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on 29 September 2011
I can't believe this book has spawned a whole genre. The plot is predictable, the diary entries fawning with, no depth to the characters. The attempts to articulate regional accents (Yorkshire, Cockney etc), fail and make parts of the book difficult to read.
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on 24 March 2011
What an awful book. It takes suspense to a level of patience. I also thought the writing style was poor, as its written as multiple diary's from various characters.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 14 September 2016
This review is taken from my blog where I review adult colouring books from a mental health perspective. More images can be found here - colouringinthemidstofmadness.wordpress.com
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book is 25cm square, the same size as most bestsellers, paperback with a thick but flexible card cover which has a wallpaper style design printed on the inside of the dust flaps, the cover is predominantly black with white line drawings and red foiling accents and text. The spine is glue and string bound and is fairly durable but does start to break if you’re particularly persistent with trying to flatten it. The images are printed double-sided and therefore a number of them do enter the spine a little which makes them tricky to colour. The paper is bright white, thick and lightly textured, I experienced no bleeding or shadowing with any of my water-based pens and I was able to get plenty of layers with my coloured pencils; alcohol markers will bleed through. The majority of the images are double-page spreads and a quote from the original book is printed onto each. The images themselves are arranged into chronological order to loosely tell the story and consist of a number of scenes, quotes, patterns and images depicting something mentioned in the displayed quote. There are images of Dracula, inside and outside the castle, forests, women being turned into vampires, vampire paraphernalia, scenes of Whitby, and Dracula’s death. As you’d expect in a book about vampires, there’s a fair amount of blood throughout but sadly the illustrator has decided to fill this in with black throughout the book meaning you’ll need to use a very opaque pencil or paint to make it red. I personally feel this was a real error in what is otherwise, a very well-illustrated book. At the end of the book is a double-page spread titled The Folklore of the Fangs which describes historical beliefs about who’s at risk of becoming a vampire, how to ward them off, how to prevent the dead from being transformed and how to destroy them. Illustrations that symbolise these things are cleverly pictured throughout the book to enhance the story which is a wonderful addition!

In terms of mental health, this book is ideal if you’re a fan of the original story and love all things gothic and dark. The images are drawn in a consistent line thickness which remains thin throughout. There is a high level of intricacy and detail in many of the images though there are larger spaces in the images containing people, but mostly you’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control in order to get the most out of this book. There isn’t a lot of leeway in the images to prevent you going over the lines or missing the details so do bear this in mind and check the suitability of the images below. The images are, as you’d expect, very dark and a little gory but they’re unlikely to upset anyone unless you’re particularly sensitive. I’d stick to colouring it on your good days as this book and its contents are certainly not uplifting or at all positive so they won’t help dark days or days when self-injury is in mind. That being said, if you like the story of Dracula, these things may not bother you so much and may impact your mental health less. The quotes are chosen very well to tell the story from beginning to end and the scenes depict the most crucial moments and are interspersed with images of objects, room scenes from inside the castle, and patterns that all fit well with the other imagery and the story itself. Some of the images are busier than others so there is a bit of variance in the amount of time it’ll take to complete each page but mostly they’ll take a good few hours to complete and are therefore most suited to good days where your concentration is high and you can focus well. These images are very distracting and will need you to pay a fair amount of attention so that you stay within the lines so it’s great for absorbing you into the task at hand and would be really good for practising mindfulness as you focus on the here and now. However, it’s equally good at transporting you into the story and into the gothic world of Transylvania. The images are very dark, both in content and colour, a large number of the images have black backgrounds or large blacked out parts so please be careful to only use this book on brighter days when you’re feeling resilient.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of Dracula, the imagery and quotes are well chosen and it’s a very good way of combining the classic story with symbolic illustrations that you can colour into your own bespoke book.
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on 5 September 2016
I first read Dracula by Bram Stoker on my first holiday abroad. I had started it before I went and couldn't leave it at so I read it in the evenings on the balcony and in the daytime sunbathing by the pool. Not your usual holiday read for a holiday in the sun, yet I still became immersed in this dark novel. Now Dracula has been released as a colouring book with illustrations by Chellie Carroll in Little Tiger Press's Colouring Classics series. Eerie but beautiful illustrations, gothic ornamentation are interspersed with quotes and short passages from the novel.

The book is approximately the same square size as most of the popular colouring books such as those by Millie Marotta and Johanna Basford. It has a striking black and white illustrated cover with red foiled highlights with french flaps front and backwhich has a colourable wallpaper type pattern on the reverse. It has 80 double -sided illustrated pages on beautiful thick paper which is close to cardstock. The pages are both glued and sewn which means you can bend the cover as much as you like to colour into the gutter and the pages won’t fall out. The ink is crisp and fixed so doesn’t transfer to the other pages. This is a classic and classy book. The paper has a good tooth and takes pencils beautifully and you could use waterbased markers here with no worry about them bleeding through. It is a keepsake book, and my only disappointment is that it doesn’t have a lovely nameplate page which would have been in perfect keeping with the book, however that is my only niggle with this beautiful high-quality book.

Those familiar with the novel (or movies) will recognise the illustrated scenes; the stagecoach trip to the castle, the count's missing reflection in the mirror, the vampire women's seduction of Johnathan Harker, Dracula in his coffin, Lucy's transformation to vampire and her subsequent staking, Mina's seduction, and the demise of the Count himself. There are creatures of the night, winding staircases,rosary beads and crosses, spider's and strait-jackets and graveyards. Perfect colouring for getting you in the mood for Halloween this year. Some of the illustations are quite detailed but most due to the crisp clean lines of the artwork means the majority will not struggle to colour it. Its a wonderful book which I feel will inspire beginners and experienced colourists alike, although I feel it will appeal to the latter demographic more.

If you are a fan of the novel and like to colour this is a must have purchase for you collection, and even if you’re not this beautiful book may inspire you to read it. You won’t be disappointed with either. If you're bored of colouring fluffy bunny's or pretty flowers and fancy something a little darker then Dracula:A Colouring Classic may just be what you are looking for.

I was kindly sent a copy by little Tiger Press in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts are my own true feelings and are not influenced by the fact that I was sent a free copy.
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Ever since its publication Bram Stoker's Dracula has always stayed in the public imagination. Although The Beetle initially sold more copies than this book, Marsh's novel eventually fell into the black hole of forgotten books, whereas Dracula still reigned. Like the sightings of aliens that followed such B movies as The Day The Earth Stood Still and others, Dracula caused vampire scares throughout Europe into the early 20th Century. With it being filmed so many times, both for the cinema as well as the TV, and stage adaptations that are still being made this century, as well as a plethora of publishers having it in their catalogues this story is set to remain with us well into the foreseeable future, indeed until the end of time.

Ever since John Polidari expanded on the piece by Lord Byron and gave us 'The Vampyre' the reading public has been fascinated by the whole vampire idea. Bram Stoker's novel isn't the most literary tale ever written, but who really cares, as it is still great. Written as letters, journal and diary entries we are slowly allowed to see the whole story. Dracula himself we never hear from. We don't know what his ultimate plans and lusts are, which gives it a much more frightening aspect than if we did. Of course the underlying tale has more than a whiff of erotica. Dracula goes for young virginal women on the whole unless he needs a quick drink or needs to convert someone for his uses. The blood taken from the throat is obviously symbolic of a woman's hymen being broken, and Stoker was probably influenced by Sheridan le Fanu's classic short tale, Carmilla for this hint of eroticism.

Arguably Dracula is the most famous vampire tale as well as one of the best and until 'Interview With A Vampire' came along there weren't really that many vampire tales around, whereas today everyone seems to be writing one. Included in this novel are scenes of blood transfusion, which at the time was a novelty, but of course don't try this at home. There is no account taken for blood groups here, and so it is lucky that no one dies from them. If you only read one vampire tale in your life, then this has to be it.
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on 22 November 2009
This is a comprehensive exercise in how NOT to tell a story. It's told through various of the main characters' diaries/journals. Which should be a great device for developing character and moving the plot along. BUT, the characters are all the same, and don't develop. AND, there is the lankiest of plots. Both these could be forgiven if you argue that this is a 'novel of ideas'. But it's not. It a novel about ONE idea. Granted, it's a hugely interesting idea, as the countless (bad choice of word) reinterpretations of this have obviously made it part of our culture over 100 years on. But, in its original form here, the potential of the idea/story is completely wasted. I don't wish to speak ill of the dead (or the undead) but Bram Stoker should be GRATEFUL that those crappy Hammer Horror films were made to breathe some life into his stale novel.

I've tried to think about how this would have been received at the time. In 1897, were we supposed to already know about vampires? Or was this a completely new idea to people? I really couldn't work it out. The novel seemed to make some assumptions of knowledge, but was then frustratingly vague about detail. Van Helsing is the singular most irritating character in literature and his sanctimonious evasiveness became almost unbearable by the time I reached halfway. And by the end I realised that it was all because Bram Stoker actually has no story to tell.

This could all be excused if the writing itself was interesting/insightful/anything-less-than-dreary. But from Chapter 5 onwards, this is utter filler. It reads like a first draft. No - not even a first draft. It reads like a set of scribbled notes of 'a novel I might write one day if I can ever dredge up enthusiasm for it'. But dredge he did. Shame. And - yes - I realise that it's written in the form of diaries, but when I read - for the fiftieth time! - words to the effect of "...I must write down every detail for the record, not a single detail must be omitted...", I actually felt like I was having my own blood sucked from me. And once each of the characters had written his or her own exhaustive account of every minute detail of their dreary lives, they all shared and read each others'. For what purpose? I'm still not sure. At the time, they seemed to think it was terribly important, but it had no bearing on the plot whatsoever. So it had all been a torturous waste of their time and, more importantly, mine.

I have never had to fight my way through a book like I did with this. However, to try to end on a positive note, the reason I did persevere is that the first few chapters are, actually, pretty damned good. Really atmospheric. The way Jonathan's journey from civilised England through famous cities, then further on into unchartered lands and finally to the middle of god-knows-where where god-knows-what is going on, is completely gripping. So my advice is this: read the first few chapters and then stop. I can only assume that that's what most of the reviewers above did.
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on 13 November 2011
I wanted to like this book, but try as I may I reached such a dead end that my will to continue was depleted.

It starts well written in the format of diary entries, ship logs and the like. The main protagonist is going on a business trip to visit the Count. At first the Count is charming (if a little odd), then the disquiet that moves to horror sets in as the main character realises he is in over his head when the Count (after a series of bizarre events and a couple of revelations) takes flight leaving him locked in the castle.

But this is the part where it really started to lose steam. The characters revealed to us are superficial and uninteresting - Mina seems to be in constant awe of Lucy and everyone follows suit sucking up to someone who seems like a whey faced brat. A main swathe is now devoted to the characters talking about how wonderful other characters are with little indicated as to why they should feel this way. The Count arrives and he too is under the spell of how fantastic Lucy and Mina are, and for someone who is hundreds of years old and has lived for years as an evil creature of darkness comes across as an empty canvas. I didn't feel horror and shock when I read this book; I felt amusement, despair and contempt. For a card carrying member of the evil undead he sure seems to spend a lot of time slinking around waiting in coffins, taking baby steps that could endanger his life and generally not being as impressive or undeniable a character as you would think being THE Count Dracula would lend you.

I rooted for the Count a little bit, and then I got bored and rooted for anyone to move this story along. Anyone never came and so I put down the book with sadness.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 September 2013
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?
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on 3 May 2015
[Spoiler alert]

There were a lot of things I liked about Dracula. I enjoyed the story overall about an evil vampire whose thirst for the blood of women in particular, drove him to move from Romania to England where he feasted on two young women. I loved the characterisation of Dracula as an inhuman monster, he was evil beyond belief, quiet in his wickedness and his lack of dialogue made him even more sinister. I also loved Van Helsing above all other characters. I found him thoroughly adorable, his dialogue was engaging and interesting, his persona and the way he dealt with Dracula and other heinous situations in this book were admirable. The other characters too were okay although a bit samey if I am totally honest. I couldn't really tell the difference between Lord Godalming and Jonathan Harker, even Dr. Seward was indivisible.

As the story progressed, I lost a lot of respect for the men, including Van Helsing. They were wetter than soggy flannels. They idol worshiped the women to the point that it was pathetic, but I'd even be able to understand this behavior, if the two women in this story hadn't been so utterly pointless. They again were indivisible, and I didn't really care whether Dracula killed them or not. I know it is often difficult for authors to write women, but still I do pride myself on being one and as far as I'm aware I am not the same as every other member of my sex. The only women I actually did like in this story were the vampire women at Dracula's castle, because they had stage presence and were individual and interesting, I was disappointed that they were not included in the story more and that Van Helsing managed to do away with them so easily.

The exciting parts of the story were gripping and kept me engaged, sadly however they were few and far between. The bits about Dracula and his love for drinking blood, made up about 5% of the actual story and the rest was hot air. I found it frustrating having to trail through pages upon pages of boring story and description to be occasionally pleased with a little tiny bit of pzaz. This book could have been 1/3 of the size it is, had the author stuck to the points in his story - Bram Stoker's style of writing would be more suitable for short stories than full length novels. It wasn't a great beginning either and consisted of lengthy, dry descriptions of the Romanian countryside as Jonathan Harker made his way to Dracula's castle. The author did try to build up tension by the locals' strange reaction to Jon when he told them where he was heading (they crossed themselves), but sadly that wasn't enough to keep me engaged. Once the story began however it was pleasing, its just a shame it took so long to get there.

I don't like the fact that Dracula really didn't do all that much in this story. Yes he killed one girl that became a vampire and drunk another one's blood, but for a 400 odd page book, that isn't enough. I wanted to see more of him, and have him drink more people's blood. I wanted the stakes to go higher, because there simply didn't seem to be all that many. Dracula was a seriously cool character with all his powers of controlling wolves, weather, and being able to turn into a bat, and yet, we didn't see any of it hardly!

I was very disappointed to come to the end of this book having been largely starved of the story I originally picked it up to read. Even the climax at the end wasn't that great, because it came too easy. Dracula put up no fight because he was asleep in his coffin for the entire time. Its like the author wanted to be shot of him because even he had had enough! It was far too easy for Van Helsing, yes I know they went on a long journey and almost lost Dracula along the way, but in my opinion that doesn't constitute an exciting story.

The other thing I didn't like about this story was the way it was written. Dracula is not written like a normal story, but as a series of accounts and diaries. I know this was a stylistic thing, but didn't like it because I found it confusing switching between the different viewpoints of the characters, and I sometimes forgot whose bit of the story I was now reading.

Overall I am afraid to say this was disappointing, maybe for the time it was written it was great, but it hasn't stood the test of time.
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on 31 October 2016
Everyone knows Dracula and the vampire phenomenon in popular culture. Loving a lot of 19th century literature I decided to read Bram Stoker's original gothic horror story. This is written via diary entries, telegrams, newspaper cut-outs therefore; gives a great perspective of all that is going on in this spooky, mysterious and macabre environment.

We start in Transylvania with Johnathan Harker as Count Dracula's guest in his castle. This part is dark and Dracula actually seems quite charming. Very human and almost quite fond of his guest. He is using Johnathan in aid to prepare for purchasing a property in England. This was my favourite section of the book.

Dracula crawls down the castle walls, has no reflection, has to be invited in to a room before he can enter, turns into a bat, can only prowl at night, has 'vampire bride' accomplishes, can only be killed with a stake and hates garlic. Pretty much everything we know about the vampire genre is prevalent here.

When Dracula arrives in England via a shadowy vessel - our friend and diary writer Dr Seward messages his former teacher Van Helsing and they form a union of individuals, including Johnathan, his wife Mina et al to deal with the terror of the vampire unleashed, now polluting Whitby in England. This cues a lot of comradarie, God-loving statements and bizarre plots to capture and kill the evil UnDead. Especially when he sucks the blood of one of our team and she needs the big Vampire to be killed or to remain as an UnDead also, never knowing the blessedness of Heaven etc...

I enjoyed this book a lot. I think the fact that the vampire genre has become watered down with so many clones may have hindered my final opinion of this book. I expected Van Helsing to be like Hugh Jackman from the Holywood adaption film sharing the name. Van Helsing was a cool intelligent Dutch professor, who was God-fearing and loved everyone in the crew.

Renfield - an inmate at Dr Seward's insanity hospital was a cool character. I think that in the last 3/4 of the book, Dracula is barely seen and is just spoken about so it loses a bit of its power in the description of the evil being. I also believe the ending came on very fast and then was done. This is probably no fault of the writer or the book. My preconceptions because of the Holy Wood era expected a huge Lord of the Ring's-esque showdown which didn't transpire. I enjoyed a lot and this is a very important book in fiction. I do recommend it. Peace.

James x
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