When buying a house there are three important things to remember: Location, location, location. Everyone knows this, even Count Dracula in Middle-of-Nowhere, Transylvania, knows this. Strangely enough, even with all the money and all the power (he’s a Count, not some shabby Duke), Dracula chooses a place right next to an insane asylum outside of London, England. As if things weren’t strange enough, Dracula arrives into port on a ship devoid of crew save for the dead captain. To top things off, the guy starts hanging out in cemeteries and the solicitor who helped him buy the house has mysteriously disappeared.
This causes the solicitor’s fiancé, Mina Murray, to become a bit suspicious. She goes to the owner of the Asylum for help and he contacts a doctor friend of his. The friend, Dr. Van Helsing, concludes that there can be only one reason for this mania: Dracula’s a vampire. Together, the protagonists must do what they can to stop the fiend. The stakes are high in this classic of the horror genre, the original vampire novel, Dracula.
I’ve never really liked the horror genre, but as I grew older and started delving into classics I figured this one should be on my reading list. I took all necessary precautions, I had my garlic and my crucifixes and read only in full sunlight, and found that such wasn’t really necessary. The book really isn’t all that scary as it was written in a letter/diary format, with each chapter being written by a main character narrating what has happened. This lessens the suspense and spookiness factor, since the writer obviously must have survived, but it still kept me in engaged as I wondered what would happen next. I found the pacing to be steady, with only a slight drag at the beginning of the third act. The writing was interesting and beautiful, near-poetry in story form. There is a reason this is called a classic.
What I did not expect out of this horror novel was the fact that it was so theological. Stoker really knew what he was doing when he formed Dracula. Dracula, in essence, is the Anti-Sacrament. He takes the blood of others in order to prolong his own life rather than offering his blood to give others life. When he does give others his blood, they join into his cursed state of being. Dracula was a physical representation of evil in a time when superstition was being shunned for science. Interestingly, it is only when they look beyond scientific answers that the heroes find the bane of the vampire.
As I said before, there is definitely a reason this book is a classic, and on that basis alone I would recommend it. However, that classic status also means it is a slightly different type of literature than modern readers are used to, so it may take a while to get a feel for the book. It took me almost two chapters until I really got sucked in, so a certain amount of tenacity is required. However, if you can stand a horror novel that’s a little scary and a little bit bloody (it contains vampires, remember), then this is the book to read. So don’t be afraid, grab that garlic (to keep the vampires and anyone else away who would want to bother you), and pick up a copy of Dracula. It’s a book you can really sink your teeth into.
Published on 12 April, 2015. Last updated on