Author: Bram Stoker
Genre: Classics, Horror, Fiction, Vampires, Gothic
When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. -Goodreads
This was the last novel I was required to read for last semester's English course, which is a novel I've never actually read. The word "ok" sums up how I felt about this novel, it wasn't great, it wasn't dreadful, it was ok.
Most, if not every person is familiar with the concept of Dracula and vampires, helped in part by the revival of vampires into Young Adult Fiction in the past 5 years or so. Although I knew about vampires, and the idea of Dracula, I have never actually seen any of the multiple Dracula movies that have been produced, so I went into the novel with fairly few ideas about how the plot would unfold.
The only way the plot really unfolded was extremely slowly! The first 3/4s of the novel were so slow I struggled to get through it. Somehow even though action was taking place, it was so long and drawn out that any tension was completely eradicated. The story and style of writing was very descriptive, and bearing in mind that the novel was written in the late 1800s, it wasn't the same as action stories written today. I also don't think the style of narration that was used helped with the slow movement of the plot. The novel is told through diary entries from all of the main characters. This means that along with the events we are told about feeling distant and pretty stale, we also had to read about the same events from different characters points of views. Although this was useful at times, and gave us a better insight into the different characters, it got annoying at times, and made the novel longer and slower. Also telling the story in the past tense from characters memoirs takes a lot of the excitement out of any dangerous situations, as you know the character that is narrating must have survived to be able to tell the story, so I spent the time while reading any of the exciting moments thinking "well he/she must survive", so it wasn't nearly as exciting.
However, although the plot was a bit boring, the characters saved the novel from a much worse rating in my opinion. They were a great mix of characters, I felt sorry for some, disliked some, and I thought Stoker did a good job of writing a mixture of characters and personalities. I felt sorry for the character of Lucy, she is one of two female main characters in the novel and it seemed a shame what happened to her. The other female main character is Mina and I actually really disliked her. The rest of the male characters fawned over her like she was something special, but there was no sign of what exactly this "special-ness" actually was. She started off as a good female characters, she seemed strong and able to stand on her own two feet without the help of any men, but she soon became very arrogant in herself and thought she was much, much better than the rest of the characters in the novel.
The first character we meet is Jonathan Harker who is our first narrator. He was an ok character, his narration in the beginning was very enjoyable to read, and he had bravery and common sense. But by the end he spent most of the time worrying and fawning over his wife (Mina), and that just annoyed me!
My favourite characters in the novel were either Dr Van Helsing or Quincey Morris. Dr Van Helsing was completely different to how I expected him to be, he is an older man in this novel, a professor at a University, he reminded me more of an Indiana Jones character, about the age Harrison Ford was in the most recent movie!! He was a pretty cool character, he talked about stabbing corpses hearts and chopping off their heads like it was no big deal to him. Quincey is an American friend of the other men, and he proves to be very sensible and level headed, he also seemed the bravest of all the men.
Overall I quite enjoyed this novel, but I did struggle to get through it at times due to the slow plot, so I gave it 3.5/5 stars. However I am glad I read it, just so I can tick another classic off the list of books to read before you die!!
Thanks for reading, and happy reading!!