Dracula Book Review by Asher Lee
Dracula is one of the most iconic, oldest monster and horror creature. It is most notable for its slow burn horror, written in letters from different perspectives. It is also experimental; back then the horror always ended when you escaped the 'haunted mansion'. In Dracula the horror follows you home
However, despite being one of the most influential monsters in the horror genre — inspiring works such as Twilight -- Dracula isn't read by many people. And honestly, I can't blame them. Dracula has a slow pace. It worked back then when people had no idea who Count Dracula was, and the slow pacing was a vital part of the story. That changes for modern audiences, we know exactly who Count Dracula is. Therefore the horror element is taken away from us. Not to mention that there's the big question of why did they leave Mina in the dark despite contributing as much as Van Helsing, other than her being a woman of course. Dracula is very dated, but perhaps it's also part of its charm. It does help with the gothic Victorian vibes Dracula and vampires in general are known for.
But it isn’t a complete bore fest. Yes, we may know what a blood sucking creature Count Dracula is, but just because we know what's going to happen, doesn't make it any less of an experience. Dracula is what I like to call a unique take on horror. Slow, but you know the horror will come. Letters and journals from the characters provide the same atmosphere of a Greek play. My favorite segment would be the dead Captain's log. You sense the dread as the soon-to-be dead Captain describes the terror that drove his crew mad. I ask that you give Dracula a chance, especially if you're looking for more experimental horror. With all the new books you've read, you should also have a chance to experience the classics. Perhaps you'll even find that they draw you in.
Dracula Book Review by Varnika Alexondria Thukral
"Loneliness will sit over our roofs with brooding wings."
Jonathan Harker, a lawyer by profession travels in haste as summoned by Count Dracula regarding property purposes. He had never seen him, like any other client of his. The lands of Transylvania welcomed him with pleas to return back. Well, just like it would be for men with strong ambitions, Harker meets with Dracula. The Count requests him to wait for a while. Since he was already there, spending a night at the castle seemed perfectly reasonable. It was just one night, but he had to stay confined to his room. The distressing sounds were alarming to Harker and he made the mistake that would be repeated in every horror story written afterwards: he looked out of the window and into the horror of what the count was.
This classic introduction to the concept of vampires has one of the most terrifying creatures that I have ever read in the genre. The character of Count Dracula at first glance is that of a novelty and generally a secretive one. He is portrayed as an individual changing ages and that was always controlling the environment of the scenes. A specific kind of gloom is felt around him with the terror he carries. His smile is a sign of warning to the ones who remember him.
Jonathan is a man terrified of realizing that Dracula is a blood heathen. Before his visit to Transylvania, he was love struck with the sight of his fiancee, Mina. Throughout his suffering to render his horrifying memory of the Count, he kept asking for his love’s presence. Mina on the other end is being a calming company to her friend Lucy. She supports Lucy who witnesses the advances of suitors while waiting for Arthur, the one she fancies. Mina, somewhere in her soul, was worried about Jonathan. As soon as she received a clue to where her lover was, she reached Budapest. She and Jonathan get married then and there without any haste. While there was a chance for happiness for the Harkers, Lucy was found ill with peculiar symptoms. In the presence of Lord Arthur and the renowned scientist Van Helsing, Lucy is found to have been bitten by a vampire. She dies only to become a vampire the next turn. Lucy was stabbed in the heart to end her vampire reins.
In the concluding curve of the story, the now knowledgeable characters join forces to take down Dracula and end his influence with sacrifice on both sides. The narration of the book is made viable with the ends matched through personal monologues and flashing documents. The plot is narrated from the perspective of the primary characters as well as the secondary. The supporting characters either friends or acquaintances, provide their unique perspective of the changes they see in the protagonist's line.
As created in the era of romantic influence over Gothic, the book furnishes Dracula as quite a lover of his kind and provides a happy ending for the Harkers. The world is built around the circumference of the dark alleys, seashores as well as rusted old places. It captures realistic features of the places mentioned as well as the natives all along. The creation of Transylvania includes references from Old London and the traditional Catholic environment with folklore intertwined. The plot itself is slow paced and detailed.
The genre is specifically paranormal and collectively gothic. It introduces the fictional creatures of vampires as well as vampire hunters. The highlights of the book are Count Dracula and the control the writer has over the environment of the plot. Not only does it establish a revolutionary new genre but it also defines it to be one of the best till date. The characters, especially Mina, for me, had lasting impressions of compassion and faith. Van Helsing is the true hero of the story and the sacrifices aren’t done in vain. A book to keep one busy in the rich vibe of Halloween. Books that can be recommended to people with similar interests are: Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.
Dracula Book Review by Tadéas Rulf
The novel Dracula, written by Bram Stoker in 1897, is a timeless classic of the horror genre. Despite being more than 100 years old, you would hardly find a ten-year-old child that would not know about the existence of Count Dracula and his terrifying Transylvanian Castle. Let's take a look at the reasons for such an enormous success, shall we?
The first thing that strikes your eyes is the unique form in which the novel is written. Unlike many others, you will not find typical scenes, dialogues between characters, and other aspects that one would expect to find in such a novel. Instead, we are discussing a so-called epistolary novel. It means the novel is written mostly in the form of letters between the characters. This is the replacement of the phase which would usually be felt by the dialogues. To also fulfill the roleof a narrator, the author uses news articles, reports, and similar documents. By that he gives the book a strong sense of reality and it is easier for people to relate to and to imagine these events happening, particularly because of the news articles. We can see this trend even in new science fiction movies, many catastrophes are introduced by news broadcasters and we can see the newspaper articles about them and that is how directors show the viewers that there is a catastrophe happening, instead of just showing us the explosions and the incidents themselves. Therefore, it is pretty clear that the way Dracula was written is not a blind way. One could feel like by using boring topics like letters and news articles the author would not manage to stimulate the feelings of the reader in a way that would be triggering fear enough and that the reader could get easily bored just from reading a lot of reports. Surprisingly the author still manages to make the book a very scary and negatively pleasant experience that every horror reader craves. The reason for that is partly the extremely high writing abilities of the author and also the very well-chosen settings. Stories about vampires always were and still are extremely popular probably because of their human-like appearance and very non-human-like behavior and people always like this model of sheep that is a wolf. This noble appearing aristocrat being a horrible monster with animalistic behavior is something that wells this characteristic and that people simply laugh at. There is a strong twist and everyone likes to be surprised.
The setting of the novel also strongly contributes to its final success. By reading parts of a diary written by the main character Jonathan Harker that has been sent to make a business deal with Count Dracula, we can read about the village that is under the castle of the contractor as well as about the castle itself. From the very first moment, the setting is really on a scary and dark note and we can see that something smells fishy about a castle. It is a very dark place, a very scary place, a place that is far from civilization and from anyone who could help if the animalistic behavior of Count Dracula and his vampire servants gets triggered.
Moving on to the main character, I believe that despite not being quite as well known as Count Dracula he also strongly contributes to the story. Analyzing the word "despite" a little bit deeper might be a good idea. He is not a horror actor that should stand out in any way, he is a kind thank man or a rather smart one but not a Sherlock Holmes level genius, he wants to cut a deal and his and leave the spooky castle as soon as possible of course, and later on, he's just trying to survive. He is a regular young man. This makes it possible for us to find the character very relatable. In fact, we can easily imagine ourselves in his shoes, and that only helped the book become even more popular. This was particularly relevant on the edge of the 19 and 20th centuries when the book began its journey towards success because currently, the story lives on more in terms of being an icon than being a best seller in book shops. It's not that common in horror stories that we can easily relate to the characters. we often see their behavior as stupid, they often seem to be asking for danger, for pain, for death. However, in the case of Mr. Jonathan Harker, it is not at all like that. Although he makes his fair share of mistakes and is in no way a perfect character, he is also in no way a character that would be stupid or that would commit way too many mistakes. This further contributes to making this man realistic and making the novel enjoyable to read.
To explain why the book is still relevant these days it is good to take a look at modern interpretations of the well-known tale. We can see that the impact of the original story is slowly declining, Mr. Jonathan Harker, a regular man is often being left behind, and instead, a lot of movie productions focus more on action scenes and make the main character Mr. Van Helsing. This is the second directing protagonist of the novel, a vampire hunter and a man that attempts to hunt and kill Count Dracula. He is a genius with many university degrees and an expert in getting rid of vampires. He is much closer to modern superheroes than the main character and that is also why he is often the one replacing the character and becoming the main protagonist.
Modern times often ask for action movies filled with action and constant explosions and things like that and Stoker also gives them ground for that and offers them this kind of interpretation of his work. You can see vampires biting innocent citizens, and vampire hunters trying their very best to get rid of these monsters, and lights blinking on and off, and running and trying to save their lives, and dying in agony with blood dripping all over the place.
To sum up the positives, the novel is unique in the way it's written, it is very scary and the label also offers intense action. It is capable of satisfying most types of readers, no matter what age, gender, or genre preferences.
In the middle of my review, I will take a look at a few things that are controversial and aren't clear on the scale between a positive and negative of the normal first stop. One of them is the description of minorities through the novel. The minorities we are talking about in the context of Count Dracula are women and homosexuals. It is crucial to realize that the author comes from Ireland and the novels are written in Britain during the 19th century, of course the female characters are not quite equal to the main ones. It has been widely presumed that women are still the ones that should stay in the background and that their male counterparts are the ones that should make decisions and represent the family in public matters. The novel has a lot of female characters and many of them are being strongly focused on, so it seems nice to take a look at how the author approached this topic, which overall illustrates how he saw the society of these days. Experts are still divided about most of these topics, so everyone can form their own opinion based on the book and there isn't anything like a good or bad answer. Most of them agree that there is a strong connection between vampirism and sexuality. Stoker himself was most likely a homosexual man and the relationship between Count Dracula and Haker might in its way be a description of a sexual relationship when turning into a vampire meant suffering from a sexually transmitted disease. In this way, we could call the author progressive, because publicly expressing his views during times where Oscar Wilde was arrested and imprisoned for his sexual orientation was a brave deed. On the other hand, for example on the characters of the vampire women that are living with Count Dracula in his castle, we cannot ignore the over-sexualization of female characters which is not very desirable and it was possible to avoid in times where the new era was about to begin. Although some of the other women in the story do have a stronger role in the plot, they are still mostly seen as wives of the male characters without having their own life as was a common trend earlier in the past, while the male characters are still the dominant force. Of course, we can't look at it with the eyes of the modern age because the times were significantly different during the 19th century but it is something that should be taken into consideration when you're wondering whether to read this book or whether to avoid it.
In terms of negatives, it is crucial to take a look at the topic of race. There are two theories, most of them being very problematic the experts and reviewers often see as a negative side of the story. The first one I have to mention is connected to the fact that Count Dracula is from Eastern Europe, he is from Romania, and by his arrival to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland he only brings death and problems there. This could be seen as rhetoric against refugees and people from Eastern Europe in general. I don't know whether it is purely a coincidence or not, but the second theory also plays with xenophobia and racism and also suggests that the author was strongly biased against people of a certain origin. Here we are talking about Jewish people and about the fact that Count Dracula has a lot of strong characteristics that are usually used in propaganda to describe Jews in an antisemetic way. Many of the hall characteristics of Count Dracula suggest his Jewish origin, for example, the fact that he is a wealthy man that wants to be a parasite in "civilized British society" or his appearance. It is impossible to prove or deny these theories but if there are people out there that have encountered issues related to race or their country of origin it could be possibly triggering for them to read the book and even for others it might be better to ignore the book if they believe the stereotypes are included because of course we want a stereotype free culture and we want a culture that does not offend people because of their race.
One smaller negative in my point of view is the extreme length of the book. Depending on the edition of the book if you are reading it has between 400 and 600 pages which in my point of view is a little bit too long for modern society. We can see that the average attention span of teenagers is about as long as a TikTok video and reading 600 pages about a bloodthirsty Count Dracula in his dark castle might be too boring or simply too time-consuming. On the other hand, it might be interesting to kind of peace and test your attention and try to read the book of course not on mango but still, it might be helpful for your future if you learn to read such a long book so, despite being potentially problematic in my point of view it could also be seen as a positive by some people. After all, if you are going to enjoy a book you often are going to wish that it never ended and Dracula is indeed a never-ending book at some point.
To conclude this review I would recommend everyone to check out the book to analyze and to consider whether you believe it is appropriate for you and to read it if you find it appropriate indeed. The book has a very high artistic quality and despite potentially having some issues that are mostly caused by the age the book was written in, I believe it is going to be a pleasant experience for you. Or an unpleasant and extremely frightening experience, Depending on your fear tolerance. Either way, it is going to provide you with what a horror story should provide.