August 1, 2010

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Title : Dracula
Author : Bram Stoker
Reading Dates : 22 Jul - 26 Jul 2010
From Amazon :
The vampire novel that started it all, Bram Stoker's Dracula probes deeply into human identity, sanity, and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client. Soon afterward, disturbing incidents unfold in England-an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby, strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck, and a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his "Master"-culminating in a battle of wits between the sinister Count and a determined group of adversaries.

Book Review of Dracula.
Dracula's story is told in the form of a series of journal entries, letters, telegrams and newspaper cuttings. Mainly though, we see it from the point of views of Jonathan Harker, Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray and Dr. John Seward's journals. While this gives a more coherent picture of the story to us, the reader, the frequent changes can be a little disorientating and abrupt. There are times when I even confused the current narrator of the tale.

Aside from that minor annoyance, what disappointed me the most was Dracula's storyline and the treatment of women in the novel.

First of all, there are too many coincidences in this tale. Jonathan Harker is the solicitor sent to Count Dracula in Trasylvania. His fiance, Mina Murray, happens to witness Dracula's first attacks on her close friend, Lucy Westenra. Dr. John Seward who was a student of Abraham Van Helsing and attending physician at the lunatic asylum where Dracula's servant, Renfield, resides is also called in to check on Lucy. Do you see what I mean ?

Aside from that, some parts of the story are unclear or at least inconsistent. As seen near the end of Dracula's story, the powers of the brides of Dracula are not limited to the castle. Yet, Jonathan Harker managed to escape their clutches after being abandoned to their mercies by the Count. How he did that was never explained satisfactorily. There was also at least one allusion to Count Dracula's activities in England, witnessed by Jonathan Harker himself, which seems to occur during the daytime.

Finally, there is Mina's treatment by the men and her acceptance of it. This is an example of what I mean :
"Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina! She has man's brain - a brain that a man should have were he much gifted - and a woman's heart. The good God fashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when He made that so good combination. Friend John, up to now fortune has made that woman of help to us; after to-night she must not have to do with this so terrible affair. It is not good that she run a risk so great. We men are determined - nay, are we not pledged ? - to destroy this monster; but it is no part for a woman. Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors; and hereafter she may suffer - both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams. And, besides, she is a young woman, and not so long married; there may be other things to think of some time, if not now. You tell me she has wrote all, then she must consult with us; but to-morrow she say goodbye to this work, and we go alone."
I know Dracula was written in a different time, but I can't still help feeling annoyed. For Mina to help Van Helsing's group piece Dracula's story together and then be shunted aside once it was time to act feels so unfair.

In the end, Dracula wasn't the great read I expected it to be.

My conclusion : Read Dracula only if you do not know how the story goes. Without the suspense, there isn't much this tale can offer.

You can read or download the ebook for free HERE.

Dracula - The Legacy Collection (Dracula / Dracula (1931 Spanish Version) / Dracula's Daughter / Son of Dracula / House of Dracula)DraculaBram Stoker's Dracula


  1. I was excited about Dracula once I learned it was in epistolary form but I'm disappointed to read about poor treatment of women in the novel; Yeah, it was written a long time ago but I'm pretty sure there are other books of the time with more enlightened views. I still think I will at least try to read it just so I can say that I have. Won't buy it though.

  2. @Bookworm1858

    Yup, that's my advice too. If you want to read it, get it for free. :-)

  3. So, maybe I just won't read it after all. Thanks.

  4. I totally agree! I went into Dracula thinking it was going to be amazing - the grandfather of all vampire novels. I was disappoint. I've seen SO many movie adaptations that the book itself was really less interesting that even some of the worst movies.

  5. What a shame you didn't like it. I really enjoyed it. I do think that the first half of the book was a lot better than the secon half though. Here is my review


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