Saturday 11 February 2012
Dracula - Bram Stoker
This is the second time I have read this book. I was a young teen the first time and loved it then just as much as I loved it now. It was one listed under The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen challenge. Reading it again was far from being a chore. After my disappointing break from reading classics sinking into this book felt like coming home. I love the style of it. I always have liked that writing style. Written as a series of letters and journal entries in its entirety. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I love it. It makes the first person less tedious I think.
It has been a long time since I read it before but I think I remembered most of it as I was reading. One of those books I guess that has never left me. I loved each of the characters, especially Van Helsing. Even his odd speech which is shown throughout didn't bother me as it normally would. It was an endearing part of him. Almost like he was the Yoda of the group (at least that's who jumped into my head at times but I am sure that Stoker didn't have him in mind since it was well after his time).
It was more than a little sexist I have to say. That's one thing I don't remember noticing back when I read it the first time. Or maybe I did and just ignored it. Mina Harker was portrayed as everything a lady should be, sweet, honest, pure and brave. As was Miss Lucy at the start. I had to laugh when the men decided that Mina should have no part in their talks to protect her from nightmares. It's a product of it's time though and despite the sexism it still had a very strong female character in the shape of Mina.
As for Dracula himself, I loved his character too. Ruthless, evil and cold. All the characteristics every good vampire should have. Was a shame though that at one point he was described as a child. It really took away some of his scariness. The first half of the book was scarier than I expected. I can't remember thinking it so the first time round. However, the descriptions of Dracula and then those scenes on the boat gave me the creeps. If you are ever going on a long boat journey be sure to check that there are no large boxes filled with earth lying around!
It had a great ending too. The ravings of the lunatic (yep, it was very un-PC too), Renfield, kept it interesting until the great chase at the end. He was an interesting, if somewhat disgusting, character too. As I said though the ending was great. Very exciting and I especially enjoyed it since that was the one thing about the book I couldn't remember. A fantastic horror tale with a real vampire!
This was read as part of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge hosted by Hanna of Booking In Heels. If you want to read what others have thought of these books you can do so here. As for comparing the character in the graphic novel (or film since I haven't read it) that Mina seemed harder. Far from the sweet person she is meant to be in Dracula. The only similarity they really have is their strength. Mind you the League Mina is a vampire which would account for these changes.
Again this is one of those beautiful Penguin Clothbound editions. I loved the black but it did start to rub off onto my hands.