No really, we haven’t ever reviewed it before. Seriously. I checked.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Originally Published in 1897

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Summary

A young Englishman, Jonathan Harker,  journeys to Transylvania to meet an elderly Count Dracula who wishes to move his estate to England.  Harker learns, all too late, what the Count actually is, and what is sinister plans are. Leaving Harker for dead, the Count finds his way to England. Mysterious deaths, odd happenings, and the ravings of a mad man lead two doctors, an American adventurer, a British lord, Harker and his new wife Mina on a cross-country hunt for the vampire known as Dracula.

Review

Did you actually have to read the summery? We all know the story, it’s one that’s been told and spoofed in countless movies and paraphrased in other books. But a lot of these works fall short of the original work. It’s good. Really good. The tale is told through journal entries, letters, and news clippings which gives it a lot of varied perspectives and tones.

Anyone that’s “into” vampires really should pick this up and see where these narratives all began. No, Stoker didn’t invent vampires, but his take is definitely one of the pivotal works in the genre.

High Points

  • Renfield. This character gets screwed up the most in film versions. In the book, he’s far more tragic and far more interesting. If there are any wannabe horror writers out there, I would highly recommend a book about Renfield from his perspective.
  • The language. English just isn’t as beautiful as it was back then. There is care in the words, even if they are personal journals.

Low Points

  • It’s isn’t so much a flaw of the book as it is how pervasive the story has become, but there really aren’t very many surprised to be had along the way. We all know what Dracula is and basically know how it all ends. There are a few things that aren’t common knowledge, like Renfield’s story and Mina’s fight with the vampire’s curse.
  • There’s a fair amount of good-old-fashioned 19th Century misogyny. It can be tiresome in places, though in the end, even the men find themselves in awe of certain female characters.

The Score

Originality: This novel is the first of its kind and kicked off an entire sub-genre of horror. 6/6

Story: The story is solid and winds along at a pretty good pace. 5/6

Imagery: This is one of the book’s strong points. The detailed and precise language of the 1890’s weaves a vivid picture of what’s going on.

Editing: Excellently put together. The journal entries, while done by different characters, leave no gaps in the narrative. 6/6

Characterization: The main characters are all fully realized, especially those narrating. We see into their fears and the questioning of their own actions and sanity. 5/6

Emotional Response: Admittedly, this is pretty tame by our 21st Century standards. That, coupled with how cliche the story has become (again not the books fault) tends to leave you a little underwhelmed in points. The characters are engaging, however, and you are drawn along with them. 4/6

Overall: The book was very engaging, far better than any of the film versions I’ve ever watched. If you like horror, like vampires, and have always wondered about it…wonder no more. 6/6

Total: 38 out of 42