Author: Bram Stoker
Date of Publication: 1897
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Before reading Dracula, I had seen almost every iteration of it on television–from the original Bela Lugosi film to the remake TV series starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I have to say that, in this case, the book is better than the movie. Which movie, you ask? Every. Single. One.
I absolutely loved the writing style and the way that Stoker carefully cultivated a tense and bleak atmosphere. This entire book is written in epistolary style–through journal entries and letters and the occasional newspaper article. This in itself should make it challenging to craft an effectively dark and chilling atmosphere, which is required in any good horror novel. Yet somehow Stoker manages to, not only develop a unique voice for each of the characters, but to create that deep sense of foreboding that is so common in great horror books. I found certain passages spellbinding, and I was shocked to discover how a book that was written over a hundred years ago could still be terrifying. (Thanks to Renfield I’ll never look at a fly OR a spider the same way again).
The various characters in this book are engaging, fascinating, and well-developed. Van Helsing proved that you could be a scholar and tough. I really genuinely felt for Jonathan Harker. Mina was badass and, quite frankly, a feminist – despite the occasional “men are so strong” lines that she threw out. Lucy was sweet and kind and even though I knew her fate going in, I was hoping that all the movies had deviated from the book in this respect. Bram Stoker: Proving that men are capable of writing relatable female characters since 1897.
At one point when I was listening to the audiobook, one of the disks didn’t work. I wasn’t too worried, because I also had a copy of the ebook, so I brought it up and read. Strangely, I realized that I didn’t enjoy it as much. I’m more of a reading girl than an audiobook girl, but I found that the dramatization of this particular production to be very enjoyable. Every creepy little thing that Renfield did or said seeped deeper into my brain. I enjoyed the delicious disturbingness of this, and I highly recommend listening to this as an audiobook.
I recommend this book (and audiobook) to anyone looking to read a spooky story. If you enjoyed any of the movies, give this book a try, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. If you are, you just might be more dead inside than the Count himself.
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