Dracula

Dracula by Bram Stoker

A dreary castle, blood-thirsty vampires, open graves at midnight, and other gothic touches fill this chilling tale about a young Englishman’s confrontation with the evil Count Dracula. A horror romance as deathless as any vampire, the blood-curdling tale still continues to hold readers spellbound a century later.

Speaking of vampires, it’s about time I gave a nod to one of the most famous novels of the genre, the masterful work of Bram Stoker.

On a side note, there’s a Dracula ballet. It’s pretty damn awesome and has everything you could want in a ballet- dancing, music, skimpy outfits, death, and vampires. It was after seeing this performance somewhere circa 2007 that I finally took the book off my to-read shelf and dove in.

I really enjoy this book, but as a disclaimer, the people I’ve recommended this to have a hard time getting through it. What that says, I don’t know.

The novel is told in a series of letters and journals by some of the main characters of the novel. It opens with Jonathon Harker’s experience as a guest at Dracula’s castle. Soon after, Dracula makes the crossing to England and the real meat of the story begins. Lest you be worried, Van Helsing is a prominent character in the novel.

Perhaps the mere fact the book was penned in 1897 turns readers off. The language is dated, but it’s not like we’re talking Middle English here. Anyone who enjoys the works of Ann Radcliffe, the Bronte sisters, and Jane Austen will not find the language disconcerting at all.

The plot is interesting and it’s nice to finally put the pieces together of where much of the vampire lore stems from. While not the true father of the genre, Stoker’s novel nonetheless has greatly influenced the canon of books and films that came after it, much of them paying homage to this work. One need only look to the film, Van Helsing to see the range of Stoker’s influence.

I do think the book takes a little while to get into your system-much like the slow process of turning into an undead vampire. I remember when I read this book that I sound down with it during my three hour block break from my high school class and by then, I was hooked. And if nothing else, I am a firm believer in experiencing formative works in literature, no matter how dry they might be. If you consider yourself a great reader, writer, or student of literature, reading the classics is a requirement.

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