by Bram Stoker
I have to wonder why I waited so long to read this Classic. It is wonderfully atmospheric and though in the form of journal entries, the story flows smoothly and lyrically and completely drew me in so much that I was seeking out other Bram Stoker writings by the time I got 4% in.
The plot is a well known one. Jonathan Harker is summoned to Castle Dracula to assist Count Dracula's intention to move to England. Along the way he meets several superstitious East Europeans who fear for him and speak of evil at the castle. By the time he arrives, he is already on edge. However, he is met by a most gracious host, and treated to the best of everything for his stay. This soon begins to take a sinister turn and Harker flees the castle to return home to England, but Dracula has what he needs to follow him there.
I loved the writing for the most part. The one exception is in some of Mina's entries where she is quoting characters with Northern accents. I've lived in Yorkshire and can understand the accents easily in real life, but in writing it doesn't come over well and I actually had to skim some of the dialogue without ever working out what they were saying.
On the plus side, each character had their own unique voice. Mina's entries are very different from Jonathan's and when other characters added to the narrative, they also had individual voices that fit their roles.
I've seen several movie versions of this story, but reading the original has given me a kind of pleasure I find difficult to describe. It's like I finally have the whole story for the first time and again, the writing is what has made this a Classic. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys classic fiction or scary vampire stories. It sets the bar for everything in the genre that comes after, apart from the ending which I thought was a little weak and rushed. I had expected a little more drama in the conclusion, probably because of movies that have raised expectations.