When this novel was first released in 1897, I can only imagine the horror it caused. We’re so inundated with vampire lore, fictional stories, and references these days that I’m afraid this one just doesn’t pack the same punch. We can, however, still give the credit to Stoker for bringing the famous Count Dracula to popular culture. He might not have been the first to write about vampires, but this is definitely a classic of the Gothic genre.
It’s also definitely a British Victorian novel, and the settings and characters confirm the author’s time period. Stoker does a good job with the atmospheric description, and we can feel the chill, smell the smoke, and hear the leather creaking.
Chapters are written from different characters’ points of view, and are in the form of letters and journal entries, with a few newspaper reports.
The characters are fairly stock types for this time period, with the delightful exception of Mina; she shows strength and bravery where Lucy (and one or two of the men) is basically a wimp. There is a lot of sappy conviviality between the “good” characters, which gets old, and many references to Christianity, of course. Good vs evil is the plot, after all.
As for the Audible version with a “full cast” of narrators, most of it was great work by some of the best audio stars: John Lee, Simon Vance, Alan Cumming, Katy Kellgren, Tim Curry, etc. However, the weak was very weak; I cringed every time Susan Duerden spoke as Lucy, but I understand her method. The various (and I mean VARIOUS) accents given to Van Helsing were a bit of a distraction, but I’m sensitive to accents.
Overall, I’m glad I listened to this book, as I imagine reading it wouldn’t be near as interesting.
If you are looking for an action-packed, chase-sequence-filled thriller, this one isn’t for you. But if you care to read the basis for 121 years of sequels, plays, films, and adaptations, give it chance.