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Dracula – Review

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Dracula

Published: 1897
Pages: ~326
Completed: Yes
Enjoyed: Kinda

Seriousness: Deadly
Genre: Gothic horror
Difficulty: Difficult – some minor characters have thick accents (fortunately Van Helsing is written in plain english but with unusual grammar/word choices; a much better way of indicating an accent), slow-moving plot, very emotionally fraught
Rating: M – Nothing graphic, but nastiness happens. Also, it’s drawn-out nature would probably make it uninteresting to anyone who couldn’t relate to the emotions of the characters. (Then again, there are abridged versions designed for kids, so what do I know?)

Recommend: If you like that sort of thing. I appreciated the scenery, but didn’t enjoy the journey.

Up next … Heart of Darkness. Which I (currently) know very little about (other than that it’s by Joseph Conrad).

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Posted by on July 3, 2010 in Dracula, Review

 

Don’t Be An Idiot

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Dracula is nearly finished, but it’s raised a point that annoys me (and probably annoys a lot of other people, too); the characters are idiots. You see this rather too often in stories – it’s that point when the reader feels like yelling “Oh come on! It’s … ! Can’t you see that? You idiot(s)!” It’s the point where, in order for the plot to progress, one or more characters has to behave stupidly.

Actually, it’s not necessarily behaving stupidly – it’s behaving out of character. It’s less annoying if the character has previously been established to be not too fast on the uptake.

Case in point, a group of characters has assembled and made it their mission to hunt down and rid the world of Count Dracula (Once and for all!), they’ve spent time going over the information they have about him; where his hideouts are, what his powers are, what his weaknesses are, etc. They’ve got vampires on the brain. And yet, this group of intelligent people (including Professor Van Helsing, world-renowned vampire expert!) come to stupid conclusions like “Huh, there’s a bat on the windowsill during out meeting. Wierd.”, and “Mina’s looking pale, is very tired, and talks about bad dreams involving mysterious mists drifting into her room and red eyes watching her. She must be overtired, poor thing.”

Never mind, I’ll be on to the next book soon…

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2010 in Dracula

 

Tough vampire

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It’s nice to have a weekend off and be able to relax and catch up on some reading. I am finding Dracula hard going, though. Generally, I read fiction for entertainment – the traditional “relax and be transported to another world” type of thing. For this to work, however, the “other world” must be a place that you want to go to.

Dracula’s is not.

Sure, it’s very well written, the characters have distinct and meaningful voices, there is the feeling of wanting to know what happens next… but it’s not fun. The book drips with an undercurrent of menace; threat; ‘orrible fings inna darkness. It’s tiring to read (and not in a “I can’t sleep – I know, I’ll read my Stats textbook” way).

My conclusion is that I don’t really like the horror genre, or at least that I have to be in the right mindset to deal with it. Dracula isn’t actually very gory – a lot of nastiness happens “off-camera”, as it were, but you know it’s going on. The characters are progressively worried, anxious, fearful, terrified. As someone who tends to be affected by the mood of the environment I’m in, this can be rather unpleasant.

Lest I give the wrong impression, I should point out that I am not giving up. I’m just thinking “aloud” to help myself understand why I’m not finding the book engrossing.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2010 in Dracula