Not the first vampire book, but probably the most famous. Bram Stoker’s classic has a lot to answer for when it comes to the modern blood sucker.
Solicitor (that’s lawyer for readers in the US) Jonathan Harker, travels to Transylvania to finalize conveyancing on kindly old Count Dracula’s new pad in England.
Little does young Jonny know that the Count is a Nosferatu, a blood drinking undead creature of the night. Dracula proceeds to wreck havoc in Harker’s hometown of Whitby, and even makes moves on Mina, Jonathan’s wife.
Can Jonathan, with the help of vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, stop the Count before he turns Mina into an undead monster?
For the month of October I’m going to feature reviews of some of my favourite horror novels, and I thought I’d start with fellow Irish author Bram Stoker’s most famous book.
I first read Dracula when I was 12, and I was already familiar with vampires and the Count. However, I immediately fell in love with the epistolary format of the novel, and Stoker’s descriptive writing helped up the realism of the situation for me.
This was the first vampire novel I read. At the time I associated vampires with losing your humanity through carnality, werewolves losing your humanity through wrath, and zombies represented the creeping inevitability of death.
Dracula reinforced my assumptions. The Count is powerful, seductive and charming. He uses others for his own needs, without any concern for them, and casts them aside when no longer useful. He especially enjoys destroying women in every way possible. He is the epitome of a bad relationship. He is a controlling and abusive murderer who couldn’t give two figs about consent.
Many people consider this novel romantic, and so do I. Mina and Jonathan’s relationship is wonderful. Mina fights hard against the Count who seeks to destroy her, body and soul. Like some kind of demonic STI, Dracula is turning her into a vamp against her will, and she fights him every step of the way. Beside her is her husband, Jonathan, who will do anything to save his beloved from a fate worse than death. The fact that he is indirectly responsible for her hardship is all the more heart wrenching.
I’ve read Stoker’s other novels and, while I enjoyed them, Dracula is undoubtedly his best. There is a good reason for it’s enduring popularity, and it’s huge influence on horror literature.
I award Dracula…