Yay for new kinda favorite series! The thing for me that distinguishes a favorite from something enjoyable is how re-readable a book is. While I was waiting for the second book to get to my mailbox, I reread the first, and it was as much fun as the first time. After reading Dreadful Company (book 2), I started rereading it about a week later. Still fun.
Dreadful Company features many of the same characters from the first novel including Dr. Greta Helsing, physician to things that go bump in the night, Ruthven the vampire, Varney the vampyre (there’s a technical difference; read book 1 to find out), Fastitocalon the ex-demon, and several new characters including St Germain the werewolf, a handful of ghosts including Oscar Wilde, a pair of who-knows-what psychopomps (Crepusculus and Brightside) who help spirits cross into the next world, and a handful of new vampires who start causing trouble.
Greta has come to Paris not long after the events of Strange Practice (book 1) to give a paper at a medical conference, and she proceeds to get kidnapped by Corvin who wants to use her in getting revenge against Ruthven for something that happened some years ago. Corvin is more like the vampires in the original Gothic horror novels, just updated for the 21st century in that he likes body glitter, heavy make-up, techno music, orgies, etc. His lair also just so happens to be under the Paris Opera House, the same one which is the setting for much of Phantom of the Opera (this comes up as part of the story part way through). He’s a power hungry narcissist who is nowhere near as cool as he thinks. He’s got a girlfriend Lilith who has a hobby which becomes pretty important, a second in command Grisaille who has a real issue acting on his conscience, and a handful of followers including the still-teen newly turned Sophiria (not her real name). Eventually Varney (who still has a thing for Greta and she for him but they haven’t told the other) and Ruthven figure out Greta’s missing and come to Paris to find her. While they’re doing that and Greta is contemplating escaping her captors with the help of some critter type monsters, the psychopomps are dealing with some weird things going on with ghosts and possible fractures in reality anchored at the Opera House caused by they don’t know what for most of the novel.
The only real issue that I had was that for much of the novel, it read like two unconnected stories, since the Greta’s arc and the psychopomps’ don’t seem to have much to do with each other until after Greta’s kidnapping is resolved. This is really more of a character story in an interesting version of the world. Varney in particular gets some character development, and watching him experience modern air travel for the first time is kind of funny yet relatable at the same time. He also has a completely awwwdorable moment with a newborn hair monster.
Book 3 is due later this year and from the excerpt included in my version of Dreadful Company, I’m totally pre-ordering.