Dracula

In my quest (though not a very diligent one) to read all things vampire, I figured that I should probably start at the beginning, and read Bram Stoker’s vampire classic. Thankfully, I had the encouragement of the RIP III challenge (and everyone telling me to be excited) to get me off my lazy butt and actually read it. And… well… WOW.

I’m sure everyone’s heard of Dracula — he’s a part of our culture in a way that I don’t think Stoker expected him to become. And vampires, too, especially these days; between Buffy and Twilight they’ve become hip. But, I didn’t know — and I’m not sure how many people who haven’t read the book do — the whole story, the whole mythos. And I found all that fascinating, from the various devices to keep the vampires at bay, to the methods Dracula took not only to access his victims, but to just get around. It was interesting stuff. Even the plot of the book, while a bit simplistic for my taste, still managed to keep things moving enough to hold my interest. I wasn’t expecting that, either.

But what really made the book fabulous (well, as fabulous as a gothic horror tale can be) for me was the mood. Stoker is amazing at setting mood. He has a way with words that just captivated me. The tension and suspense were palpable. I got about 150 pages from the end, at 10 p.m., and realized I’d either have to stop or push through to the end; I was that freaked out by what was going on. There were many occasions, right from the first, when I had to put down the book and walk away because the mood was so intense. Actually, while reading this, I was reminded of why I went on an Edgar Allen Poe kick in 8th grade. We had read The Tell-tale Heart in English class, and I was blown away. Not by the plot, or even by the characters (the ones in Dracula didn’t really do anything for me, either), but because of the mood. While I don’t like to be grossed out (hence my shying away from Stephen King), I don’t mind the occasional fright. And Dracula hit that right on the spot.

Terrific. Creepy, terrifying, and absolutely terrific.

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11 thoughts on “Dracula

  1. I haven’t managed to read the whole thing, but I tell ya, that part where he shimmies down the wall FREAKS ME OUT just thinkin’ about it!Really should get back to this one.

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  2. What on earth have they done with the cover this time? If that’s supposed to be Whitby, then presumably they haven’t been to the same place that I have. For some slightly weirder vampires, which nevertheless manage to stick to all the various European legends about the things, try Pratchett’s Carpe Jugulum.

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  3. O yay! I love it when people read this book and love it. I read this for the first time back in high school and LOVED it and have reread it many times since then. And you are right, it’s not the characters…it’s the mood. I mean sometimes they are a bit frustrating. But when I am yelling at the characters to not be so daft because, of course, it’s a vampire that’s making Lucy all weird…that’s when I know Stoker’s done his job. He’s convinced me that vampires are real 🙂

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  4. I’ve been thinking of reading this ever since I had my first taste of vampire books recently: McKinley’s <>Sunshine<>. Stoker is a bit intimidating, just because it’s so famous I guess, but it sounds so good!

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  5. Andi — I totally agree. Freaky. A lot about this book was just freaky weird. I have no idea, Stu. Actually, this isn’t the copy I read; I read one put out by HarperCollins and illustrated by Barry Moser… but I couldn’t find the cover. So I just took the first one I did find.Incidentally, I’m impressed that you’ve been to Whitby. And I’ll have to look up the other vampire books. Jeane — I guess that’s why I avoided it for so many years. I think I also thought that it would be more violent and gross than it actually was. I don’t know if you’ve had any exposure to Poe, but Stoker’s a lot like him: it’s mostly in your mind and not on the page. Which makes it all the more scary….

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  6. I am in the middle of reading <>Dracula<> now and I LOVE it. I had no idea it was so amazing or I would have read it long ago.Consider giving the novella Carmella by Sheridan Le Fanu (I think that’s how you spell it) a try. Written 25-years before <>Dracula<> and available for free from Project Gutenberg.

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  7. I am SO GLAD you liked it. So glad.I reviewed it a long time ago – < HREF="http://corinnesbookreviews.blogspot.com/2008/01/dracula-by-bram-stoker.html" REL="nofollow">here it is<> if you want to read it:

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  8. Dracula is a very scary book! I’m so glad you read it and recommended it. Not only does it stand on its own as a good read, knowing this story gives you a better sense of where today’s paranormal writers get their ideas of what a vampire should be like.Jeane, Sunshine by Robin McKinley is a book I tell many people about. I love it.

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  9. I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I did when I read it finally for the first time last year. I love vampire stories and was most ashamed to say I hadn’t read Dracula. I know Stu doesn’t like the cover, but I have to disagree.

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  10. Ok, ok, OK! I LOVE Dracula! It’s Victorian and yet has a modern appeal, and so creepy cool and beautiful and frightening and horrible and wonderful all at the same time. I’m pretty sure I put it in my top 10. I’m glad you liked it.

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