Review by Mr Parker – Media Technician
Forget Twilight. Forget Queen of the Damned or Blade; Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ is still the best of the bunch.
Written in 1897, Dracula tells the tale of the titular vampire’s journey from his eerie castle in Romania to his new hunting ground in England, aided unwittingly by English solicitor Jonathan Harker. When Dracula arrives on the Yorkshire coast, Jonathan’s wife Mina and her best friend Lucy begin falling victim to strange occurrences in the dead of night, resulting in peculiar bite marks on Lucy’s neck. Once the wound is brought to the attention of doctor Van Helsing, the measure of what’s at stake becomes clear.
The first thing that struck me about the book is the way in which it is written. The story is told through a fictitious compilation of diary entries, newspaper clippings and correspondences between the book’s central characters. Bram Stoker uses this narrative technique to great effect, in order to build tension.
For example, the local newspapers of Whitby report on a spectacular storm hitting the shore, which just happens to coincide with the arrival of a strange European sailing ship – the crew of which has mysteriously vanished. In the next chapter, Stoker gives us the captain’s log, which goes into more detail about the terrible events that plagued the ship’s voyage. The entire book is written in this fashion, and so it’s almost as if the reader has to piece together the narrative themselves, rather than being ‘told’ the story by the author.
Interestingly, despite the book’s multiple viewpoints, the central character is arguably that of Mina, who is probably the person I and many readers would empathise with the most. She is the voice I reason among her warm-blooded male counterparts, and it is Mina that ultimately proves to be the key to Dracula’s down fall.
All-in-all the book is a gripping read, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested Victorian literature, mystery thrillers and, of course, vampires!