Makt Myrkranna. Regardless, our familiar, beloved count has a wintry doppelgänger, thanks to this strange, pleasing curiosity of a book. Almost makes you wonder, in proper vampire fashion, if there are others out there."


The complete text of the review is here.

GINGER NUTS REVIEW OF HORROR writes: "An exceptional work.... Hans Corneel De Roos, quite possibly the foremost expert on Stoker’s creation, has provided copious annotation throughout, and the book is laden with illustrations and photographs [which] give exceptional insight... a beautiful volume and I can’t recommend it highly enough."


THE LADY concludes: “[It’s] difficult to overstate the significance of this remarkable literary discovery… presented here, in de Roos’s English translation, in a majestic hardback edition… [A] fascinating and erudite project.”


THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE:  "'Powers of Darkness' does intrigue, if only by adding layers of hearsay to the original. It's as if one more set of transcripts had been found, rumoring a new world order in which our problems are much, much bigger than one rogue count.


THE SMITHSONIAN: "The preface was what got English-language scholars interested in the Icelandic book, but still, nobody thought to compare the actual text of Makt Myrkranna to the original Stoker novel, assuming, as Dalby wrote, that it was “merely an abridged translation of Dracula,” de Roos writes. Finally in 2014, de Roos writes that he went back to the original text of Powers of Darkness to verify something, and discovered that the Icelandic story diverged from the English original."


PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY states: De Roos’s abundant annotations are insightful, and the translation, although pulpier than Stoker’s original, is a fascinating gloss on a literary classic."

THE SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW concludes: "Powers of Darkness is a completely new look at this classic text that fans of the book and genre won’t want to miss." By Alex Teander.


STARBURST MAGAZINE tells us: "10/10, calling it “really something to celebrate… hugely entertaining… we enjoyed every moment of it. The design of the book is quite gorgeous as well.”

BIBLIOKLEPT concludes: "The resulting narrative is one that is shorter, punchier, more erotic, and perhaps even more suspenseful than Stoker’s Dracula."

GOODREADS offers hardly any new information, but it features comments from readers.

NY JOURNAL OF BOOKS states: "Whereas the original, being a Victorian novel, skirts such issues as the sexuality of which the vampire is an overt symbol, Powers of Darkness is more straightforward. In speaking to Harker of the pale young woman seen in various parts of the castle, a young woman the solicitor himself is obviously attracted to, the Count is quite erotic in his own reactions as well as acknowledging his guest’s."

WORDS WITHOUT BORDERS: File this one under weird. If there’s a list of tapped out literary tropes, vampire has to be close to the top of it, yet throw Stoker’s canonical text through the translation mechinations of Ásmundsson and De Roos, and suddenly you have bizarro Bram Stoker on your hands, and it’s a brave new world. With that, I’m guessing you’re either all in, or never will be; behave accordingly."
FULL STOP :"The bulk of Powers of Darkness follows Jonathan Harker as he stumbles around the Count’s Transylvanian castle, gets seduced by a gorgeous blonde vampire who is either the Count’s sister, niece, or wife, spends far too much time listening to the Count talk about his collection of pornographic etchings, and still manages to discover the Count’s admittedly poorly-hidden devil-worshipping human-sacrifice cult in the basement."


DEN OF GEEK states: "As a whole, Powers of Darkness appears incomplete, but that will only add to its mystique for the most devout fans of Dracula and Bram Stoker. It is both a probable glimpse into Stoker’s early ideas and a wild deviation by a foreign author that offered the first reinterpretation of Dracula"


SEATTLE BOOK REVIEW tells us: "Powers of Darkness is a completely new look at this classic text that fans of the book and genre won’t want to miss."