on 28 October 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dracula, the film which is loosely based on this book, so I thought I'd give the original story a try. And what can I say but wow, from first page to last, was gripped and the chase near the end had me virtually exhausted while reading, can not say I have had an experience like that reading any other book.
To anyone who's thinking of getting this get it and read it for nowt you ain't going to go wrong. Few friends of mine don't like that it is set like a diary or journal, I had no problems with how it is put to paper.
All I can say its Entertaining, gripping, thrilling and Fangtastic
Because the general story of Dracula is so well known, it's easy to think that you'll know all of what's going to happen when you read the original by Bram Stoker. In fact, much of what is in the book is far more pschologically threatening than in any of the gore-fest films of recent years. Stoker's Dracula is genuinely, breath-takingly menacing... and beyond redemption.
With the original Dracula you get well drawn characters relating their ghastly experiences, and you're not spoon-fed the narrative -- you have to join some of the dots yourself. There is a dark, sensual overtone to much of the novel (which puts many modern authors, who turn their books into total shag-fests, completely in the shade!), and a complete horror when Dracula is fully revealed.
But there are some downsides. The novel bogs down in the mid-section. The language is of its time -- so it takes careful reading if you're used to modern horror gallop-along novels. And much of the fear and loathing develops in the mind of the reader, not from over-wrought narrative.
So to get the most from Dracula you need to take your time reading it, and put some effort in.
If you prefer your thrills to be a little easier to access then try Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot', or watch the film with Gary Oldman. They're not as pure as the original, but they do justice to the concept.
I first read Dracula when I was 14 or so, and it's just as compelling now that I'm nearly 50...
on 5 June 2016
This started off well. Stoker was definitely ahead of his time, but sadly it degenerates into time wasting and repetitions. The number of times they had to give blood to Lucy was incredibly tedious - why?!!!! I think Stoker could definitely have done with a good modern editor!
This is a classic, and a great story, no doubt about it, but hard to read without extensive skimming. Still, creepy and great atmosphere.
on 7 June 2014
Finished reading Dracula this week, one of the best and most influential books I have ever read.
Lets look at that in a little more detail.
Uniquely (At least as far as I am aware) the book is written as a series of diary and journal entries in the first person from several different perspectives. The characters are both male and female, one being a solicitor, one a Doctor; who runs a lunatic Asylum and Val Helsing of Amsterdam. Then there is Madam Mina and Lucy Westenra and their diary entries add intrigue and passion. Then we have the somewhat delicious English language as it was back in Victorian England to further enhance the experience.
There is a love quadrangle, rather than a love triangle, there is desperation, sadness and remorse but above all there is Count Dracula.
We all know the story of course, or do we?
I first read this book about fifteen years ago but due to the many films, dramas and books it has influenced over the years, I had forgotten most if it, remembering just the bare bones.
It got me wondering just how many stories; films, television programs, cartoons, comics are there out there that have been influenced by this story? Hundred, thousands maybe, who knows. From the obvious like, Salam's Lot and the Twilight saga, through Justin Cronin's excellent 'The Passage', to the less obvious.
So, a solid five stars for Bram Stoker's Dracula.
on 20 January 2015
This took me a while to read. I could say I am a "fan" of vampires, as odd as it sounds, but I have grown up watching films, TV shows and reading the books. I thought I "knew" the character of Dracula - I know what is now the popular image is not how the character started off, so it was interesting to see the creation of this infamous creature, and I will admit I was a bit horrified! The language is a bit dated and it does drag on a bit, but I did not have a moment where I wanted to give up.
People are now used to Twilight with sparkly vampires and the teen vampire stories which are great in their own right, but this is where it all really began and I would say worth the read if it interests you. It makes you understand why there were such fears over these creatures, before they were romanticised in today's world.
on 26 February 2016
I have always been fascinated by vampire lore, and in particular, Dracula. As soon as I began reading the book, I was instantly pulled in. The characters are dark, moody and interesting. I loved the book so much that as soon as I finished reading it, I bought a necklace with a quote from the book on it. So yes, you could say that I enjoyed it...!
on 20 December 2015
If you can fight your way through the Victorian Prose, this a genuinely fascinating read. Having seen all the Vampire Films, I thought it was time to read the book. Bram Stoked created a legend, albeit a terrifying one at times. His reference to the castle of Dracula is obviously that of Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, although I cannot be as precise on Whitby.
on 8 August 2013
Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897. It was the year that marked Queen Victoria's 60th year on the throne, the birth of Frank Capra (Director of It's A Wonderful Life), the death of the German composer Johannes Brahms and the foundation of Italian football giants Juventus. 1897 also saw the Australian cricket team defeat England 4-1 in the Ashes. An interesting year then, but not the most interesting. I feel the same could be said for Bram Stoker's Dracula.
The first section of the book where Jonathan Harker goes to Transylvania to assist Count Dracula in making preparations to buy a property in England is atmospheric, creepy and somewhat disturbing. Unfortunately, this only comprises less than a quarter of the book. The rest of it is a combination of diary entries and notes from the various other characters in the novel (including Harker but not including Count Dracula) and as such is reminiscent of other Victorian novels such as The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.
Unlike The Moonstone, I found the characters in Dracula to be largely insipid and one dimensional. There is the gung-ho American, the stiff-upper lip Englishman, the love-lorn Doctor, the courageous Lord and women who do nothing but adore these men in a thoroughly pathetic fashion. And then there is Van Helsing - a 72 year old Dutchman who is a self-proclaimed expert in Vampires and a sort of supernatural Sherlock Holmes. I have to say that I found the passages from Van Helsing to be at times unreadable with the author obviously attempting to proclaim Van Helsing's foreign roots by having him write his entries with constant errors in grammar. For a world-renowned Professor I would have thought he would have been a better linguist to be honest.
I found the writing to be stilted at times and the vehicle of the various diary entries serves only to negate any possible tension that is created. The singular exception is Renfield - a wonderful character whose demise really signified for me the demise of my interest in the book.
For a book that is supposed to be the seminal book on Vampires, It seems the invocation and general worship of 'God' is more prominent than any blood sucking fiend. Stereotypes abound.God is all-powerful, men are strong and brave, women are fortunate to be in such company and any foreign threat is to be disposed of in the name of virtue.
"How can women help loving men when they are so earnest, and so true, and so brave! And, too, it made me think of the wonderful power of money! What can it not do when basely used. I felt so thankful that Lord Godalming is rich, and both he and Mr Morris, who also has plenty of money, are willing to spend it so freely."
In summary, I found Dracula to be lacking in drama, humour and flow. It was overwrought at times, melodramatic and, for a huge fan of 19th Century Literature such as myself, ultimately annoying. It had none of the depth and emotion of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley nor any of the poignancy of Jekyll and Hyde by Robert Louis Stephenson. The timing of the publication is what I think has propelled Dracula into the public conscience, coming as it did at the beginning of the film industry - the perfect example of 'right time, right place', where sensationalism and shock value would in time overcome any deficiency in style substance and worth. The Daily Mail was published for the first time, just a year earlier, in 1896. A co-incidence? Maybe...
on 28 March 2014
It is a shame what modern movies and parodies have done to the image of Dracula and the legacy of this book. If you were to go off the stereotypical view of Dracula portrayed by the media and film industry alike, then you imagine him to be some corny, over elaborate clown who talks with a stupid accent. It is not the case.
The novel is well written and built on an unbelievably good foundation of suspense and intrigue. The fact that it is written in the form of diary entries and letters creates a fantastic pace and it is at times heart in the mouth stuff!
A little note about the format of the kindle edition. I found that the chapter headings were a little clumsily placed and I am not too convinced that the "time left in book" tool was accurate as seemed to go from 7 hours remaining to 2 hours remaining in a matter of pages. Still, it was free so can't complain!
on 8 September 2013
I attempted to read this book when I was about twelve, as I was just becoming interested in ghosts and vampires but, I found it a bit hard going and gave up pretty quickly.
I have returned to it, some thirty years later, having seen and read many vampire films and books over the years. There have been many versions of the Dracula story but, of course, This is the Original.
At first it takes a little while to get used to the use of language but, we must remember that this was written over a hundred years ago in a time when people, in polite society, probably spoke this way. Once I got my head around the style, I was able to read it easy and enjoy the suspense.
By today's standards, in a world where we are desensitised to horror stories, this book will probably be tame. However, I found it still full of suspense and can imagine that back when it was something new, it would have been an even more tense read indeed.
I enjoyed the way we get to read the story through the diaries and letters of the characters. We get to know how they all think individually and how they all are perceived by each other.
After the first half of the book, or so, the story does slow a little but, I persevered and it picked up again in the final quarter.
This is not the best book I have ever read but, I am glad I did, because this is where it all started. You can see what ideas of a Vampire have been carried on into books and films that other people have developed and make the connections. Also, considering how long ago it was written and the language used, I think, it still stand it's ground against the great horror writings of modern day.