As I’m sure most of my readers are aware, I’ve been reading “Dracula” for the past couple weeks. I finally finished it last Tuesday, and after thinking over it happily for sometime, have finally managed to pull my thoughts together. I will try not to bore you too badly.
First thoughts: This is my new favorite book. Oh my goodness, I loved it. I’ve not read something so obsessively in a very long time. I fully enjoyed it.
I gravitate towards old books from around the 1890’s more than contemporary young adult novels. Authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson and HG Wells are among my favorites. However, considering I’m not a huge fan of Gothic horror or anything like that, I’d not ever heard that much about Dracula very much. Two things, though, convinced to me to borrow it from the library. The fact that it was an older novel was a big hooker and my friend Dylan said it was very good. So, on a whim, I put it on hold at the library.
By the end of Chapter Two, I was hooked.
“Dracula” was written in journal-like form, going from one person’s journal to the next, and we see into the minds of nearly everyone except Dracula himself. It was quite interesting to read a book in this form, but I think it was also a good way to write it. It felt very real this way.
At times the book dragged but as I’ve learned from reading Agatha Christie’s mysteries, everything there, is there for a reason. The book had great depth because I got to see deep into many of the main character’s thought process, feelings, hearts and souls, even if it was slow at first. Because so there was so much detail, it gave later events a lot more depth.
The book also gave me real feelings. Sympathy, disgust, sorrow, moments of triumph, and utter horror. My sister has already testified of seeing me crying “Nooo! Noooo!” out loud during some of my reading sessions. The characters and situations all felt real; there were times where I simply had to keep reading to find out what would happened next. I stayed up very late several times during the night to keep reading and I haven’t done that in a pretty long time.
One thing I really appreciated from this novel was the Christianity in it. While the characters used objects which seemed to have ‘power’ over the vampires, like crucifixes (I’m not entirely sure how Biblical that is), the Christian worldview was very refreshing and more blunt than most books today. Most of the characters had a clear understanding of God and His power, His mercy, and His will. The main female character, Mina, was especially filled with faith and strongly believed that the different events that happened was in God’s will and that He had everything under control.
I liked how the ‘religion’ wasn’t there just to ‘be there’ (that can feel obviously painful in Christian books today) but that it was there because… well, the character also breathed air and gravity still effected them. To Bram Stoker, the author, a belief that God is real is like knowing the world is round. It flowed out of the characters because they obviously had a Christian worldview.
And this may all sound a little funny because… you know, it’s a story about a vampire. Vampires aren’t real. But at the same time, “Dracula” is a great example of a horror book that is obviously fictional yet obviously Christian.
The other thing I really liked was that the vampires… were evil. They were something you hated and wanted to see destroyed because they could and were destroying human lives–they were murdering. They were a force that needed to be stopped. And I think this is how vampires should be seen.
Come on, I think we’ve all be dumbed down a little about the horrors of vampires by this guy:
Like, a lot of contemporary girls now all swoon over Edward Cullen, a handsome sparkly vampire. Absolutely sick. So, let me set some things straight. First off, vampires don’t sparkle. They’re deathly pale, but they don’t sparkle. Secondly, they’re dead people. Literally, they’re called, the Undead. They’re people who’ve been killed by a vampire and have returned in their old bodies as a vampire themselves. And they now need to live off of other people’s blood to survive (unless their heads are cut off and their hearts are impaled by stakes; then they’re souls are set free from being vampires.) Really, what girl would want a guy like that hanging around her? But, at any rate, we all know that Edward was really an over-sized fairy. *sigh* I never liked Twilight before, now I really dislike it simply by making vampires something desirable.
They’re not. Trust me. I read a 400 page book all about it. *happy sigh* Best 400 pages I’ve read this year.
Anyway, if you’re a book junky, I would certainly recommend reading “Dracula”. I do give an age caution though; there are some slightly graphic scenes of gore and for some people that could be disturbing. So, use caution for young readers under twelve. Otherwise, go for it! It’s an awesome book! It’s certainly my new fave.