‘I vant to suck your blood’ does not actually appear in the book Dracula by Bram Stoker. Sad, I know. But you guys, despite all my pop culture influenced ideas pertaining to Dracula, it was a pretty damn good classic vampire book. For real, this is the book that started it ALL. I bought my copy of the audiobook back in March, but decided to not listen to it until fall, because you know, HALLOWEEN and all. Apparently my timing is legit, because fall was the perfect time to listen to this all-star narrated audiobook.
Y’all, shit is about to hit the fan AND GET REAL with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Okay, so the book opens with Jonathan Harker who is a solicitor , right. Harker goes to Transylvania to negotiate the purchase of a house in London for his client, Count Dracula. As Harker doesn’t have Bram Stoker telling him what’s up, he doesn’t realize just how shady Dracula is before going to Transylvania. However, after a few nights in the count’s castle, Harker realizes that yes, Dracula is HELLA CREEP and he needs to get the F out of dodge. Jonathan BARELY escapes. Then, then, then, after a few chapters we are back in good old England where holy crap a fricken boat runs ashore with NO CREW. WHAT THE WHAT. Okay, so in jolly old England, Harker’s wife Mina is just hanging out with her best friend Lucy Wesenra when they find out that Dracula has been stalking them, and Lucy has these weird bite marks on her neck. THEN OMG insane asylum rambles and rallying the gang for a good old fashioned staking. You guys, can you tell that I am practically raising jazz hands in the air over this noise. It is so creepy, I LOVE IT.
As for the main players in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, there were some I liked more than others. For instance, I think that Jonathan Harker makes a passable opening main character. You can tell he is scared shitless at what’s going down in Dracula’s castle and I like that. I was incredibly partial to Mina Harker. Y’all, you’d think ladies of the very late 1800s would be weak and boring, but Mina comes out with guns blazing. She wants to help bring Dracula down by any means possible, plus she deeply loves Jonathan. I respect that, yo. THEN there is Van Helsing who is kind of a vampire expert, you might say he is a precursor to Buffy. I like him because he takes action, he knows that when there’s a vampire on the loose you don’t sit on your ass but get up, stake the bugger and stuff it’s mouth with garlic after chopping off the head. Who am I kidding? I LOVED Van Helsing too. Okay and I’d be remiss without mentioning Lucy Westenra who is Mina’s BFF and more with my image of late-1800s ladies. She’s weak and innocent and kind of boring and only turns interesting towards the end. Finally, John Seward, he’s this guy who runs the insane asylum, but he’s consumed with this patient who calls Dracula ‘master’. He’s the one who calls in Van Helsing. Frankly, with the exception of boring Lucy, I could dig the characters of this book.
Fans of epistolary novels rejoice! Bram Stoker’s vampire novel is told through letters and diary entries and various other ‘primary documents’. I have to say, the epistolary format really heightens the horror of the book. I think it’s because the characters start out in disbelief, much like the reader and then as the lurid tale continues they find out that, indeed, those scary events are happening for a reason. Plus, as a reader you can kind of piece it out as the characters piece it out and I think it just adds drama, in the best possible gripping sort of way. I thought Dracula was really accessible, the way that it is written. And honestly, I was expecting straight up prose, not letters and diaries, so it was much appreciated by this reader to get a little surprise when it came to writing.
By today’s gory standards, Dracula is probably not all that terrifying. However, that’s when you go in with a modern sensibility. If you go in like I did, relaxed and just letting the story take you where it will, you’ll find yourself freaked the hell out. Like, I remember starting it and being like, hey I’ve seen the Mel Brooks version of this, no need to be nervous. But then, we get Lucy walking around like a loon, ladies visiting in the night and GHOST SHIPS and shit if I didn’t gasp with alarm a few times.
What really cemented the experience of reading Dracula by Bram Stoker for me, was that I got to read it at a time and place of my choosing, I wasn’t required for school or anything. Plus, I listened to the full cast Audible audiobook edition. I’ve only listened to two full cast books, this one and Swordspoint. What I find is that I liked Dracula so much more than Swordspoint because it never felt gimmicky. There were no trashy sound effects. It was just each character narrator with the documents. I wasn’t jarred by the transition of the voices from document to document. Plus, the full cast is VERY competent. The narrators consist of: Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossly, Simon Prebble and James Adams. Y’all, these narrators totally know what they are doing and kept me utterly engaged and not bored during this classic. Dracula by Bram Stoker is 15 hours and 28 minutes on audiobook, but it just zooms by.
Disclosure: Purchased copy.
Other reviews of Dracula by Bram Stoker:
Capricious Reader – “That first section of the book was enough to hook ME, it should be enough to hook YOU.”
Chrisbookarama – “Dracula is over the top melodrama with the gasping and the swooning”
Literate Housewife – “the true stars of this audiobook are Simon Vance and Katherine Kellgren”