I always feel slightly less than adequate when I come across readers who have read so much more widely than I have done. Others have read far more classic fiction where I have read a large amount of pap. Others seem far more in tune with ALL the latest trends. With this in mind, I am now trying to play a bit of “catch up”.
Dracula came to me as a “free” book. I paid nothing as I read it on the Kindle device and it was available as a free book. I was not prepared for the fact that it is a very substantial book and this became apparent when I realised that it took me weeks to finish it.
What I had not previously appreciated was the source of all the vampire lore we take for granted in our popular culture. Here lies all the answers in one book and everything else “vampire” related would therefore seem highly derivative. It is for this reason I shall avoid the teen-aimed “Twiglet saga”. For a start it is not my age group and otherwise I would not see a benefit in the marriage of sickly romance and horror. However, I do see that J K Rowling took many elements and motifs and wove them into her Harry Potter series. I do feel that in her case they were developed rather than used and this, I would suggest, is very different to writing mere “vampire fiction”.
Dracula is original and it reads in a very fresh way. The structure is epistollary and this gives a way to view the story from several viewpoints. I can only imagine that this book was highly unusual when it was originally published as we also find female characters who are exceedingly well drawn and critical to the plot development. I do think it pays to pay attention to the dates in the diaries as these do matter to be able to see where and when you are in the story.
It is also refreshing to read a book which was never written as a possible “film option” and this means that the story stands up for itself. This book is a long read but that only serves to enhance the tension which builds gradually. If you like a quick pay-off then this is not for you. The whole book carries a sense of foreboding for the very first page as we meet Johnathan Harker on his trip to Transylvania.