Book number 3: Penguin Popular Classics Dracula by Bram Stoker (it’s only P99, go get your copy!) Thank you to My Man, my forever book sponsor; thank you, Babe.
What It Is: A beautiful nightmare, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a legend in all his horrific glory. Through a series of journals, letters, and bits of telegrams, the classic follows the struggles of a Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. John Seward, and Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan and Mina Harker’s quest to obliterate the evil that is the Count Vlad Dracula who has gone to England with all his death boxes in hopes to conquer new feeding ground.
The book is one thrilling, often tormenting, journey that is much about good as it is about evil; much about life as it is about death. It challenges readers to keep an open mind, to challenge beliefs, and go the extra mile, saying, “it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain” and later advises “do not fear ever to think“.
Dracula plays with doubt, conviction, and lunacy to ask what is the measure of sanity? How far will you go to embrace what exists out there? I cannot agree more with Dr. Seward when he said “all men are mad in some way or the other” and with Dr. Van Helsing saying, “knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker“.
What I Liked About It: The way the setting and the atmosphere have been laid out in Dracula is simply incredible. Dracula Castle is spectacularly scary; but more than the stuff of nightmares, I appreciate how Castle Transylvania symbolizes the old and forgotten, some bad memories, shadows, and nightmares. Throughout the story, the setting is rich and transporting; striking and vivid.
The way the narration flowed’s also killer. It’s clever, the description’s rich… To me, it’s like getting a piece of meat and marinating it well so when you eat it, you’ll be as pleased as ever. The pace is ever just right and satisfying.
But I think what I enjoyed the most is the exploration of the internal conflicts within the characters. Each of them is tormented in a different way by Dracula and you feel every agonizing bit of it; you feel their conviction, their desires, their woes - it’s a real good thing, to think most of them are emotions of men! I also appreciate how Mina Harker’s character is given importance amongst the men, as it is easy to give her the role of the damsel in distress but she’s every bit a moving character, of equal footing with the men.
Lastly, I want to point out how bribery works even then, and how lies for the dead are thrown so easy simply because they are dead and there’s not much harm in honoring them regardless of how shitty they were in life. The symbolism in this passage on Dracula rocks too: “He may not enter anywhere at the first, unless there be someone of the household who bid him to come; though afterwards he can come as he please.” To me, this says, most of the time, it is us who invite trouble for ourselves; pretty much our fault attracting trouble and letting it in instead of avoiding it!
What I Did Not Like About It: No matter how much I think of it, I do not understand why Quincey Morris has to die in the last battle to exterminate Count Dracula. Unnecessary killings are really irritating. The last battle to exterminate the Count is also a bit lame, after such a breathtaking chase the way it ended’s almost a farce. Dracula wasn’t even conscious! Of course, I understand it’s the easy way out for the characters to win but still it would have been awesome to have all hell break loose with a fight!
Recommended For: Read Dracula if you’re a fan of classics (check them out here), horror, thriller and mystery reads, though I think it will read well for anyone who appreciates good books.