Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review of Dracula [the novel]

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Dracula, unlike Frankenstein, is a complete waste of time. Let me explain. Of the great and classic horror novels, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was a landmark work that is better than the movies it spawned in every way, and I thought Dracula would be that way, too. But I was wrong, and mostly because of the horrifically underwheming climax, which spoils the whole story.

First of all, the book is far too long and there are too many chapters that could just go since they're just reiterating that the characters are afraid. Okay, I understand that, but being that the book is told in journal entries rather than as a regular narrative, it gets tiresome to hear them complaining about the same thing over and over again. Half of that could have just been cut out.

Secondly, there's such great build up, but it's all for nothing. I mean, Dracula is killed in a single paragraph, and clumsily at that. The movies have done a much better portrayal of Drac's execution, and I expected that here, but no. Not at all. And you'll never guess just HOW he's killed. Needless to say, none of the movies that I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot, even bother to mimic this conclusion. Why would they? It's awful.

That said, as a big fan of gothic horror and also of the legend of the vampire, it's surprising to find just how much of the vampire legend grew from this very novel. Sure, there were vampire stories before Dracula, but none have captured the imaginations of so many people like it has. So as a study of the history of vampires in fiction, it's great, but as a story itself, it sucks.

Still, I can't advise not to read it. It's Dracula! It's a classic. Just don't expect much when it comes to the end of the story. Save yourself the disappointment.

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