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VINE VOICEon 24 August 2009
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."
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on 1 December 2014
I first read 'Dracula' when I was 17 or 18 and I remember really enjoying it. Twenty years' later I thought I'd reread it. Big mistake. Stoker conjures up some terrific individual scenes and the opening few chapters documenting Harker's time at Castle Dracula are superb. For me it starts to fall apart about halfway through when the plot begins to run out of steam. Some of the subsequent events feel like word-spinning but the biggest criticism I would make now is the two-dimensional characterisation. The men are mostly insufferable, stiff-upper-lipped Victorians, trembling with suppressed emotion or weeping with wonderment at the plucky bravery of Mina Harker. Mina herself is almost angelic in her sweet virtue and holy nature. Everyone is utterly wonderful to everyone else, and it sort of starts to grate. I also found the attempt to mimic Van Helsing's Dutch accent really very trying towards the end.

'Dracula', as an idea, is superb and, as I said, some of the scenes are iconic but rereading it with older eyes I can't but realise that the book isn't actually that well written or that well plotted. It's undeniably a cultural classic but more, perhaps, for what it started than as a work of literature in its own right. As a piece of writing, 'Frankenstein' is far superior.
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VINE VOICEon 11 July 2009
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.
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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.
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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.
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on 25 March 2015
How do I give a mark to this? I've given it three stars but I've wavered between 1 and 5.

It starts off really well. Entering the Borgo Pass is really scary, so is the hapless Jonathan's imprisonment in the castle. Whitby is great - a really terrific bit of Yorkshire dialect here (everyone was doing it in those post-Wuthering Heights days) -

These bans an' wafts an' boh-ghosts an' barguests an' bogles an' all anent them is only fit to set bairns an' dizzy women a-belderin'.

The blood transfusions are great; Lucy's mother throwing out the garlic; Dr Seward's astonishment as to where all the blood is going - the bed ought to be soaked scarlet, he thinks to himself. Somehow that thought is one of the scariest things in the book, because it's more real - and a more unguardedly literal evocation of men's fear of women's menstruation. Then the visits to the grave, with the candle splashing "sperm" (spermaceti) on the stone. Finally the violation of Mina as her husband lays by. But that's really Stoker's last masterstroke.

The book's quality fluctuates but on the whole it slides downhill. It has the perennial problem of sensation novels, how do you maintain the suspense when at some point you have to move to a conclusion? Once Van Helsing has finally stopped being enigmatic and deigned to pronounce the word "vampire", the long-held tension begins to fizzle out of the book like air out of a tyre.

From that point on we begin to see that we're no longer in a titanic battle against a whole mysterious world. We're in a battle against one lone figure, and, as it turns out, one with not a whole lot of resources at his back. Stoker's imagination seems to run out of ideas.

And the last 100 pages are really lame. Van Helsing builds it up as "the worst is yet before us". Everyone prays to God a lot. Mina keeps getting paler. But you know what? From this point nothing unexpected or unpredictable really happens. The increasingly stereotyped bunch of adult Ghostbusters go blundering across Europe, halt Dracula's progress at the last minute, stake through the heart blah blah. In this later part of the book Stoker can hardly be bothered even to think up any new descriptions. Roumania is perfunctorily "beautiful", the people repetitiously picturesque, the wolves just a noise in the background and even the once-terrifying ruined castle is casually brushed aside in Van Helsing's headlong rush to the chapel.

Stoker's Dracula is an object lesson of how a book can have a fantastic future pop-cultural career ahead of it and yet still be kind of rubbish when considered in itself.

Also, a book can be seminal in bad ways as well as good. While many readers appreciated the breakneck pace Stoker's book also bequeathed a certain po-faced woodenness to the horror genre that it has struggled to escape from. It is also a "ten-minutes to save the world" story and that isn't a genre I have much respect for.

That Yorkshire sailor I mentioned earlier (Mr Swales). Stoker lavishes his considerable skill on realizing the old sailor's speech. Then he doesn't need him any more. A couple of chapters later, he's dead, with a broken neck and a look of horror. Stoker's book doesn't really care about people, only about horrific events. And obviously that lack of engagement shows up as weaknesses elsewhere. The Ghostbusters themselves lack individuality of character. One's a posh lord, another's an American, another's a doctor, and that's about as far as any characterization goes.

Those who think Stoker questions the values of his age are being overly complimentary. Mina and Lucy are as timidly role-compliant as Dickens heroines from half a century earlier. It's not exactly Tess of the D'Urbervilles, never mind Middlemarch, never mind The Woman in White even. (and obviously we won't be unfair and mention A Doll's House or Zola or Edith Wharton or The Bostonians or in fact anything really modern in 1897) Few books are as nakedly committed to the wealth and conventional middle-class values of its heroes. Even an ultra-conservative author like John Buchan felt compelled to justify the values that Stoker merely registered.

Still, the vampire yarn opened doors to new audiences, new media, new creativity. Stephenie Meyer (and others like her) were entirely right to perceive that the horror story genre is essentially about adolescents. (Maybe that's why the characters in Dracula are so often either sleeping or up at all hours of the night!) You have the occasional token oldster (van Helsing in this case) to provide some lore; but otherwise the protagonists should be young and sexy. Just like Scream and From Dusk til Dawn. The characters mysteriously lack connections outside the novel's own inner ring: parents, spouses, siblings and children are mysteriously elided (or killed off) so that these teenagers can just go around in a gang and fantasise that the world revolves around them. Hence the poor blood-drained children that the team rescue in Hampstead are an encumbrance to the story, which is why they are (absurdly) abandoned "where the police will find them" - Stoker's book is very scared of engaging with real people, real children, families, or society; it avoids them with great skill.

I read the book in the Collins Classics version. This is a budget series (competition for Wordsworth Classics) for which HarperCollins appear to take a sort of arm's-length responsibility. It's a strange publication. The text is full of typos that seem to be caused by an OCR app that can't cope with non-standard English "My own belief was that the 'armory 'ad got into his 'cad." ('armony, 'ead) . The Introduction is unattributed and has nothing much to say. A random "wordlist" at the end seems to have nothing at all to do with Dracula and is full of strange errors.
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on 16 October 2009
This is a faithful retelling of the original. The illustrations are stunning and sympathetic to the text.
Beautifully written and an excellent, gripping adventure for 9+ - A good way to introduce them to this classic story.

The slip case version makes a fabulous present - very stylish.

I would highly recommend - this is one of the best versions of Dracula around for kids at the moment.
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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.
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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 :)
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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!
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