Book Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker

October 12, 2017 Book Reviews, Fall, Horror, Vampires 3

 

For Throw back Thursday I am taking another look at my decision to give Dracula, a beloved story, three stars.

Firstly, this is one of my very first reviews. As such, I think I was being nice. I had to push myself to finish the book. I basically hated every word. In fairness I have been hearing about this story my entire life so I am absolutely sure that I had the bar set pretty high. Also, had I read this when it was originally written, I probably would have freaked out! How could you not? Sadly, horror is easy to get your hands on nowadays, and hell, I was reading Clive Barker when I was 12, so…

After re-reading my impression I have to completely agree with the exception of not being horrible enough. Yes, it is true that vampires have been highly romanticized throughout the years but if Dracula is going to be so horrible, let’s go the whole gamut! I feel as if mortals should not be able to compete with a vampire of his caliber. This is probably not a book that I am going to read again.

 

 

draculaDracula by Bram Stoker
Published by W.W. Norton & Company on May 12th 1986
Pages: 488
Goodreads

A rich selection of background and source materials is provided in three areas: Contexts includes probable inspirations for Dracula in the earlier works of James Malcolm Rymer and Emily Gerard. Also included are a discussion of Stoker’s working notes for the novel and “Dracula’s Guest,” the original opening chapter to Dracula. Reviews and Reactions reprints five early reviews of the novel. “Dramatic and Film Variations” focuses on theater and film adaptations of Dracula, two indications of the novel’s unwavering appeal. David J. Skal, Gregory A. Waller, and Nina Auerbach offer their varied perspectives. Checklists of both dramatic and film adaptations are included.
Criticism collects seven theoretical interpretations of Dracula by Phyllis A. Roth, Carol A. Senf, Franco Moretti, Christopher Craft, Bram Dijsktra, Stephen D. Arata, and Talia Schaffer.
A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are included.

 

 

Recently I decided I had been a fan of vampires my entire life, it was time to read about them from the master! Little did I know that, although very well written, Dracula is a bit slow. What was against him, in my humble opinion, was the fact that I saw the movie which I did love, long before I picked up the book. Huge mistake as I did so enjoy this movie!!! The book is remarkable on its own and if you have seen the movie, do not compare the two. Treat Dracula as a completely new story, although some things will be apparent like Renfield’s relationship with Dracula, most of it seems like a new tale! I know it is a travesty to enjoy a movie more than a book, but as I said, just treat the two as different stories and enjoy each separately!

There are many differences between the two **** spoiler alert if you haven’t read the book ****

Mina never falls in love with Dracula. I continued reading because I was desperately waiting for this to happen. The movie made it so seamless yet still just dramatic enough. However, Mina is an extremely intelligent woman in the book version, able to keep up easily with the men of her time and even obtain the respect of the doctors around her. But her relationship with her husband, Jonathan Harker, was downplayed in the movie and the only reason I was able to overlook it was because I felt as if Mina and Dracula MUST have been soul mates! But this is just not so. Mina sticks with Jonathan throughout the book and only follows Dracula as she knows she is able to help the group much more on her own than if Dracula willed her to follow him.

Jonathan is also a very strong and intelligent man. In the face of certain death he crawls around Dracula’s castle, knowing that Dracula is evil but also knowing that he must do something if he intends to survive. What he goes through after he figures out Dracula means to keep him prisoner shows that he is very strong willed not the waif of a man that you meet in the movies.

Dracula is also extremely sensitive in the movie, which of course attracted me to him even more but sadly he is a monstrous fiend in the book. A thing that will do anything to get what it wants. As you can see in the movie when Dracula takes the life of Lucy so violently. Again, I forgive him so easily once he started wooing Mina. He lacks the charisma and heart to do anything but kill and by the end of the book you will cheer instead of mourn his death. Thankfully, it’s not the killing of Gary Oldman!!

Overall, surprisingly the book was a little slow but again I had many factors against me. Mainly the fact that vampires have been humanized and romanticized.

 

 

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3 Responses to “Book Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker”

  1. David

    You’ve actually interested me a bit in the book. I’m not a huge fan of the Gary Oldman movie — the production design is great, and the directing is pretty good too, but the idea of romanticizing an undead monster seems a bit too squicky to me. So I like that you say the book Mina is intelligent, loyal to her husband, and does not fall in love with Dracula; these qualities seem to speak well for her. Of course, I don’t know if I’ll like it until I read it. I’m not generally a fan of vampires, but I do like 19th century fantasy literature.

    • novareylin

      I’m glad! If you read it, let me know what you think! And honestly if I hadn’t watched the movie I do think it would have grabbed me. It’s very intriguing and you don’t know that he’s a vampire for quite some time.

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