Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reflections: Dracula

Adam C. Zern opines on Bram Stoker's Dracula:

"Reading Dracula was similar to reading Frankenstein.  An iconic character like Dracula, just like Frankenstein, has been iterated upon again, and again, and again.  Through all those versions and variations there will inevitably be some missteps and mistakes made by storytellers trying to meld their creativity with Bram Stoker's.  Reading Dracula proves once again that sometimes the source material, the original, is superior to everything that has been built on top of it, and it also proves why so many storytellers have tried to grapple with Dracula and make him their own.  Dracula is an excellent book.

Dracula is a lot of things.  It's a mystery, thriller, horror, and romance novel.  It has elements of a multitude of genres and it does it all so very well.  The feeling of tension created by Stoker's shifting narrative made me on multiple occasions gasp out loud as the tension reached its peak.  I knew bad things were going to happen to certain characters, and I really, really didn't want it to.  Yet, when they did happen it always felt surprising and, at times, sickening.  And therein lays the brilliance of Stoker's story—characters.  I cared about them, felt for them, and hoped for them.  Dracula, as a character, is surprisingly absent through most of the story.  (Albeit, his presence is felt throughout the entirety of the book).  The real beating heart of Dracula are the characters affected by the menace surrounding and caused by him.

Frankly, I felt Dracula was as flawless as a book could get until the ending.  There is a devilishly tense chase as Dracula attempts to flee London and return to his prison-castle in Transylvania, and, as a reader, you would reasonably expect a momentous pay-off.  Sadly, it doesn't really happen.  Yes, there is a conclusion; however, after all that the characters have endured, the story would have benefited from a more memorable closure. 

Dracula is a fantastic book.  It is without hesitation one of the best books I have read this year.  Its writing is brilliant; its story is compelling; its characters are unforgettable; it's another reason why I read books.  (It also has one of the most memorable moments I have ever come across in any book—poor, poor Miss Lucy).  Sometimes the original is just better in every way; Dracula proves the point."

Other Topics of Interest:
Reflections: The Beetle
Reflections: Frankenstein's Monster
Reflections: Paradise Lost

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