04 October 2009

Book Review - Dracula

Title: Dracula

Author: Bram Stoker

First Published: 1897 (This Edition: 2003)

Genre: Gothic Horror

Publisher: Penguin Classics

ISBN: 9780141439846

First published in 1897, Bram Stoker's Dracula is regarded as the classic horror story. The narrative is in the form of journal entries and letters written by the characters.The story of Dracula opens with the journal of Jonathan Harker, a young solicitor who travels to Transylvania to assist Count Dracula in purchasing a London property. As he travels closer to the Count's castle he finds the reactions of the locals quite strange, but disregards them and travels on.

On his arrival at the castle, Jonathan Harker is quite impressed with the Count. However, he begins to make some horrifying discoveries within the walls of the castle and soon finds that he is being held captive by Count Dracula and barely manages to escape the castle with his life.

Meanwhile, strange incidents are occurring in England. A Russian cargo ship washes ashore with its entire crew dead or missing and from this ship a lone wolf escapes into the night, a patient of a lunatic asylum begins to talk of the return of his master and children are being stalked during the night. Soon after the ship incident, two young women, Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker fall victim to the blood-lust of Count Dracula.

These disturbing events prompt the main characters, led by Dr Van Helsing, to form a small band of vampire hunters who vow to end the horrifying reign of Count Dracula. This group embark on a terrifying journey which will eventually take them all the way back to Transylvania.

Dracula explores themes of salvation and damnation, suppressed Victorian sexuality and violence, as well as, good versus evil. While, the beginning and ending of Dracula are filled with fear and suspense, the middle leaves a lot to be desired. There are a few suspense filled moments when you are on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. However, these are few and far between and the pace is very slow.

The characters in the novel conform to the stereotype of the Victorian era in all aspects. The women are presented as fragile, sheltered and vulnerable. The men as brave protectors. However, at times, Mina breaks out of this stereotypical Victorian ideal of what women should be to give the reader a glimpse of a strong and courageous woman.

While not my favourite book, Bram Stoker combines the essential elements of the Gothic Horror genre such as adventure, horror and supernatural themes brilliantly to produce a novel that has withstood the test of time. If you are interested in where Dracula and vampire legends come from this could be the book for you. Overall, I would recommend this book, but be aware that is very slow in some parts.

My rating: B

For more comprehensive information visit Bram Stoker's Dracula

Wondering where you can purchase a copy?
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Veronika said...

Dracula is one of my favorite novels, and I think you've done it justice in this review. Great job, and thanks! :)

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