Dracula by Bram Stoker is the ultimate horror classic of all times. This is where it all started. A tale about a creature that feeds on the blood to survive, but also a tale of friendship and love, described and presented in a way we rarely have a privilege to see these days.
If Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse series pop to your mind when you first think of vampires, this book might feel extremely slow to your taste. However, if you want to experience the real horror and the building tension through many diary entries – you will enjoy this book completely.
I am a fan of both, and I had moments where I fell in love with the detailed explanations of weather and whereabouts. But the setting of writing many polite letters to people dear to the characters also made me cringe. I suppose a cringe can’t be all bad for a horror book though?
Through many diary entries of various characters, we follow their experience with the Count Dracula. Young Jonathan Harker is sent to go to Transylvania and arrange for the apartments the Count Dracula wants to buy in London. During his stay, he faces many unusual things. Meanwhile, his fiance Mina and her friend Lucy are in London, and Lucy is facing some unusual experiences herself, when Dr. Seward arrives to help better her condition.
“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.”
I knew what I was getting into, and I believe knowing this is a classic, and not a fast-paced romance with a paranormal twist put me in the right mood from the very beginning, so I was aware of what I was going into, and I really enjoyed it!
Dracula as a character is so mysterious, so powerful, very feared and secretly admired. I both loved and hated the fact that we don’t get to really see much of him, but we have to be satisfied with what the other characters are going through. And even though, he continues to be a shadow, a fear, a thought of everything they are doing. He is always there, even when he isn’t, and it requires great skills as a writer to create that presence for a character.
The characters of Lucy and Mina were very interesting – from a time perspective. How things have changed for women in all these years. What women were doing and thinking at that time, and how different it is now. I suppose I could make all the comparisons in the world – but one thing stays true will all classic books – they leave a mark of the time they were written, and this mark always gets better as time goes by.
“It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way – even by death – and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment.”
I am glad I read Dracula, and I will try to read more classics in the new year. The writing style, the past of them, they remind you to take a big breath and acknowledge many things you take for granted in today’s world. In a world of page-turners, you sometimes need a slow book that makes you think deeply.