10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A mate of mine always relates a story pertaining to our childhood where when he was off playing army or cowboys and Indians , I and whoever I could persuade at the time, were off playing vampires -hiding in tree's though what that has to do with vampires is anybody's guess. Vampires have fascinated me since I first came to these shores in 1736...no only kidding , since I was very small. The Hammer Dracula films left an indelible imprint on my fermenting but feverish imagination and as soon as I was able to afford it(paper-round money ) I bought Bram Stokers 1897 novel .Even my unsophisticated teenage mind knew it was dealing with a literary classic and having re-read again it recently for the first time in a long time my unsophisticated adult mind has come to the same conclusion .It a gothic masterpiece, it's a horror masterpiece ...in fact lets just say it's a masterpiece.
The novel is told in an epistolary style , that is the novel is mainly composed of journal entries and letters written by several narrators who also serve as the novel's main characters . It seems unnecessary to go over any of the plot only to say that as well as mining European folklore and stories of vampires, Stokers novel also explores the role of women in Victorian culture, conventional and conservative sexuality, immigration, colonialism, superstition and the cutting edge (then ) of medical science and theory's .
The Victorians viewed it ostensibly as a rollicking adventure novel but it only received the attention and notoriety we take for granted nowadays when the film industry picked up on the appeal of vampires lore. And talking of lore it is oft mentioned that Stoker used Vlad III Dracula (or Vlad the Impaler ) and Countess Bathory as inspirations for the novel .
Whatever his inspiration Stoker created a distinctly memorable character in the rapacious Count but rather like Thomas Harris did with Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs made the character hunting the villain just as memorable. Van Helsing is at one and the same time a man of science familiar with the latest trends and technologies yet is also open to the existence of a supernatural being , which of course hard men of science would mock and eschew.
Even though the main character is not in the narrative as much as we would like the book has a beautifully and expertly realised air of creepy tension and is thick with atmosphere. I sat at my computer desk for a good fifteen minutes struggling to think of another novel that so adroitly conveys feelings and situations as palpable as Dracula and eventually came up with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Wordsworth Classics): Or, the Modern Prometheus ( bit lame that I know ) and another vampire novel ,and a sadly overlooked at that Skipp And Spectors wonderful The Light at the End. I'm not a big fan but Stephen Kings Salem's Lot is pretty replete with dread heavy ambience too.
Vampire fiction has been badly served of late with lightweight vampire as bleached hotty fare like Twilight (Twilight Saga) .Yet for every work of lightweight fluff like that here is something wonderful like Let the Right One in that comes at the genre from a withering new angle.
Fair to say though that Dracula is the king of the vampire and that Bram Stokers book is still , 112 years on ,still the king of vampire novels.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly "Denn die Toten reiten schnell" or "For the dead travel fast" is more than an opening line to this tale of love in the dangerous moon light. After watching several Drac movies and a few Nosferatu's, I pretty much though I had a handle on the genera. Little did I know what a wonderful world of mystery and suspense that Bram Stoker opened up for me.
The story is told mostly third party though the papers, diaries, and phonograph recordings (on wax calendars) of those people involve in a tale so bizarre that it almost defies belief. The general story line is that of a Count that plans to move to a more urban setting (from Borgo Pass to London) where there is a richer diet. There he finds succulent women; something he can sing his teeth in. Unfortunately for him a gang of ruffians (including a real-estate agent, asylum director, Texas cowboy and an Old Dutch abnormal psychologist) is out to detour his nocturnal munching. They think they have Drac on the run but with a wing and a prayer he is always one step ahead.
Of more value to the reader is the rich prose chosen by Stoker as he describes the morals and technology of the time. We have to come to grips with or decide if we can perform the rituals that are required to eliminate vampires verses the impropriety of opening graves and staking loved ones. The powers in the book differ from the movie versions in that they are more of persuasion and capabilities to manipulate the local weather. At one point the Dutch Dr. Van Helsing, is so overwhelmed by a beautiful vampire laying in the grave that he almost for gets why he is there and may become vamp chow.
All in all the story is more in the cunning chase. And the question as to will they succeed or will Dracula triumph. Remember "For the dead travel fast."
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2012
i was very surprised by this book, held in great suspense all through the book i could hardly out it down at times. Dracula is a name everyone is familiar with and all the vampire lore we see today all stems from this book in which the Count as captivated readers imaginations ever since and continues to. from the start the reader will notice a very different writing style to any other, the whole book is all written as a series of journal entries, letters and newspaper clippings from its principle characters and this gives it an incredible feeling like as if you are actually reading their very journals as you get lost in the story. the story builds over time, along with the suspense, at times it can feel like its dragging on but your are kept in mystery much of the time and that is what pushes you to keep reading as you never know how its going to turn out. this version has a great introduction (don't read it before the book) which explains the themes of the book and how the idea for it came to the author. while the characters do lack dept that though prevents from getting drowns in minor details and allows you to concentrate on the story itself which in parts will have you totally engrossed in it. a fantastic book that should be read by all just merely for the sake of reading a book that all have heard of but few have actually read.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The font does not appear to be larger than usual in this book but it is printed on smooth white pages which helps it to stand out and there is a space between each paragraph. It is better than peering at minute text on the yellowish rough pages that cheaper books seem to come with so it was definitely worth paying a little more for this edition, plus the cover appealed to me more than a ghoulish alternative. It is slightly larger than an average paperback. There are so many vampire themed books about now that it is time that we read the original one! One of an interesting selection of esoteric books in the Forgotten Books collection.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2006
I started reading this unsure of what to expect...and had finished it within 3 days, as I was unable to put it down! It goes almost straight into the story and the action starts immediately. It is also interesting that the book is written completely in letters, journal entries and so forth. The characters are interesting, especially the count himself, and it seems quite real at times (I found myself closing all my windows and checking my room for vampires).
My only complaint was that I found that the book ended quite abruptly...the story was excellent and it prepared me for a huge, wonderful ending...and then never presented it. The book ended awfully suddenly in comparison to the rest of the book which was excellent.
HOWEVER despite this, I still recommend this as its a great read and the book looks great with the red cover. Recommended :)
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2012
This is a wonderful edition of a classic novel, beautifully produced and presented. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this hardback book was packaged; it comes in a sturdy, red slipcase which is in turn housed in a nice, protective box. You would have to be extremely unlucky for this to be damaged in transit.
I don't really have much more to add to existing reviews, except to say that this really is a must-have edition if you are a collector or even if you just like the novel. I already have two other copies of Dracula and purchased this as an investment as it is sure to become a sought after item in years to come. I think this quality product is well worth the asking price.
Please take a look at the photos I submitted to get a better idea of what is included in this beautiful package.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2001
The legend of dracula has intrigued people for hundreds of years and Transylvania is still a mythical place, fearde by many. especially at night... Bram Stoker would have abhorred the sickeningly bad attempts at retelling the story on the white screen, even if every director boasts "back to the original" intentions. The only effect the films have had -strangely enough- have been to make the original story so much better!! We know more about the undead, stakes, garlic than did Stoker's first readers and this only makes the plot more intriguing. The book is partly composed of letters from different characters to other, which is a clever way of increasing the suspense, as the reader is the only person with all the answers...
It's an absolute must!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This was the first classic book I ever read. I decided that I should at least read a few classic books before I die and I decided upon this one. Many films have been made based upon this one book so I thought I would see what the true story was like.
It was quite a surprise to find that the book is not about stakes, garlic, blood, crosses, coffins and daylight, although that does come into it. The underlying story is quite heart wrenching and I really started to feel for the pain that Dracula carries for his lost love.
The book is written as the journal of Jonathan Harker and his soon to be wife Mina Murray, whom Dracula believes to be his long lost love who killed herself believing Dracula had died during a war.
The story is 2 sided. Harker having been trapped in Dracula's castle and trying to get back to England. Mina who is waiting for Harker to come home, but has met Dracula and is starting to fall in love with him through no will of her own. Then there is a battle to get Mina back to Dracula's castle so that they can be together for eternity and Harker and his posse of friends (including the infamous Van Helsing) trying to stop this from happening.
It is a little difficult to get stuck into the book at first, but as it progresses I become engrossed with the characters and story line. I felt the sense of urgency when the final chase was on and found myself reading faster as it went along. I became totally submerged in the book. This really is a timeless classic which has fed a film industry for years past and no doubt years to come.
Dracula is such a well known character, but how many people know the real story. Be one of them, The Kindle book is free, what have you got to lose?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2012
I'll be honest, I've only actually read `Dracula' once before - when I was twenty or so - and didn't really think much of it. Jonathan Harker's opening narrative seemed to me, then, slow and uninvolving and I believe I thought the rest of the book not much of an improvement. One of the joys of art - be it books, films or music - is that you can come back to something with fresh eyes at a later point in your life and appreciate it in a whole different way. `Dracula', this time around, has been a fantastically entertaining surprise. So much so that I wish I could go back to my twenty year old self, peel back his skull and try to work out what the Hell he was thinking.
Written in 1897, the book can be seen as very much part of an English `fin de siècle'; art created at the end of the glorious Victorian age which nevertheless reveals anxiety about the world around it. `Dracula' actually sees the old and the new come together, with a member of the aristocracy working hand in hand with gentlemen of the professions (doctors, a lawyer), as well as an American gentleman, to stop a threat facing London. The Upper Classes and the new Middle Classes joining so harmoniously together without comment on their distinctions, is something quite modern for the Victorian novel. (The Working Classes also put in an appearance, although they are pretty much illiterate and drunk, however they do recognise their betters. Other writers would create books for them). There are also new fangled inventions like the phonograph, and the great wonders of transport created in the Victorian age are put to great use.
And yet, there is a constant threat of the unknown. A visitor from a country at the far edge of Europe reaches in and disrupts the harmony of this secure world. He is something beyond the great achievements of science, a creature who is old and bloody and threatens to take this civilised and ordered world back to the dark ages. He is also decadently sensual, having no respect for the morals of vulnerable young women. Evidently this is the type of monster who needs to be stopped, but can even the greatness of the Victorian age stamp him out?
Undoubtedly Stoker did his research into Victorian folklore, as his knowledge is smeared across the pages. Indeed there are numerous scenes of gore and violence which stand up even now (particularly the fate of Lucy in the graveyard) and it all builds to a genuinely exciting chase sequence. Like `Frankenstein', it isn't perfect: the character of Dracula himself vanishes to the background a little too much; some of the melding together of the differing narratives is extremely clunky; and, once Mina is chosen by Dracula for his prey, would these people really not suspect what was happening? However, I will write every one of those off as quibbles. My twenty year old self was wrong, `Dracula' is a scary and thrilling read, which still deserves to stand as the Daddy of vampire fiction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2012
With the plethora of Vampire novels flooding the market, it is vital for anyone who loves the eerie and mysterious to read this classic 19th century masterpiece which introduced the intricate story of Count Dracula to the world
Begins the journey of young English solicitor Jonathan Harker to the Carpathian mountain castle of Count Dracula, to finish a real estate deal. Beguiled at first by Dracula's engaging manner Harker soon discovers he is a prisoner in the castle.
He explores, against Dracula's orders, forbidden parts of the Castle, and is attacked by three wanton female vampires but is saved by Dracula who wants to keep him alive to learn about Harker's homeland
Harker barely escapes the castle with his life. Meanwhile Dracula makes his way to England, on a Russian boat, the Demeter , where he tracks Harker;s innocent young fiancee Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray and her best friend Lucy Westenra. He can assume a manner of shapes and sizes , and metamorphose into bats, wolves and other beings in order to get whore he wants. He can control nature and all manner of animals, such as rats, bats, wolves and dogs. Dracula infect Lucy with his vampire condition and eventually kills her and her mother, he also infects Mina but Mina is to survive. And the hunt for Dracula begins to cure Mina and prevent the demon from infecting and destroying more victims, Professor Abraham Van Helsing, Dr Seward and Jonathan Harker begin the hunt for Dracula which will take them back to the Carpathian mountains for the gripping final scene.
I'm certainly happy I read this novel-which sits on the throne besides classics as Wuthering Heights and the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley, as one of the greatest Gothic novels of all time. Richly descriptive about the places , characters and events, of the novel, including both Eastern Europe and London in the late 19th century, with just the right combination of pathos, eeriness, horror and humanity.
Written all in the form of diaries, journals and letters, in other words the book is written in epistolary format.