I’ve decided to start doing book reviews on my blog. I’ve been getting a lot of reading done recently, mostly due to isolation, and also being made redundant from work late last year. I’m planning to get my writing, books, and blog back up off the ground. Although, I am also hoping I can get myself a fulltime job as a mechanical engineer again. Here’s hoping!
The most recent book I’ve read is the classic Dracula, by Bram Stoker. I finally picked up an unabridged copy. The last time I tried to read Dracula was as a teenager, and I realised about halfway through reading the copy I’d obtained from my local library that this was not the complete book. I have since had it in the back of my mind to read the full version when I had the chance. Years later, I have finally done so. However now that I’ve finished reading it I completely understand why this has been abridged.
Dracula is pretty long, and I found it a little rambling. The characters seem to take ages to get anything done. I suppose one does tend to ramble when writing in your diary, which virtually the entirety of the book consists of. I feel sorry for poor Mina, who had to type out everyone’s diary entries, so the rest of the vampire hunting party can read them and all be on the same page/s.
I did find it frustrating that the characters wailed and angsted for pages when they found out someone had the potential to become a vampire, or someone died, or they may have to violently stake someone they care about. I’m not a huge fan of excessive angst, although I quite enjoy is in small doses. I’m not sure if this was how things were written at the time or if even the original modern vampire novel was far too angsty.
I found myself fluctuating around being frustrated with how the women were written. Initially, there’s a whole pile of fluff and bother about allowing Mina to continue (once she’s done everyones typing of course!) being in on the discussions on how they plan to take down Dracula. Apparently her constitution cannot handle it. Ironically, this leads to everyone being unaware that Dracula has started sucking her blood at night. Why no one twigs as to the reason she’s looking a little pale of a morning I can’t understand, and perhaps the part of the book I found the most frustrating. Eventually though, she ends up coming with them to Transylvania, and is a fairly integral part of chasing down Dracula before he is able to reach the safety of his home ground.
My favorite part is the first bit of the book, where Jonathan Harker is stuck in Castle Dracula, having the wits scared out of him. Diary entries work well for this as we basically see Jonathan slowly freaking out, wondering if he’s actually crazy or in some serious trouble. I also enjoyed reading Lucy being slowly sucked dry. It was probably the difference between most of the recent vampire books/shows which have people violently attacked and quickly sucked dry in one meal that I liked best. The slow, unexplainable draining over a period of weeks, not knowing the cause, is creepy.
The best thing about this book is that now I’ve actually read it. The copy I bought was a fairly good looking hardcopy, so it’ll look very nice sitting on my bookshelf among my other classics. Overall, if you’re looking to read Dracula, and really have your heart set on doing so, go ahead. It is worth the read if this is something you’ve been meaning to do. Just be aware some parts might be a bit of a slog!