Book #38 on my list is a classic which I spent a good two weeks slogging through on the train to work back in April. Although the language (and some of the ideas) are dated, it’s a classic for a reason. The most-portrayed literary character in history – Count Dracula – pops off the page, filled with malice and bloodlust, and seeping through the pages with an uneasy presence which gives the Gothic horror novel a hugely atmospheric enjoyment.
Dracula – Bram Stoker
So! Dracula – written in 1897, the Gothic horror novel by Irish writer Bram Stoker is the father of the vampire novel. And God knows the vampire novel has an unending popularity, which lasts to this very day.
Dracula was actually really interesting – written from several points of view, and set in Victorian England (although the opening scenes are in Transylvania, where the Count’s castle is located), it documents a series of strange happenings which seem, at first, to be unconnected, but over the course of the novel, reveal themselves to all be the works of the sinister Count. What could he possibly be? What strange and bizarre powers does the Count have which allow him to seduce young maidens – and what are the strange marks on said fair maiden’s neck?
Although the book was really good, because it’s so old, and Dracula is so iconic, there were times when I literally gave out to the kindle (and the characters residing therein) for not realising that Dracula was a vampire. Of course, I have the benefit of a hundred and fifteen years of vampire lore to back me up, whereas the characters of the book were not so lucky. That was really my only bone of contention – it seemed so obvious that he was a vampire. What else would be the reason behind the bats, the tiny red pinpricks, the not eating, and all the other hallmarks of vampires? Why else would one be stuffing cloves of garlic down the throat of a corpse?
I know, logically, that I’m judging the book too harshly, and that I have years of knowledge which obviously weren’t around when the character of Dracula was created. And so I can’t really blame Stoker for that one. It’s not his fault I’m reading his book a hundred and fifteen years later. In fact, he should probably be proud that I am.
Well, he would be. If he wasn’t dead, and all.
In any case. Slightly stuffy language at times. A little difficult to read – but that’s expected of a book from 1897, to be fair. The women, for the most part, were a little ‘damsel-in-distress’, but that’s a product of the times, also. And, to be fair, Mina is as bad-ass a character as I’ve seen in many vampire novels (she’s certainly a stronger character than Bella Swan, anyways), so I add on points for her.
In all, a solidly enjoyable book. A long one, certainly, which is a little meandering at times, and which suffers slightly through the passage of time, but certainly justifiably a classic, and the grandfather of the vampire genre.