by Bram Stoker
genre: horror, Gothic, classic, vampire
Have you been meaning to get around to this dark classic? I finally did!
Before you continue to read my review, I probably should state that I don’t really enjoy books of epistolary nature (told through letters and diaries) and I also don’t like the writing style of classic novels. I am someone who enjoys a gripping story and fast-paced, powerful writing. I loved the story of Frankenstein, but the writing annoyed me to no end. The writing in Dracula also annoyed me but thankfully it did have a great plot. A “true” vampire novel to say the least.
My first substantial introduction into the Dracula story was with the movie ‘Van Helsing’ when I watched it many years ago (I was 12 or so), I thought it was the best movie ever. Only now, after reading the original novel, do I realise how silly and inaccurate the movie was. For one: Van Helsing should definitely have not been played by the rugged, attractive Australian actor, Hugh Jackman, considering the fact that the Dutch character was old, overweight, and balding (if memory serves me right). For two, where the heck is the rest of the team and why are there werewolves involved? Either way! I loved the dark themes of that movie and fell in love with Dracula and his flock of voluptuous, blood-thirsty vampire ladies. The corrupt, evil, alluring vampires were one of my first, if not first, love of the supernatural. I can’t stand romantic vampire novels (I’m not judging!) because I love it so much better when they are truly, and inherently, evil (cue thunderstorm strike and manic laughter). Only now, 8 years later, did I decide to read the book. So, here it goes!
When Dracula was directly involved in the scenes the story became so much better. It truly grasped my attention and refused to let go. Unfortunately, there were many, many pages where Dracula did not appear where the cast of characters simply huddled together and summarized what had happened so far and wept about their dreadful predicament. That got awfully old by a few chapters and I began to skip pages very quickly into the novel. The ending also seemed particularly anti-climactic and cheesy. I don’t want to explicitly state any spoilers but I wasn’t impressed by the ending at all, especially since the novel had such a strong beginning.
My favourite “parts” or segments of the novel was definitely the first journal collection by Jonathan Harker when he’s at the Count’s castle, “saving” Lucy, and the discussions between Renfield and Dr Seward. The story seemed to get weaker by the midpoint and the ending didn’t satisfy me. The first part of the book was dark, gritty, and violent. It was the Gothic classic I had expected but… the second half of the book didn’t hold onto those strong dark themes as strongly. It felt more like a “cat and mouse” chase where Dracula was just the goal as oppose to being involved. (I know book lovers will stake me for this (hehe, puns) but I preferred the movie ‘Van Helsing’. Although saying that, I don’t want to watch it again in case I ruin the amazing memories I hold from when I was in my early teens. Haha.)
One minor, but very annoying, detail in the book was that Van Helsing muttered at one point ‘Mein Gott’ which is NOT Dutch Bram Stoker, that’s German (Van Helsing is a Dutchman). I wish there had been more interaction between Dracula and the characters, like the original journal entries of Jonathan Harker. I wish the story was faster paced but I put that detail aside because it’s a classic. Overall, I did enjoy the novel.
3.5 out of 5 stars
- You enjoy classic novels.
- You seek dark books with supernatural and mystery themes.
- You enjoy reading books written through journals or letters.
This book is not for you if:
- You are looking for a romantic vampire love story. This is NOT a Twilight book.
- You need a fast-paced book and don’t enjoy elaborate descriptions.
- You’re looking for a light-hearted, easy read.
– Ermisenda Alvarez
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