"Books I Should Have Read By Now" Challenge

Monday, June 20, 2011 5:57 PM Posted by Savanah Jeanne

I joined a challenge hosted by Gabriel Reads. (<--Click ME for more info) Please join in! This is healthy even for me, the classic lover.


This is the only book I've ever read (all the way through) that had vampires in it.  No.  I'm not joking.  I think I picked up Twilight once and then after about the fifth chapter wanted to burn it. But I couldn't because I borrowed it from the school. :] This isn't to say that I don't like the post those of you make about the various different vampire themed books you've read, I like to hear all sides of the story. But for myself and I, I can't say I'm a huge fan (specifically of anything Twilight).

Why would you even attempt to read Dracula, you say? Well, I guess because it's one of the few classics I haven't read yet and because the story of Dracula went farther back into history than any normal novel could.

Meet the origional Dracula:

This is Vladislavs Dracvla...or Vlad III for short.

Nastiest man I've ever heard of. Not even Hitler was this crazy.  Seriously guys, his nickname was Vlad the Impaler...this dude is a perfect fit for the bloodsucking king.  I've been trying to find the best possible place that explains his history the way I studied it (darn me for never thinking to ask mom to keep all the textbooks).  The closest I've found is actually from another blog called Vlad Dracula - The Truth (<--Click Me). Basicaly, Vlad III was a nasty man.  He was big on killing those whom displeased him in very unique ways and scaring those he didn't wish to see in even more unique ways.  I guess that's why I was so interested; I liked the idea of a Horror/Mystery being made based off of an actual historical character.  I just thought that was so cool.  So anyway, at the time of reading this novel I really wanted to watch the movie.  My parents were not so up for that after the started watching a couple versions.  And I can understand why:

I mean common'!! ^^Who wouldn't be terrified of that ^^

Except the Sesame Street Count. He's just plain awesome :]  And no.  I still haven't seen any version. I really have lost the want to.  After the book...oh gosh...I'll need a break for about another year or so.  I was reading this book in bed, at night.  Not a good time to read this book.  Here's the short summery for those of you who haven't read or do not know the story well yet:

Sometime in the late nineteenth century, Jonathan Harker, a young English lawyer, is traveling to the Castle Dracula, which is located in Transylvania, in order to finalize a transfer of real estate in England to Count Dracula. Harker becomes extremely nervous when all of the local peasants react in fear after they hear of his destination; nevertheless, he continues on to the castle until he meets an emissary of the Count in the Borgo Pass. The mysterious coach driver continues on to the castle, arriving in pitch darkness, to the accompaniment of howling wolves.
Even though his accomodations are comfortable, Harker finds Count Dracula to be a pale, gaunt, thin man, rather strange, and Harker is mortified when, after accidentally cutting himself shaving, the Count lunges at Harker's throat in "demoniac fury." Harker soon finds himself imprisoned within the castle and assailed by three seductive female vampires, whom he can barely stave off. Harker also discovers the Count's secret — that is, the Count survives by drinking the blood of human beings — and, now, he is intent on killing Harker. The Count escapes Jonathan's attempt to kill him, and he swiftly leaves the castle with fifty boxes of earth, bound for England. The last we hear of Jonathan Harker, he is weak and sick, left alone with no visible means of escape from the castle.
The novel then shifts to England, where Harker's fiancée, Mina Murray, is visiting her friend Lucy Westenra, who has accepted the marriage proposal of Arthur Holmwood, while rejecting the proposals of Dr. John Seward, head of a lunatic asylum, and Quincey Morris, an American from Texas, currently visiting Holmwood. Mina's two main concerns are that Lucy has taken up her old habit of sleepwalking, and that it is a long time since she has heard from her own fiancé, Jonathan.
One night while the two women are out walking, they witness the approach of a strange ship. When the ship is wrecked on the beach, the only creature which survives is a huge dog, which quickly disappears. We soon discover that the wrecked ship is carrying fifty boxes of earth from the Castle Dracula.
Soon after the shipwreck, late one night, Mina discovers that Lucy is sleepwalking again. In her search, Mina discovers Lucy on the ladies' favorite seat, near the graveyard overlooking the town. Mina is shocked to see hovering over Lucy a tall, thin, black shape, but when she arrives at Lucy's side the shape has disappeared. When awakened, Lucy remembers nothing of what has happened, except that she is chilled. In wrapping Lucy against the cold, Mina assumes that she inadvertently pricked Lucy with a pin, for she sees two tiny red marks on Lucy's neck. On later, successive nights, Lucy is often found standing at the women's bedroom window; next to her is a creature which appears to be a large bird, but it is, in fact, a bat. Lucy's health declines over the next few weeks, and because of this Mina refuses to tell Lucy about Lucy's mother's sickness. Meanwhile, Dr. Seward, Lucy's former suitor, is unable to ascertain the cause of Lucy's decline.
Soon, Mina hears from Jonathan, and so she leaves Lucy and goes to nurse him. Almost immediately, Lucy's condition deteriorates, and Dr. Seward finds it necessary to wire for his old friend and mentor, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, who offers another medical opinion. Van Helsing is particularly disturbed by the two tiny spots on Lucy's throat and her apparent but unexplainable loss of blood since there are no signs of hemorrhage.
It becomes necessary to give Lucy numerous blood transfusions, and after each one she improves significantly, only to deteriorate quickly in the next couple of days. Van Helsing finally deems it necessary to drape Lucy's room, as well as her neck, with garlic, a technique, we learn later, which is used to ward off vampires. Eventually, however, the vampire manages to evade the spells against him, and he attacks Lucy again. One significant night, an escaped wolf is used to smash the window of Lucy's room. The wolf's attack so frightens Lucy's mother that she dies of shock, and Lucy, left helpless, is again attacked by the vampire.
Van Helsing, knowing that Lucy is near death, summons her fiancé, Arthur Holmwood, to her side. Holmwood himself comes from the deathbed of his father. As Holmwood bends to kiss Lucy goodbye, Lucy, whose canine teeth have become strangely lengthened, attempts to attack Arthur. As Van Helsing throws Arthur back from her, Lucy dies.
After Lucy's death, the papers report the strange appearance of a person whom the village children label as "the Bloofer Lady," a creature who has been attacking young children in the area. Van Helsing, shaken by the reports, summons Dr. Seward to attend him in an examination of Lucy's coffin. After Seward's initial shock, he agrees, albeit with reservations, to open Lucy's coffin.
In the meantime, Mina and Jonathan have been married, and they return to England. Mina has transcribed Jonathan's diary of his journey in Transylvania, and soon afterward Van Helsing reads it. Van Helsing then calls all of Lucy's ex-suitors together, and he explains to them his belief that Lucy has been bitten by a vampire and has become one herself. The only way to save her soul, he says, is to drive a wooden stake through her heart, cut off her head and stuff it with garlic. Eventually Van Helsing convinces them of the truth of his claims, and the "service" is performed on Lucy.
Now the protagonists begin a search for the Count and also for the fifty boxes of earth which he brought with him to England; these six people — Jonathan, Mina, Dr. Seward, Van Helsing, Holmwood, and Quincey Morris — vow to confront the vampire. Soon after the search begins, Van Helsing realizes that a dreadful change is taking place in Mina. One horrific night, Van Helsing and Seward break into Mina's room, find Jonathan unconscious, and Mina being forced to suck blood from a deep slash across Dracula's chest. In a twinkling, Dracula disappears.
They finally discover and destroy all of the fifty boxes except one, which they learn has been sent by ship back to Dracula's castle. Using various methods, including the hypnosis of Mina, they follow Dracula all the way to the Borgo Pass in Transylvania, where they find the last remaining box being transported to Castle Dracula by a group of gypsies. They overcome the gypsies, throw the box to the ground, tear open its lid, and discover the body of the Count. With a huge thrust, Jonathan cuts off the vampire's head, while Morris drives his knife into the Count's heart. The Count himself crumbles into dust, and Quincey Morris, having been wounded by the gypsies in an attempt to retrieve the box, dies of a mortal wound, and so the novel ends.

-Cliff Note (Duh)

The scariest part of the whole book, for me, was probably when everyone found out that Mina was turning into a vampire.  Everyone found out because the caught Dracula feeding her his own blood.  I seriously wasn't to barf at this point, and then cry and I probably winced and shook my head around this time as well.  :]  It was sort of a big deal for me.  I liked Mina.  Otherwise, the whole novel felt more like a scary mystery than a horror.  Not because it had a who-done-it feel, but because everyone was trying to figure out how he did it so they could stop him.  I like the almost, puzzle like mentality I had to have to try and figure it out.  And this will probably be the only "vampire" themed novel I will ever give five stars to.  In the end good vanquishes evil.  And that truly is why I love it so much. 

12 Response to ""Books I Should Have Read By Now" Challenge"

  1. Karen Says:

    I've read my fair share of vampire books and Dracula will always be my favourite. I don't remember finding it scary but I did like the atmosphere. I know a lot of my friends were put off by the diary excerpts but I actually loved those parts too. I'm actually reading Anno Dracula just now which occurs after Bram Stoker's Dracula.

  2. Nonners Says:

    Oh, awesome. Maybe I'll just add that to my TBR list.

  3. Charity U Says:

    I've never read any vampire books, actually...no desire to. Agreed about Twilight. Hate it. Never watched or read any, but I've heard enough. :P Oh, watched a pre-view one time...Yuck.

  4. Nonners Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if it's okay to judge a book by what everyone else says. So I read the first book in the series. I hated it because the writer 1) Made the obvious evil guy look like the good guy, 2) Hurried through a romance that just was so sappy and fake it made me want to tear up the book and 3)it was just so inappropriate. There's a blog that I really like to read and the person who writes it put the whole thing down really well. It's like someone said "I'm just going to put some story down and call it a book". Like she put no effort into it. I liked Dracula because it was written well, and there was no sexuality in it despite what people may turn it all into. It was meant to be a horror story and it was. A good one too because good still vanquished evil :] And that always makes for a good book.

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