Dracula by Bram Stoker

Following the journey of Jonathan Harker, a solicitor from London, who embarks on a visit to Castle Dracula to finalise the purchase of a property in London.  During his stay, Harker encounters many strange and unexplainable events and fights for his very existence to escape.

Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray have been best friends for a long time. Mina is engaged to Jonathan Harker, whilst Lucy receives three engagement proposals from three friends, Dr. John Seward, Quincey Morris and Arthur Holmwood, but it is only Arthur who Lucy loves. 

Strange occurrences happen when the two girls are holidaying in Whitby and Lucy seems to descend into a trance and sleepwalk.  Upon returning to London she seems quite well until the sleepwalking begins again.  Dr. Seward enlists the help of his former tutor, Professor Van Helsing.

This story is written from the diary entries and journal notes of Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker, Dr. John Seward and Lucy Westenra.  Put together in near chronological order they explain the peculiar behave and eventual discovery of Count Dracula and Vampires.

 

REVIEW

Gripping from beginning to end.

I have long since had a fascination with vampires. I’m not ashamed to say that Buffy, The Vampire Slayer was on of my favourite shows.  I have watched many films  around the concept of vampires – Interview with a vampire, Blade,From Dusk til Dawn,Van Helsing, Dracula, and for my sins, Twilight (I know that I shouldn’t judge a book by its film but do not get me started on that one). I am very old school in my thinking of the undead – stake through the heart, sunlight, garlic, no reflection or shadow, turning to bats, controlling the will of the weak. This story encompasses it all. The way it is written brings a certain excitement to an already exciting story.  The thoughts and views of the key characters are produced within their writings and this brings forth a connection to each that would probably not exist if the story was written in a contemporary manner.

Having never read this book before I can honestly say that I wish I had read it years ago, but then I may not have appreciated it as much then as I do now. Definitely a classic within its own right and, in my opinion, a must-read.

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Victor Frankenstein is a young and brilliant scientist who, through curiosity and a desire to investigate, created a being from dead body parts and brought it to life through the power of electricity.  Fleeing the sight of horror before him, Frankenstein committed his creation to a life of solitude. The once gentle and innocent creature turned vengeful against Frankenstein and plagued his life with death and misery. Upon his attempt to capture the ‘monster’, Frankenstein met an explorer, Robert Walton, whom he relayed his entire story to.  This book is the narrative as told by Frankenstein and relayed by Walton to his sister.

 

REVIEW

There is a reason this book is a classic. Written by, the then 18 year old, Mary Shelley in 1817 (published in 1818) it has raised many a debate about the advancements of science. Whilst reading the story I was completely lost in the narrative and found myself sympathising with the creature who had not asked for life but had it thrust upon him, only to be turned away, with looks of horror, from all civilization he encountered.  When his request for companionship is denied it then brought forward even more questions to my mind – was Frankenstein right in his decision?   I wonder if Mary Shelley had any idea at the time of writing this that it would become such an iconic piece of literature.  There is so much I want to say in this review but I really don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who has not read it.

No matter what your reading preference I would highly recommend this book.  The language used, even though it has obviously been updated since originally published, has kept to the era as much as possible, which to me lends to the beauty of the story.  The descriptive narrative is rarely found these days where everything has to be fast-paced for fear that the reader will be bored.  Take time to read this. Lose yourself in the wonders of the world as it was when Frankenstein and his companion traveled from country to country in a time that we cannot relate to.  And always, as I was reading, was in the back of my mind…an 18 year old girl, in a time of men, wrote this wonderful story.