Friday, February 12, 2010

Dracula, by Bram Stoker [1897] *Review 1*

After reading extensively about this classic novel in the book which accompanies "The Vampire Tarot" by Robert M. Place (that Tarot deck is based upon Stoker's novel), I decided to read the novel itself (my copy's cover is that shown).

Far be it from me to review "Dracula," much less approve of it, but wow -- it truly IS a masterpiece. On a scale of 1 to 5 stars it would rate 500. I'm halfway through the novel and will jot down my impressions of it so far.

First off, I'm amazed an Englishman of his day could write female characters (Mina and Lucy) so well. The ladies' diaries and letters sound so authentic, as if actually written by women of the time. All characters are likeable (except for the Count of course), and I've fallen in love with Jonathan Harker. ;-) A genuine Gothic atmosphere pervades the book, including fantasy-type imagery I wouldn't have thought possible for an author of the late 19th century.

At first I was skeptical the "diary/journal entries, letters, telegrams" style of the novel would work. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to imagine Mina or Dr. Seward not getting horrific writing cramps, but the style DOES work. The entire novel is written from a "collection" of each main character's 1st-person accounts and observations.

And it is precisely that which keeps this novel MOVING. It must have been considered a very fast-paced and exhilirating read in 1897 because it keeps this 21st century gal turning the pages. You know how old novels tend to be: It takes the author 10 pages to move characters from exiting the door to being down at lane's end picking daisies. :-P Yeah, I know life was slower then...but Stoker's novel is NOT like that. It keeps clipping right along.

Stoker was bold and daring. It paid off.

Will write 2nd and final review when I've completed this treasure.

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