Before we begin the actual review, I just have to get this off my chest: “Stoker? I hardly know ‘er!”
Thank you. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Tip your waitresses, you’ve been great.
Anyway. You know the story: Well-meaning dumbass Jonathan Harker is menaced by a mysterious Count Dracula, escapes, and returns to England, but Dracula follows him. What follows is much skulking about in the dark, and much threatening of the ladies in what I’m sure were some very titillating scenes for Victorian audiences (because we all know that vampirism=sex, what with all the biting of necks and the throbbing veins and the animal urges. unf.). Vampire is defeated by our plucky heroes, and the virtuous girl who did not succumb to the sexy vampire is saved, while the slutty girl dies, but that’s the lesson, Victorian ladies. Get married to respectable gentlemen and do not go for carriage rides unchaperoned, because you will die.
This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting – for instance, the whole novel consists of diary entries and letters written by the main characters, and no one even says the word “vampire” until page 165. And they’re talking about the bats.
It was genuinely creepy, but the towards the end of the book the pace suddenly overdosed on NyQuil and started riding a sloth towards the climax. Our merry gang of vampire hunters have figured out that Count Dracula is, in fact, a bloodsucker (took them long enough; I spent the first half of the book mentally screaming at the pages “He’s a fucking vampire! Vampire vampire vampire!”), and are traveling to Transylvania to go all Buffy on his undead ass. Great, but first we have to read pages and pages of “and then we made our travel arrangements,” “and then we bought lots of fur coats because it is cold out,” and “we were all super patronzing to Madam Mina, because in case you’ve forgotten she is a delicate flower and her weak lady-brain cannot handle the stress of this trip.”
Let me talk about Mina for a minute here: after finishing the book, I’m very, very tempted to write a Dracula fan fic entitled “Mina Harker: Vampire Hunter.” She will be super badass and wear lots of leather and kill tons of vampires (first on her list: Carlise Cullen), and I guess Jonathan can come too. I want to do this because, for the entire book, I kept waiting for Mina to unleash her inner awesome, because I knew it was there. She’s super smart – she’s the one who figures out how Dracula is getting back to his castle without being seen – and is actually really brave, no matter how often she says she was scared shitless by the various undead goings-on. And since she develops a psychic connection with Dracula towards the end of the book she’s a hell of a lot more useful than Jonathan’s whiny ass. She needed to leave him, and then run away with Van Helsing so they could fight vampires together. I would totally read that book.
Verdict: three out of five stars