Recently, I read my first Gothic Horror novel: “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
I personally am not into vampires. I don’t like them; they have gone from creepy and disgusting to just plain annoying in today’s world! So, when my mother suggested I read the old classic “Dracula” I was naturally leery. However, Dracula is now on my “Favorites” shelf and I think that it throws any other vampire stories I have read so far “into the mud”. I also think it was one of the most Christian books I have ever read, next to anything written by Frank Peretti. It surprised me that Bram Stoker actually depicted the vampires as demons, with no heart or mercy or pure thought, inhabiting a human’s body. Try to find that in today’s vampire stories!
However, before I would recommend Dracula for reading I would give a warning: it is a horror genre novel. It has some very gruesome, morbid parts and it does suggest some very mild sensuality in some parts that would be somewhat disturbing to a few readers that I know. But, if you can handle watching the news on TV or if you have read any of Frank Peretti’s books, I can guarantee you will be able to handle Dracula.
So now that I have that said and done, shall we move on?
It took about three chapters of for the story to really get rolling, but I must give the author some leeway because “Dracula” was written in the late 1800’s and does not follow the guidelines of today’s modern fiction: begin with a KAPOW that grips your readers on the very first page! Dracula actually eases mysteriously into the story, which was a nice change from today’s fiction.
Once I got past the first couple of pages, the story became very intriguing. I was amazed at how well the author tinged the story with deep mystery, really arousing my curiosity in the plot. This kept me turning the pages through the first part of the book.
The book is written completely in first person, being a collection of diaries and memoirs from each character involved in the story. I was certain that the first person narrative was going to drive me crazy, as it did in Mobey Dick, but it flowed smoothly in this book and made the characters VERY realistic. Again I was amazed at the author’s skill as he was able to craft each of the characters with such different personalities! I generally pride myself in staying detached from fictional characters in a story, but Bram Stoker’s skill in the first person narrative made it impossible for me to remain indifferent to these characters. In other words, I became attached to the characters of the story very quickly.
One of my favorite characters was Abraham Van Helsing. Caring, gentle, intelligent, crafty, and humorous, Van Helsing has a right to be one of the main heroes in “Dracula”. He is a brilliant Dutch doctor who is in England, trying to help his friends smoke out and destroy Count Dracula. Because he is a Dutchman in England this causes some humor throughout the book as his English is sometimes a little shaky and he gets things a little mixed up.
Midway through the story it became practically impossible to set the book down! The plot grew intense as the characters started making discoveries and finding out their foe, and the story started to roll very quickly as Count Dracula tried to destroy them and they quickly learned how to fight the demon back.
The ending seemed a bit rushed to me, but it ended better than I thought it would. I expected everyone to die and the bad guy to live on, as in many horror novels, but it was not the case and all the mystery and puzzles presented throughout the book were wrapped up very well in the end.
All in all, it was a very good book that I would recommend to most people, and I like it much, much better than any other vampire literature I have come across. Thumbs up for Bram Stoker’s Dracula!
“I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew so well.” Mina Harker – Dracula