Review based on ARC.
This is an excellent introduction/compendium of victorian (as well as some pre-victorian and post-victorian) vampire stories.
Michael Sims does a superb job of not only gathering some of the most noteworthy and influential pieces of the genre, but he introduces the work as a whole and each piece with aplomb.
I typically do not read the introduction to a book until after I've read the book (and only then if I feel that it's "worth my time"). I know that this is counter-intuitive, but generally I want to read the work without someone else's opinion about the work first. (I typically do not read reviews until after I've read the book either.)
In this case, however, I read the introduction as it was meant to be read -- first. What a wonderful introduction. I have dog-earred many pages (I know, gasp!) in the intro for me to follow up on and read more about the topic. I also note that Sims explains his choices effectively and intriguingly. I could not wait to get started.
The stories themselves are wonderful. They represent true vampire culture and fears in the earlier times and we are able to see the morphing of the culture of vampire lore.
All in all, excellent choices and excellent work.
I would not recommend this book to people who think that Twilight is the end-all of vampire tales. But for those of you who are interested in the backdrop of current lore, the history, the progression, and are willing to take the time and energy to read victorian style prose... by all means, sink your teeth in...
FOUR out of five stars.