Book Reviews by NBPL Teens

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Review by Sarina

Post Date:07/26/2023 2:31 pm

 dracula book cover

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Vampires are one of the most common characters in pop culture productions (Twilight, Interview with a Vampire, and many more). The character who started the rise of this vampire movement was none other than the namesake of a counting vampire on Sesame Street: Dracula. Introduced in 1897 by Bram Stoker, this mysterious villain has had dozens of shows and movies inspired by him to this day (Universal Pictures released one based on this book this year: Reinfield!) In Stoker’s timeless classic, however, the titular character himself is not the main focus of the story.
Starting Dracula, I was excited to read about this “scary, haunting” character my family would prevent me from watching or reading about. When I finally was allowed to read the novel (I honestly had to, despite what my parents said; it was for my Language Arts and Literature class), I realized the expectations I had of the novel were much, much higher than what I thought it would be like; it was not as horrifying as I believed it would be, and I get scared easily. This novel, instead of focusing on Dracula himself as one might assume, focuses on the group of strangers-with-mutual-friends--turned-friends who set out to find and kill Dracula to prevent future problems he would cause. There is not one “main character.” Written in epistolary form (the story is told through letters, telegrams, and diary entries), the thoughts of each character are known.
It begins with Johnathan Harker, who is visiting Count Dracula’s mansion. Jonathan is an English solicitor (one who makes an effort to secure business contracts, advertising, etc.)  who has to discuss with Dracula his plans on moving to London. After a couple of nights, Jonathan realizes that the man he is working with might not be the man he thought he was: he discovers women are living in his house, eating the heads of young children brought to them by the house owner himself. Also, Dracula steals Johnathan’s belongings, destroys all of his mail, and makes no reflection in the mirror. After somehow escaping, Jonathan returns home, barely mentally sane, to his fiancee (and later wife) Mina Murray; she is preparing for a vacation with her best friend, Lucy Westerna. Little did they know that, when Johnathan escaped, Dracula also left his house and arrived in London; on Mina and Lucy’s vacation, Dracula came and bit Lucy on her neck. This caused severe blood loss to Lucy, who eventually died, became a vampire, and then had a stake driven through her heart to be completely dead (She also got possessed by Dracula). After these events, Johnathan, Mina, and the rest of their friends (a finely assembled team) vow to kill Dracula, who also possesses--but does not kill--Mina. Through several hardships and boat rides, they complete their goal.
Maybe my expectations were too high, but this book was not as great as I thought it would be. As I mentioned, the focus on the characters trying to defeat Dracula was very boring for me, but eventually, I accepted it. The story itself is very difficult to understand since the dialogue of the characters was occasionally vague and it was not clear what they were talking about (The final chapter ended very abruptly, which made it confusing). Regardless, I viewed it as a great book to cure boredom since I spent quite some time trying to figure out what happened, and once I understood it, it began to get slightly more interesting. I would rate this book a 6/10!


Check out Dracula from the Newport Beach Public Library ! 

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