As far as I’m concerned Halloween starts September 1st! I decided to kick off this year’s spooky season by reading several classic vampire novels, starting with Dracula!
From Count Dracula crawling down castle walls to climbing the 199 steps up to Whitby Abbey, Dracula is a dark and terrifying story from start to finish. Despite being over 200 years old, it definitely holds up as a must read for lovers of horror and the macabre.
“Never did tombs look so ghastly white. Never did cypress, or yew, or juniper so seem the embodiment of funeral gloom. Never did tree or grass wave or rustle so ominously. Never did bough creak so mysteriously, and never did the far-away howling of dogs send such a woeful presage through the night.”
I love that the narrative is told through letters and journal entries. It gave it a much more personal feel, as if the reader is within the story themselves. The pacing is actually quite slow, which usually I’m not that big a fan of. But here it definitely aids the story and allows the reader to properly linger on the implications of Van Hellsing’s discovering’s, or Harker’s realisation of the Counts true nature.
The writing in this novel really displays Stoker’s ability to create atmosphere. Throughout there are so many moments that were so eerie I got actually chills. Much like the fog around the Borgo Pass, the weight of the horrors which befall the characters during Count Dracula’s visits to Lucy, or John Seward witnessing the madness of Renfield; is incredibly unsettling.
“If we find out the Mina must be a vampire in the end, then she shall not go into the unknown and terrible land alone. I suppose it is thus that in old times one vampire meant many; just as their hideous bodies could only rest in sacred earth, so the holiest love was the recruiting sergeant of their ghastly ranks.”
Most readers and even adaptations of this classic horror tale tend to focus on Jonathan Harker’s visit to the Count’s Transylvanian home. My favourite parts were more the later chapters and the relationships between Mina, Lucy and the men which accompanied them. All of the relationships and friendships are fully fleshed out and I enjoyed how they developed and even aided in the character’s motivations to risk it all to defeat the Count in the end.
“Nay,” she said holing up a warning hand. “I am deeper in death at this moment than if the weight of an earthy grave lay heavy upon me.”
I don’t want to go into much more detail as most people are already very familiar with Dracula‘s premise, but I recommend reading it if you haven’t already.
Available formats: Paperback, Hardback, e-Book and audiobook.