Dracula by Bram Stoker / My rating: ★★★★☆
One sentence summary: Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to aid Count Dracula with the purchase of a house in London, mysterious puncture wounds appear on necks, and a fearless team forms to oppose him.
I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.
Plot: I wasn’t sure what to expect from Dracula, but I was very, pleasantly surprised. It feels a bit strange to use the word “pleasant” in a review of Dracula, because it was creepy, strange, and disgustingly horrific at times. But I was surprised at how eager I was to continue as I got deeper into the book, because horror has never exactly been my genre of choice. It could be slow at times, which was really the only reason I rated it one short of five stars, but I really, thoroughly enjoyed the story, and it’s rare that I am so completely happy with an ending in a classic novel. Usually, I close a classic and think,”well, that was nice,” but the action in Dracula lasted until the very end, and left me reeling once it was over.
Characters: I loved, loved the characters. While the book was bleak and disturbing, and Count Dracula was eerie and menacing, the protagonists of this novel are the reason I loved this book so much. My favorite character was Mina Harker- brave, persevering, intelligent, and incredibly kind and loving. Why haven’t I heard of her as a prominent woman in literature until now?? I loved her. And sweet Jonathan, solid Seward, brave Morris, and unyielding Van Helsing. I loved their loyalty to each other and to doing good. Amidst all the horror, I felt their characters were a force of real warmth and hope against the cold and death of Dracula.
Writing: The entire novel was told through a series of diary entries, letters and messages, which I thought was an interesting way to tell the story- until I read deeper into the novel and understood why. I loved that nothing was told, but always discovered. Admittedly it could be wordy at times, and while I did find my mind drifting during moments of inaction, I felt engaged for most of it, and the writing was never difficult to understand or follow. I liked it; it could be very pretty at times.
Was I satisfied? Yes. Other than the slowness at times, I thoroughly enjoyed Dracula far more than I had expected to. The characters in this novel are ones I know will stay with me.