Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker

   I have never been much of a horror fan. I was one of those kids with an overactive imagination, which caused me to imagine enough horrors lurking in the shadows so I didn't have to have others imagine them for me. Maybe that's part of the curse of being a writer. Whatever the reason, I avoided the horror genre like a plague. Now, as I get older, I've dipped my toes in the water, so to speak.
   A few years ago, I read Frankenstein in a British Literature class, so when I saw it at a book sale my family picked it up so my siblings could read it when they take the class. The version that I saw of Frankenstein had a pairing with Dracula, which gave me the excuse to read it. Interestingly, I had listened to a podcast on monsters around the same time and heard various reviews of the book. From the glowing reviews and the not so entertaining reviews, I was dreading and looking forward to Dracula. Afterwards, I feel somewhat the same, though far more skewed to one side than the other.
   The story itself is fairly simple: a solicitor from England travels to Transylvania to help a Count with a property he bought. Upon arrival there, he discovers the Count is more than he appears and finds himself in a race against time to stop the Count from spreading his nefarious ways to England.
   If you've heard the name Dracula at all, you probably know he is a vampire. As such, this book presents several fascinating ideas about the correlations between blood and life. A theme I found fascinating was the correlation between Dracula's bringing life through the offering of blood and the Eucharist. Dracula's blood brings earthly life, but results in spiritual death. Christ blood, on the other hand, usually causes Christians to risk their lives because they know that spiritual life, or eternal life, awaits them.
   What did I think of this book overall? I found it a bit slow in the middle, but it grabbed my attention at the beginning and end. The end itself, once the final showdown is revealed, is a page-turning read. However, the ideas the book presents, and the storytelling, (along with the fact that the book is a classic) are good enough reasons to read it.

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