Thursday, August 25, 2022

[Review] - 'The Phantom and Barnabas Collins' by Marilyn Ross

Victoria Winters, the orphan governess, had vanished by the time "The Phantom and Barnabas Collins" was released in September 1969. It's the tenth book in Marilyn Ross's original Dark Shadows novel series (otherwise known as William Edward Daniel Ross). Victoria Winters abruptly left Collinwood, and Maggie Evans took over as David's governess. As a result, Victoria's parents' mystery remained a mystery.

Barnabas Collins and Maggie Evans discovered Valeria Norris' hidden tomb after visiting the Collins family cemetery on their estate. Maggie faints and awakens in 1880 with only her name remembered. Except for the cursed vampire Barnabas Collins, no one she knew or cared about had been born yet. Barnabas appears to be in the right place at the right time.

Every Gothic story requires an insane scientist, and Dr. Giles Collins fits the bill perfectly in this story. He's a creepy character who enjoys blood and has his sights set on Maggie.

The novel was published in Germany in 1977 with a cover illustration by N. Lutohin.

Final Thoughts

The Dark Shadows books got goofier as the series continued, just like the afternoon soap drama. Sadly, Victoria Winters' plot never had a satisfactory conclusion, but at least Maggie Evans made a comeback following her brief appearance in the first book. The time-traveling premise works well in this case, although the subplots overuse tropes from horror films, which lends the novel its peculiarity. Although some readers might find it repulsive, I enjoyed the weird, mad scientist material. The Phantom and Barnabas Collins is an exciting and fun read overall. -- ★★★★✰

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