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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dracula by Bram Stoker


RIP is over for me!  With the final page turned on Dracula, I have completed my peril for the challenge and can finally move on to books that are frightening in a different way (I'm referring to my next read, ROOM).  However, this wonderful tome will not soon be forgotten.  Bram Stoker's book is simply marvelous.  It was such a treat to read. I found myself reading much slower than usual, because I did not want the book to end.  From the beginning I was captivated with Harker's diaries and wanted to find out how he would escape from the Count's clutches.  I thought it was brilliant the way that the character's journals, telegrams, newspapers told the story of how Count Dracula came into their lives.  It was so interesting to read every one's own perception of each other, the situation, the Count, their mission, etc.  The writing was excellent - all the descriptions of the cities, the people, the culture, etc. truly brought everything to life.  I was able to envision Mina and Lucy taking a walk and Van Helsing confiding in Seward about his fears for Mina, without a problem.  I just love it when a book that is so rich in story and detail paints the picture so vividly in your mind that you can't help but feel as if you are right there in the story watching from the sidelines - Dracula does just that! 

The story is about a group of people who under devastating circumstances band together and decide to destroy the bloodthirsty psychopath that is Dracula.  Jonathan Harker deals with Count Dracula on a business trip, which leaves him locked inside a house with three female vampires wanting to eat him for dinner.  Mina Harker, Jonathan's wife (at first they are engaged, but upon his escape from Dracula's abode they immediately wed), has a best friend named Lucy who falls victim to Dracula's charms and winds up becoming undead.  Before Lucy's demise, she becomes engaged to Goldaming, who relies on Seward and Van Helsing to cure his future bride after she becomes deathly ill (Dracula's work to ensure her undead status).  Lucy is mourned by these strong men, along with another man who had once upon a time asked for her hand in marriage - his name is Quincey.  In order to ensure that Lucy will enter heaven's gate, Van Helsing informs the men that their beloved Lucy is a vampire and must be destroyed by staking and decapitation.  Unable to believe Van Helsing, all the men meet him at the cemetery where Lucy has been buried in the family tomb - to their surprise she is not there and they encounter her nearby draining the blood of a child.  Horrified and disgusted by what has become of Lucy, the men agree to return to her grave and do away with her vampirical state for good.  As for the Harkers, Mina is taking care of her husband, who has been weakened by his stay and escape from the clutches of Dracula and his three minions.  Upon hearing about Lucy's death, she is deeply saddened, but also wonders if perhaps there is some sort of connection to what has been happening with Jonathan and the ordeal that Lucy has undergone.  A meeting between Van Helsing and Mina is set and soon enough the two are discussing with frankness the curious circumstances surrounding Lucy's death and Jonathan's current state of mind.  In no time at all, Mina, Jonathan and Van Helsing are joined by Seward, Goldaming and Quincey (three men who are invested in putting a stop to the recent events that have left them terrified and mired in grief).  With the facts revealed about what they are up against, the group is soon on their way to find Dracula and destroy any chance he has of survival. 

Talk about exciting! Just writing about the story makes me wish that I were still reading it. And its not just the story itself, but also the characters.  Their fierce determination to put an end to a monster comes across so clearly, that you can't help but feel proud of them.  And you can't help but feel horrified when you discover that Mina has been visited by the Count.  As the story progresses and you continue to read about the peril that these characters put themselves through as they collect clues and information in order to figure out a way to destroy the Count, you gasp in exasperation and fear, and sigh with content when everyone is able to sleep safely through the night.  Its such an engaging group that you can't help but become immersed in their adventure.  Stoker has most definitely created a memorable cast of characters.

I would highly recommend this book to everyone.  There are so many fascinating themes layered within the framework of the novel that are ripe for discussion, such as: feminism, religion, history, psychology, culture, superstition, etc.  In fact I would have to say that Dracula did make for quite an interesting reading experience.  I would definitely count this as one of my favorite reads.  And I'm glad I read this for RIP, because it certainly provided the right amount of Halloween flavor and tone for this time of year. Now I'm off to the next book.

Happy reading! And of course, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

8 comments:

Ash said...

I got this book for Christmas last year and still haven't read it. I was going to take a class where it was required, but ended up dropping it at the last minute. I sounds incredibly good though, and you description of the story was very thorough which I appreciated because I think everyone just expects you to know exactly what Dracula is about and I-- for one-- did not!

Nadia said...

Ash, thanks! I have to admit that I've been in a blogging rut lately, so I wasn't even sure I was going to blog about what I've been reading, but today I woke up and was in the mood to post. As for Dracula, definitely read it when you get a chance. Its a book that truly makes a lasting impression. Hope you have a Happy Halloween!!

She said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I absolutely loved it. And Renfield. And the scene on the ship. And and and...

Nadia said...

She, I know! The book rocks! There is just so much great stuff in there - loved it!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I am so excited that you liked this, too!! This is one of my favorite books *ever*!! We just finished the On the Ledge Readalongs for The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, but check out the site when you read The Historian -- I was able to pull some amazing pictures of all the places they travel to!!

Nadia said...

Thanks, Coffee and a Book Chick! So glad to see its one of your favorites :) And I'll definitely check out the site, because I loved The Historian - Cheers!

Lisa said...

Now I've read two reviews by people that read this one for RIP and loved it. I will have to go find it on my bookshelf. I know I bought it for my boys a few years ago.

Nadia said...

Lisa, definitely give it a read - it is worth it!