Dracula by Bram Stocker

details
Title: Dracula.
Writer(s): Bram Stocker.
Publisher: Canterbury Classics.
Format: Flexibound.
Release Date: September 1st, 2011.
Original Release Date: May 26th, 1897.
Pages: 368.
Genre(s): Classics, Horror, Fantasy.
ISBN13: 9781607105510.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

thoughts

As if sleep isn’t already a difficult task for many, there’s nothing like the knowledge of an unknown and mysterious undead roaming the night to replenish itself on your blood to keep, just about anyone, up, wide awake and cowering in fear. Serving as the ultimate and definitive form of a vampire, Count Dracula is one of the most dominant mythologized creatures that has been used and reused across countless various mediums, effortlessly allowing his reputation to precede him as any character confronted with his presence has them running amok in search of garlic and objects to form crosses. Despite numerous adaptations of the character plaguing the world, Bram Stocker’s novel, published in 1897, remains a quintessential piece of horror now indubitably tagged as a must-read classic.

What is Dracula about? The story begins with newly-appointed real estate agent Jonathan Harker who visits Count Dracula at his castle in the Carpathian Mountains, with the latter hoping to find and purchase a new home near London. Despite being told to remain in his chambers during the night, Jonathan Harker’s foray into the castle leads to an inadvertent discovery, pitting him up against terrifying beings, miserably vulnerable and at their mercy. What follows is an adventure surrounding a motley of peculiar characters experiencing and witnessing odd things until they join forces with Professor Abraham Van Helsing who ultimately sends them on the hunt of a lifetime.

“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”

Bram Stocker

Written in an epistolary form, with letters, newspaper clippings, diary entries, and ships’ logs, the story immediately establishes a realistic tone whilst sacrificing story-telling pacing, thus making the few action-packed moments bring incredible relief and hope to the reader, hope that there’s so much more to this than a tale of fear of the unknown, friendships, and romance. The variety in viewpoints, not limited to Jonathan Harker, as one would expect going into this novel, also dilutes the story’s focus, with numerous instances of pure mundanity or repetitious prattle barely adding anything worthwhile to the core narrative. Despite the nature of said descriptions offering very little substance for the reader’s own journey to discovering Dracula’s domain, these lush writing exercises undeniably highlight the author’s beautiful way with words, making the reading endeavour far less boresome than it actually is.

Surprisingly enough, there are very few moments throughout the book that actually contains Count Dracula. This realization halfway into the book made me slog through many letters, especially those that served the only purpose of creating a gloomy and gothic atmosphere in the story. The lack of urgency throughout most of the narrative also forbids any form of connection with the characters and their plight. It was only when things got intense (e.g. actual violence and evil in the air) that the story got intriguing but the little of that made for a rough read in the end. Nonetheless, it is difficult not to encourage curious minds to pick up this classic piece of literature if not only to discover the mythology at the heart of vampire lore.

Dracula is an elegantly written mythologization of vampires, however, oddly paced, and weighed down by its superficial yet atmospheric descriptions.


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37 thoughts on “Dracula by Bram Stocker

  1. The spirit of Dracula has come to haunt the world today in many forms. The mythological, demonic personality of Dracula is worth being analyzed many times over.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with your views on this one, Lashaan. It is a classic tale and worthy of a read, but it sometimes for me was more flash and less substance. Kind of more concerned with world-building than anything else. I’m a fan of all things Dracula. Enjoyed this read!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, Count Dracula is probably one of the most mytholized characters, with more movies, books, costumes etc portraying vampires. I read this back in high school, so 20 years or so, and I really don’t remember it much. Wonderful review, Lashaan.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can remember on my first re-read of this realizing how slooooow it was. Of course, on my next re-read I made the connection that has as much to do with the times it was written in as with the authors style.

    But now you have it under your belt and are good to good for decades and decades 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dracula is one of my favourite horror stories and I’ve read this book many times. I remember my first read of it though and it is a strange book to get into as it’s rather oddly structured. That said it’s still a cracking good story and really atmospheric. I like the cover of this edition of the book you have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a bit ashamed that it took this long before finally reading it but I’m glad I did. There’s indeed so much to appreciate and I feel like it’s one of those classics that gets better upon rereads, especially once I control my expectations ha! There are a couple of other classics that also got this kind of cover treatment from the publisher, if you’re ever intrigued to get them! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dracula is certainly one of those classics that get even better the more times you read it. I think the book Frankenstein is a bit like that as well. Thanks for letting me know about those covers, I’ll have to look out for those.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. An absolute classic! It’s a little longer than it should have been, but blame it on the era. You’re right, Dracula himself is not much in it but he is the book title! I even studied this book at university.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry to hear this one didn’t resonate with you. It’s actually one of my favorite horror stories. I don’t recall how old I was when I first read it, but it’s stuck with me ever since. I’ve actually been thinking about another reread before too much longer, though I’m considering doing it in audiobook format this time around. As I kid, before reading the book, I recall absolutely loving all the movies, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m still quite glad to have read it but I can’t say I’m compelled to want to go through it again for a while. However, something tells me that I’ll probably appreciate this and even Frankenstein more upon a reread in the future. I do look forward to trying the 1992 movie adaptation in particular though and then some of the much older adaptations.

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  8. After my first time reading this book I made it better in my head… so when I made Dave reread it with me I realized what a drag it actually is. Still, I love elements of it and am very happy I read it. My only major problem with it is how anticlimactic the ending is.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great review Lashaan! While I love books with different points of view and mixing a lot of different genres, it seems like this one only just sets the ambience and that’s just about it – though as I usually like books were nothing really happens maybe I will like this one ahah – Also, it’s in theme with the “One country a month” thing as, if I’m not mistaken, the Carpathian mountains and transylvania (the region where Dracula’s castle supposedly is) are closely linked to Hungary!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Juliette! It’s very much a hate-or-love kind of classic. There’s still plenty to appreciate, as long as you don’t dive into it with too many expectations. And yes! I thought the same but then convinced myself that it fits better with Romania hahah I did get around to reading and finishing my book for the Hungary month though, so no loss there! 😀

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  10. While Dracula is a very influential book, with the character Dracula being the most adapted character in fiction – even more than Sherlock Holmes, there’s no denying that this book was written in a very different time. It’s a fascinating book, but its slow building nature definitely isn’t for everyone.

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