Dracula is well known, I found some of the differences between movies, common myth, and the book of interest. He isn’t quite as fearsome in this version. I think a lot of the issue is the dating of the book. A lot of what Bram Stoker does serves to reduce the horror. An example is the early introduction by watching him scale a castle. His behavior wasn’t consistent with his abilities.
Next is the structure of the book. It is told as a series of diary entries with the addition of a few letters. These come from several people, yet they are all told in the same voice with similar types of content and style. Each person has recorded dialog verbatim, even to the point of the awkward working and spelling of people of different cultures and backgrounds. It felt very unnatural.
Abraham Van Helsing seemed over the top. He has all the answers, he’s encountered vampires before, but his background isn’t adequately explained. He is overly secretive for a matter as grave as this, and parcels out information only sparingly.
The story, itself, could be brought up-to-date. For instance, instead of starting in Romania, I would have started in England with the arrival of the boat whose crew was dead. It could have started by taking the form of an investigation. There were some interesting events early in the book, intrigue around Harker’s apparent imprisonment, his interaction with the other vampires. This could be updated by introducing another victim, probably replacing Harker, and another plot thread in England.
Overall, the book fell short of my expectations. I felt no horror, and felt that Dracula didn’t present himself well. Coupled with the overburdened dialog of the stereotypical Victorian dialog made it slow at times and difficult to accept when belittling women or other minorities. The climax came a bit suddenly and was too abrupt. A rewrite could do wonders for the book, it is a good story.
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