DRACULA by Bram Stoker | Review

Sometimes I reread books and love them even more the second time around.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is not one of those books.

When I read it for the first time a few years ago I enjoyed it, though it wasn’t something I ever thought I would willingly read again. (And I was right: I read it again not because I wanted to but because my required reading list told me to.) I remember wishing that Count Dracula played a larger role in the story beyond the first one hundred pages or so and that the novel in general would have been a bit shorter.

I agree with you wholeheartedly, Holly of the past.

Dracula frustrates me for a number of reasons. The absence of Count Dracula through the majority of the book is disappointing. The plot is needlessly convoluted and the pacing is too slow. At first I liked how the story is told through journal entries and letters, but as I read on I realized that this style of narration was preventing the novel from moving at a faster speed. It also felt as though I was being told the same ideas and plot points three or four times after reading about it from all of the different characters’ perspectives. After a while most of the journal entries and letters felt really redundant.

This book is also frustrating due to the prior knowledge we have about the story before we even open to the first page. We know that Count Dracula is a vampire from cultural context, meaning that the surprise is completely taken away. When Lucy becomes sick later on in the novel it’s immediately obvious that vampires are the cause, yet it takes hundreds of pages for the characters to come to that same conclusion. In a strange way, reading Dracula felt like reading a story that I’ve known my whole life.

I understand why Dracula is an iconic novel and I appreciate it for being a well-written and meticulously crafted book; however, it’s simply not something that I find engaging, entertaining, or enjoyable to read.

What are your thoughts on Dracula? Have any spooky reading recommendations for the Halloween season? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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18 thoughts on “DRACULA by Bram Stoker | Review

  1. I haven’t read Dracula yet and I’ve been kind of on the fence about it. I don’t love classics, but I do like spooky books. It sounds like most of the fun gets taken out of it if you already know everything happening, though. Hmmm, I’ll give it a little more thought, but I don’t think it’s going to be one I end up reading!

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  2. I really enjoyed Dracula, but I listened to the whole thing on audiobook, and I definitely feel if I’d been physically reading it I’d have found it frustratingly slow to get through. Listening to it make it more enjoyable and less like I was doing the “work” in getting through it, but I can totally understand finding Dracula frustrating! I think what I liked most about it though was the relationships between the characters, how they came together and formed an unlikely tight-knit group in their goal to defeat Dracula. But I totally agree that I wish Dracula had had a bit of a bigger part! He felt kind of like a background character most of the time.

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    1. oooh listening to it on audio book is a really great idea! If I ever have to read it again for a course then I’ll definitely try doing that instead of reading a physical copy. Is there a narrator you recommend?

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  3. The points you make are totally valid about there being no element of surprise as far as what is causing the issues. You know, when I read the book the first time I totally loved it, but when I listened to the audiobook just this past month I found it to be a tad bit boring. I agree that it felt slow and that there was a lot in there that didn’t have to be. Maybe the audiobook made that more apparent? Or maybe I’m just older now and expect more from books. Who knows!

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    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t enjoy it as much the second time around! I think being forced to read it for a course definitely had something to do with it as well… 🙂

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  4. I’m still reading it because of the fact that it’s so slow-paced. I agree, the beginning was the best. Now, I’m slightly annoyed but keep reading thinking something more interesting is going to happen. Also, i realize it was the time period, but damn is it sexist.

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  5. I agree with a lot of what you say. My biggest “hurdle” when first reading it was that I was so fooled by modern and cinematic interpretations of Dracula that I kept waiting for all the action and horror! That said, I ended up sinking into the prose and really appreciating a lot of the subtle social commentary, especially the explorations of gender and sexuality. I thought it was a beautiful book, in the end, though not nearly what I expected it to be.

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    1. Same!! I expected a lot of dramatic action scenes but was left with mostly suspense building up to an anticlimactic ending. I hope that studying it and learning more about the nuances of its social commentary will help me fully enjoy it!

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  6. Oh… I have this book on my list to read classics… It is a think it is live in my blog haha I knew it was journal entries, but it is disappointing that Dracula is not actually that present… Hmmm I still need to read it though haha I might share you point of view but I will need to read it xD

    Thank you for sharing! This blog is actually making me go home and take the book!! :3

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