Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dracula...random thoughts

Dracula by Bram Stoker.

At the risk of exposing the breadth of my ignorance, I have to say that I honestly knew very little about this book before I read it. Seriously, I knew it was set in Europe and that Count Dracula is a vampire. And thanks to Deslily's review (that I only skimmed because I knew I was about to read the book and didn't want to accidentally learn anything) I knew the story was told through letters and journal entries and the like. Beyond that, nothing. And though I've heard the movie is nothing like the book, I've never seen it anyway. I truly am pathetic, aren't I?

Second admission, while I was actually quite excited to read it, I have to admit I was also a bit reluctant. After my less than wonderful experience with Frankenstein last year, I feared I simply wasn't cut out for the classics of horror.

I'm delighted to say that my fears were unfounded; yes, I was extremely surprised by how much I loved this book. I will admit that it started a bit slow for me, but by the time I hit page 50 or so, I was totally hooked!

The story itself is quite suspenseful. We follow Count Dracula, an aristocratic vampire, from Transylvania to London, England, through the eyes of a Jonathan Harker, a lawyer unlucky enough to have been hired to take care of some legal matters for the Count. In Whitby and London, we meet the rest of the cast of unfortunate people who will eventually take it upon themselves to stop the Count.

But as nail-biting as this tale is, the book offers so much more. The atmospheric elements surround and transport you to the late nineteenth century. From the cliffs at Whitby to the rugged mountain pass in Transylvania, it is a haunting trip back in time. You feel the fog settle around you.

And the characters. From the beautiful, tragic Lucy to the eccentric, brilliant Dr. Van Helsing to the insane, yet very complicated Renfield. Stoker did a wonderful job in bringing these people to life...and beyond.

I realize most people have already read this book, but if you happen to be one of those people, who like me, have been avoiding this book for one reason or another, I strongly recommend you rethink your reluctance. I can definitely understand how Dracula has come to be "a classic".


For more lucid thoughts on Dracula, you may want to try these reviews:

Deslily at Here, There, and Everywhere

Becky at Becky's Book Reviews

Nicki at Fyrefly's Book Blog

If you've reviewed this book, please feel free to leave a link in the comments and I'll add it here.


Oh how sad I will be to see RIP III come to an end!


Rebecca Reid said...

I'm pretty ignorant of it too but I avoid it because I tend to not like "scary" stories. But I've heard so much about it this season, that I think I must give it a try! Thanks for this review

Melody said...

Count me as ignorant too! I didn't even own this book, so it looks like I've to add it to my wishlist!

Carl V. said...

Of course you must know that I am beyond thrilled to know that you had such a wonderful experience with Dracula. It is far and away my much because I read it and was thrilled by the eerieness of it when I was 12 as by the layers of enjoyment I have discovered in it through multiple re-reads as an adult. It truly is an amazingly written book with wonderfully realized characters atmosphere you could cut with a knife.

Nymeth said...

"I truly am pathetic, aren't I?"

Nope! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Debi! Your review brought back some great memories...I really need to read this one again! I also loved the atmosphere, the characterization and Stoker's writing itself. I suspect I will revisit it before long.

Fyrefly said...

I was in similar straits when I read it last October (review here - knew almost nothing about it. Unfortunately, it didn't do much for me... I wanted more about Dracula and less about Mina Harker.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Maybe I'll read this next year around Halloween. I think I've read it before but I'm not to sure.

DesLily said...

pathetic? I think not.. I had to be 64 before I read it!

I was not thrilled with the book. I did like how it was written, and the writing was excellent, I just found it boring.. I did enjoy the parts about Renfield the best.

Trish said...

so glad you liked this one!! I haven't read it, but to be honest I've been put off by it because of my reaction to Frankenstein. I don't know much about it, but I guess I should stop being such a wimp!! :) I like to whine a lot--kind of a bad habit. Now you should read The Historian!!

cj said...

It's been a long time since I read Dracula but I still love it. Maybe I need to read it again. Renfield was the coolest crazy guy ever.

I've loved a good vampire story ever since!


Kim L said...

I need to read this one. I watched an adaptation on BBC (I think?) that was pretty blah, but it did get me interested in the story.

Dawn said...

I'm one of those people who have never read the book. I'd like to some day though. It sounds like my cup of tea!

take care,

Anonymous said...

that is a very cool review! it really captures, in a nutshell, what makes dracula so good.

i'm really glad you liked it!!