Dracula Final Review

Dracula like I said in an earlier post had a fascinating presentation.  The story was written in first person, but through the eyes of nearly all characters, but Dracula and other evil ones.  This lets you see multiple events in many different perspectives.  One interesting thing is how well Stoker keeps everything within the correct time line.  He constantly has multiple pieces of the story from different characters and in different locations.  The diary entries and letters go back and forth between all these yet remain fluid enough to allow the reader to stay on track.

The vivid descriptions are done very nicely for the age. The book describes very accurately the different peoples and countries in which it proceeds.  When a character comes upon someone with less education they speak far differently.  I have always enjoyed this when an author breaks from conventional grammar attempting to encapsulate the speech of one who may have a different style. For example someone in the deep south, boat full of sailors, someone in New York and many in different countries all speak quite differently.  They use words not commonly used and pronounce everything quite differently.  Authors who can change all of this within their writing have a gift and stoker has done an excellent job with this.

Dracula is of course the highlight.  This is one of the earlier births of vampire lore and has easily the largest impact on the western worlds perspective of what a vampire should be.  I find it fascinating to this day many ideas which Stoker had have flowed through our horror novels.  In Dracula the rules are brought forth through the workings of old Dr. Van Helsing.  He was the only one who had prior knowledge of vampires and was the first to suspect.  Like the majority of vampire lore they can not be awake during the day.  To kill one they must be staked through the heart and have their head cut off.  Vampires are also unable to cast a reflection.

After reading I notice that here Stoker has placed rules which are not commonly followed.  A blessed wafer for instance is the prime item used to fight the demons.  It would make sense using such an item since it is used as sacrament.

To finish this book is a cornerstone of horror.  I have never met a person who at the very least has not heard of Dracula.  I of course am not able to say it is worth reading or it is not.  These classic books should always be read.

Reading Dracula

Beginning this book I thought it would be similar to the rest of the classical fiction I have read.  Overall I have found the book to be very unique.  The literature itself resembles many other authors, but what separates this book from the others is the presentation.  I find it interesting that Stoker uses the first person, but is able to tell all sides of the story.  Very few books I have came across have successfully done this.  With Dracula it is an entangled web with the characters.  The method Stoker uses to show the story from all angles is diaries and letters rather than the usual story writing method.

When I first began Dracula I found myself going back to ensure I knew who was speaking.  The changes happened very quickly and quite often the end of a diary page would leave the reader with confusion and hanging in suspense.  It could be pages and in some cases chapters before the character speaking would finish their thought.  Once you get into the book it is difficult anyone would write in a journal the way the book was written.  The amount of descriptions made you believe your reading a novel rather than a book, but when the diary entry ended and the next started it would bring you back to diary.  I noticed sever instances where Stoker would have his characters apologize or explain why they were so thorough.  This being added helped somewhat in making it believable that a person would go into such depth for their diary.

The book itself thus far has been quite enthralling.  I believe the hidden secret is how Stoker makes Dracula into a massive tangle with everything having importance.  When you first pick the book up it will be a struggle.  He places a high importance on setting the book up with many lose ends you will have to wait to tie up.  You will be reading about things which make little to no sense at the time and feel they have no place within the story.  It is not until far past the half way point does he bring everything back together.  Placing this much mystery into a horror book may have been a more of a vice than a virtue.  The mysteries themselves were very enjoyable, but I feel placing so much emphasis on these rather than creating actual terror could possibly let me down at the end.  Thus far though the book has been worth every second placed and I highly recommend it if you enjoy the horror/mystery genre.

I am now 70% through and look forward in doing a complete review once I finish.