Drrracullaa – The very name makes you cower in fear and raises goose bumps on your skin. And for good reason too, for Dracula is the scariest of the scary. But much before the movies and the TV adaptations, there was the written word. Published in 1897, Dracula by Bram Stoker continues to deliver power-packed horrors even today.
Stoker based this novel on Vlad Dracule, a fifteenth century Wallacian warrior prince who ruled in the areas of Hungary and Romania. The book is set in an epistolary nature (in fragmented extracts of journals and letters) possibly to show the different perspectives of the story and to add layers of narrative. The story starts with the journal of Jonathan Harker, who leaves his beloved fiancée Mina to travel to the remote lands of Transylvania to settle business for Count Dracula. Here, things are odd and out of place and soon Harker feels like a prisoner in the prison, even though the Dracula so eloquently tells him, “Welcome to my house! Come freely. Go safely. And leave something of the happiness you bring!” Harker questions why there are no mirrors in the house, why the Count does all the menial jobs, where does the Count disappear during the day and why are so many parts of the castle locked?
Soon, the Count’s intentions become clear, that he wants to build an army of vampires to take over the world. The implications of this are beyond terrible and appalling as it will reduce the human race to not but food for these powerful Vampire race. Van Helsing and his group, realising this, attempt to stop the Count. This is also a token of revenge for Dracula had taken the life of their dearest Lucy and has possessed Mina with a fever which leads her to be the communication portal for the Dracula.
The character of Dracula is chilling and crafted to perfection. The scenes with Dracula are amazing as they do manage to instil a deep fear in your heart, but the problem is that they are too few. Dracula’s terrifying nature is enough to keep you reading the book as he is exactly what you expect and so much more. Most of the book is filled with the protagonists mourning about their predicament. The best part of the book is undoubtedly Jonathan Harker’s journal (Chapters I – IV) where he is stuck as Dracula’s prisoner in his castle. The entire setting of the lonely castle tucked away on the mountains of Carpathian in gloomy Transylvania produces the most gothic effects and coupled with Stoker’s writing is an instant hit.
A lot of things remain unclear in this book, such as the origin of Dracula himself, the story of the enigmatic and mysterious “Dutchman” Van Helsing and so on, but this is the nature of epistolary writing. Due to the lack of a third person narrative, there is lack of clarity in some details that leave the readers guessing. More of involvement of Dracula as a central figure with direct interactions with the protagonists, rather than just a mere antagonist in the background would have really made the book a better read. The plot of the story is rather weak and it drops low during the middle and the ending. And of a novel with such a strong beginning, the ending doesn’t quite match up and turns out to be quite anti-climatic. Written during the late 1800s, this book depicts the true Victorian era and is shown in the flowery writing.
But of course, this book is classic and no adaptation can ever quite pay homage to it. This book can produce of a chilly effect, enough to freeze your saliva. Leaving the details aside, this book is quite a read and leaves you thirsting for me. If you are of the faint-hearted, do stay away.
Overall Rating: 7/10
If you find the book interesting, buy from Amazon or Flipkart here:
Chaarvi is a mixture of sugar, spice and everything nice, with just a hint of Chemical X. Or maybe more. Unsure of what to focus on, she has a foot in everything – be it music, movies or books. Or even fashion. Or cooking. Or politics. Or Economics. Well, you get the drift. She is a hater of chick lit and all the riff-raff that comes along with it. Spends too much time on the internet researching on things that will come handy nowhere in life. But in reality, she’s a ninja and you better know it.