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I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire by P. N. Elrod

Posted by travizzt on August 6, 2010

The life of Count Strahd Von Zarovich is heart breaking and it’s all told in I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire.


I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire
by P. N. Elrod- This is the seventh novel that was released for the Ravenloft campaign setting of Dungeons and Dragons. This is also the first I, Strahd novel with the second novel called I, Strahd: The War Against Azalin. P. N. Elrod has written over 24 full-length novels and numerous short stories. Most of her stories focus on vampire mysteries. Her works include; The Vampire Files series (Bloodlist, Lifeblood, Bloodcircle, Art in the Blood, Fire in the Blood, Blood on the Water, Chill in the Blood, Dark Sleep, Lady Crymsyn, Cold Streets, Song in the Dark, and Dark Road Rising), Jonathan Barrett: Gentleman Vampire series (Red Death, Death and the Maiden, Death Masque, and Dance of Death), Quincey Morris: Vampire, The Adventures of Myhr, and co-authoring a trilogy with Nigel Bennett called Lord Richard, Vampire (Keeper of the King, His Father’s Son, and Siege Perilous). I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire was originally released in 1993 and published by TSR. However, the Ravenloft novel line was discontinued in the late 1990’s, and was brought back under the new title of Ravenloft Covenant in the mid 2000’s and I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire was re-released in 2006 and published by Wizards of the Coast. However, it’s still hard to find and you’ll more than likely need to find it used.
Strahd Von Zarovich’s life has been full of missed chances and opportunities that were replaced with military campaigns. After defeating the ruler of the country of Barovia, Strahd becomes the new ruler. But before the ceremony to make him the lands ruler, his second in command, Alek Gwilym, learns of an assassination plot to take Strahd’s life under the orders of the assassin organization called Ba’al Verzi. However, they find and kill the traitor. With that taken care of, Strahd begins his rule. He visits the towns and villages of Barovia and begins the repairs to his new castle that he now calls Castle Ravenloft. Hearing the good news, Strahd’s younger brother, Sergei, comes to live with Strahd. However, Sergei falls in love with a village girl named Tatyana, who Strahd also falls in love with. As Sergei and Tatyana’s wedding day looms closer and closer, Strahd becomes even more desperate. But is Strahd desperate enough to do unspeakable things and live with their consequences?

Criticisms:
1) Beginning. The beginning was a little slow-paced and more than a little boring. It seemed like nothing happened, even though things were. It could have been that the story was being told in a very unique first person perspective. Thankfully, by the third chapter, things start to pick up. It’s not a huge issue and it probably was just me getting used to the perspective.

Praises:
1) Strahd. While an obviously evil character in the first Ravenloft novel, Vampire of the Mists by Christie Golden, it’s wonderful to see another side of Strahd. He becomes a very sympathetic and likeable character and person. He comes off as almost caring for the people of Barovia, but at the same time comes across as almost cold and indifferent to them as well. It was also surprising to see that Strahd is a very honor-bond character and not some ruthless, heartless killer. I was just pleasantly surprised by how deep of a character he is.
2) Middle. For those of you that have read Vampire of the Mists, what happens here is really no surprise. But if you haven’t, you see what happens to Strahd and you almost feel sorry for him. Almost.  At the risk of spoiling what happens, Strahd, using dark magic, turns into a vampire and just destroys these men that killed off the wedding party guests. From this point on, the story was very hard to put down.
3) Journal Entry. I really did like how the story was told. It had this different feel and felt a little more insightful than a third person perspective. Another bonus to the journal entry, first person perspective is that you aren’t really sure if what happened really happened that way. You may start to think that what Strahd is saying isn’t what really is happening. It was just interesting and it really made me think.

Side Notes:
1) Timeline. When I was reading this, I couldn’t help but think when the events of Vampire of the Mists falls, if this happened after the last entry or sometime during.
2) Imagery. The way that things are described almost shouted out things to come. With having the reds almost always described as being blood-colored, they just jumped out and got my attention. It was a wonderful way to foreshadow upcoming events.
3) Cover Art. The release I have is the picture that I included at the top. It has that 90’s cheesy factor to it. Strahd standing there does look silly, but it is a pretty good pose. The floating, mist-like people behind him is an interesting touch, but I’m not really sure what they represent other than the mists. Then the back ground itself is really plain and kind of boring. Also, I’m not going to comment much on the newer version, except for this little thought: it doesn’t seem to fit the story.

Overall: 5/5
Final Thoughts:
I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire is a wonderful book. Strahd is just a wonderful character. Everything is just wonderful in this book. The only problem is that it felt a little slow at first, but I’m willing to say that was due to the perspective and I just needed time to adjust. After you do get used to it, it becomes a fast paced and exciting read. Like I said, Strahd is just wonderful. While I thought he would be a heartless and ruthless person, he surprised me by who deep and almost caring he really is. All I can really say is you should definitely try to find a copy and read it.

One Response to “I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire by P. N. Elrod”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Travis Eisenbrandt, Travis Eisenbrandt. Travis Eisenbrandt said: New review time! I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire by P. N. Elrod: http://wp.me/pGqQm-eE […]

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