Author: Bram Stoker
My Rating: 4.5/5
It’s disappointing to think that most of the people are aware of the ‘DRACULA’, in the same way as they are acquainted with the term superheroes, through movies or comics. People know the Dracula but people seldom know the original plot of the book.
I myself read the book quite late, basically out of curiosity. So coming to the review of the book, I would like to focus on the term praise instead of review, as it is unnecessary to write a review for the classic masterpiece, however, I would love to share my experience reading this book.
So this book is written in epistolary format which intrigued me all the more. I love to read books in such formats because I get to see the narrators perspective and be in his or her mind. For me it works really well as I like character driven stories , not all, though.
So at the centre of the story we have Mina Murray, her fiancé Jonathan Harker, Abraham Van Helsing, Mina’s friend Lucy, Dr Seward and two other guys who are in love with Lucy, and of course one and only Count Dracula. The story is told through entries written in diaries of Mina, Jonathan and Dr Seward. At the beginning we are introduced to lovely and virtuous Mina, who is an assistant school mistress and recently got engaged to Jonathan Harker, who works for a real estate firm as a lawyer in London. Jonathan has got an assignment to oversee the purchase of a property bought by a certain Count Dracula, who lives in Transylvania, so in order to complete the legal process Jonathan travels to Carpathian mountains accepting the invitation of a visit from the Count. He records his journey and his experiences living in the Castle with Dracula in his diary. In his entries we get to know the true nature of the Count and all the mysterious things happening inside the castle.
Whlie Jonathan is away , Mina is spending her time with beautiful and enticing Lucy, who is getting married. Then there is a part when Dracula travels from Transylvania to London in a ship and jonathan is imprisoned in his castle. This part which describes the voyage of the ship is exquisitely crafted, it feels like a window to another book, may be because it resonates with the plot of Frankenstein, but I really loved this part. Its extra creepy and hauntingly atmospheric. So the creepy events begin when the ship comes ashore. Lucy gets sick so Dr Seward calls his mentor Dr Abraham Van Helsing, who recognises the plight and asks everyone to take closer attention to the events.
There is also a peculiar asylum plot in between, consisting of a subject of Dr Seward, which gives insight into the horrors of consequences caused by a deadly acquaintance. I personally think the inclusion of this part of the asylum bit is really confusing at first and account of a mental patient who is a subject, his mental state and sinister behaviour is a bit mysterious until you tie up that end in the context of Dracula and his monstrosity. This part only added to the attributes of his terrorizing personality.
Then we come to know that Jonathan escaped from his captivity and he invites Mina to join him and marry him. At the same time Lucy is serious and dies, and becomes the undead. I must say that Lucy as a character depicts the erotic element in the story which plays out beautifully in the whole milieu. This could also add to the list of reasons as this book is portrayed in the genre of erotic horror.
After the wedding Jonathan and Mina return for funeral of Lucy and learn the truth from Van Helsing. Dracula now shifts his focus on Mina as his next victim. In endeavours to make Mina his, Dracula makes her drink his blood. This scene is the most erotic part of the story and its wily and cunningly written. The entire atmosphere becomes sensual and perilous and I was caught up in that moment. Firstly, I thought this is too sensual for the era it was written in, but the viciousness of the act reminded me that it again depicts one of the traits of Dracula. He is depicted as a sinister and sensual character. So that moment describes him perfectly.He is caught, though, by Van Helsing and Jonathan, and they make plans to kill him once and for all.
To know what happens I recommend you to read it. I must say the beauty of this book is in creating an ominous and sensual atmosphere with character driven plot which I found quite ingenious.