I finally finished Dracula after wanting to read it from a long time. I was pretty sure this book would scare the hell out of me and would give me nightmares which was the reason for keeping it as a Halloween read but I couldn’t be more wrong. This book did not scare me one bit.
Dracula is written in the form of letters and diary entries which might be the reason for not enjoying this book much. The last book that I read in this format (Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) bored me to death. Not everyone can write in this format without making the book boring I guess.
Dracula as a vampire did not appear that scary to me as he seems to only attack two people in the entire 400 pages long book. I wish Dracula could have attacked more people in London and terrorized the city or had a vampire army with him. Also Dracula hardly makes an appearance in this novel. People just keep discussing and talking about him but we hardly get to see him talk or do harm. The author’s descriptions about Dracula were not scary either. I think even Twilight series was more scary compared to this book. To all the Twilight series haters, there are some bad vampires in that series who scared me when I read it a decade back. After all, it was my introduction to vampires. Mortal Instruments had vampires too but they weren’t scary. But the vampire book which was really scary was Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin as there are some pretty evil vampires in that book.
So coming to Dracula, it is a very important piece of literature just because it introduced the world to vampires I guess (Please correct me if I am wrong). Learning about vampires and their characteristics and weaknesses was the best part of the book. If you want to know what exactly Dracula is like and why he has been such a popular vampire, you have to read this book. Things like garlic, crucifixes etc are used in this novel to drive Dracula away. Also some facts like Dracula’s reflection not appearing in a mirror were pretty interesting to read about. There are plenty of adaptations which I have carefully avoided, since I do not watch scary movies so this book was my introduction to the vampire like vampire 101.
The book starts with Jonathan Harker visiting Dracula castle in Transylvania and him getting imprisoned by Count Dracula. This part was the most interesting part of the book, along with the climax which was great. Then the scene shifts to London after Dracula moves to London. This is where the book got really boring as we are just observing one woman who is repeatedly attacked by Dracula and watching her doctors try to save her. Professor Van Helsing makes an entry here and deduces that a vampire is behind the ill health of this woman.
There were plenty of loopholes in the story and the characters were acting like they are blind most of the times. Even though they knew Dracula was behind all the attacks, they never took precaution or protected themselves the way normal humans would. Characters also took quite a lot of time to deduce something which was quite obvious to us readers. That frustrated me sometimes as a reader.
Another thing that frustrated me was repeated descriptions of something like a scar on a person’s forehead. I guess blood transfusions were not being performed at the time this book was written as people don’t care about the blood type and anyone and everyone donates blood to a person, without any worry about the type. The book was mildly sexist too. Like this sentence – “Madam Mina! She has man’s brain – a brain that a man should have were he much gifted…”. So women don’t have brains eh?!
That said, I still gave this book 4/5 stars as the atmosphere in this book was creepy and chilling. Some scenes were a bit scary and the author maintained some amount of suspense and intrigue throughout the novel. I also liked the word play like Dracula calling himself Count de Ville (Devil). Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys gothic literature.
Some quotes –
“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and how dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.”
“Knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker.”
“Sickness and weakness are selfish things and turn our inner eyes and sympathy on ourselves, whilst health and strength give Love rein, and in thought and feeling he can wander where he wills.”
I have few more vampire books on my TBR –
- The historian
- The passage
- Interview with the vampire
Have you read Dracula? If so, did you like it? Did you like any other books with vampires?