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review 2019-09-02 06:08
Bram Stoker's Dracula: A Choose Your Path Book by Ryan Jacobson
Bram Stoker's Dracula (Can You Survive?) - Ryan Jacobson,Elizabeth Hurley

An entertaining variation on a favourite classic.  This is a very nicely written Choose Your Own Adventure/Path adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula novel, which closely follows (more or less) the original story.  There are many bad endings and only one successful path to the end of the novel. A fun read.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-29 06:29
Dracula: The Original Flavor
Dracula - Bram Stoker

The last time I read Dracula, I was probably 16 or 17, and what I remembered most fondly was that it was eminently readable. Most 19th-century literature has all kinds of tortured text that makes high school students balk, but this one breezed by. In the ensuing years, I grew up, had kids, wrote a vampire novel of my own, and now it's time to ask, "does it hold up?"

 

Yeah. Pretty much.

 

Dracula is an essential part of horror literature, sure, but in our times of four-color cinema it is hard not to also acknowledge him as one of the first supervillains. The Count has been portrayed literally hundreds of times in adaptations of this work, and it is fascinating to see the original details that don't always make the cut.

 

The Count begins the story with no servants, since he must feed nearly every night, and word has gotten around Transylvania not to go near his castle. His imprisonment of Jonathan Harker is well-thought-out, as he forces Harker to sign letters saying all is well and sends them at later dates to keep up the fiction that Harker will return home. Dracula's sailing trip on the Demeter is less well-planned. The suspense there is all well and good, but feeding on the skeleton crew makes it surprising that he ever made it to England in the first place.

 

When Dr. Van Helsing is brought in from the Netherlands, he is not yet the hardened vampire hunter portrayed in many adaptations. He is unsure of his diagnosis of Lucy's problems, and neglects to tell her family not to remove the garlic flowers that are "part of her cure." He also makes a rather critical mistake some fellow readers have identified as a plot hole -- when he knows a vampire is in the neighborhood and has already struck Lucy, he and the boys leave Mina alone at night. I think there are a few spots where his Dutch accent comes and goes, but it may be because journals from other points of view don't record his accent and we only get the full effect in chapters that are supposed to be his journal.

 

Mina Murray is not exactly a modern heroine who doesn't need rescuing, but she's not a cipher of a character, either. Could she have been more? Certainly, but she's not bad as is. Her revulsion at being bitten and spiritual horror at the Eucharist burning her makes for a powerful scene. The disgust leads her to take charge and propose the hypnotism sessions that are instrumental to the plot in the second half of the book. I had never made the connection before this reread, but Harry Potter's Occlumency sessions may owe a debt to Mina and Dracula.

 

And unlike modern supervillains who rely on action-movie climaxes, Dracula is straight-up sensible. When he knows he's got a few hunters after him, he knows he's helpless during the day. So he flees London to go home and try again in another century because he's got time on his side. He's at least as much prey as he is predator, which is kind of a refreshing change.

 

The book is not without its cheese, of course. In the final few pages, one of the protagonists dies heroically, and then two characters name their baby after him. Today, that's the tropiest trope that ever did trope (see Star Wars expanded universe, Potter, the works), but now it's got me curious to see if that was Stoker's invention or whether it was common practice as far back as the penny dreadfuls. There's also bits of social commentary through cynical working-class cemetery custodians and Mina waxing poetic about "the wonderful power of money," which I find hilarious. (Apparently even before Batman and Zorro, authors knew you can't hunt a supervillain without some cash in the bank.)

 

All told, Dracula is quite an enjoyable read, some 120 years after its first print run. I wouldn't go so far as to call it immortal, but it sure isn't dead yet.

Source: www.amazon.com/Dracula-Bram-Stoker/dp/1503261387/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1540794068&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=dracula&psc=1
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review 2018-10-21 22:17
The Lair of the White Worm
The Lair of the White Worm - Bram Stoker

I usually avoid abridged books like the plague, but I think I nonetheless ended up with an abridged version of Lair of the White Worm. Which is unfortunate. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell whether this story would be made better or worse by expounding upon it.

 

It starts with long-lost relatives meeting, then moves on to men talking of local legends, men talking during walks, men talking in studies, men talking at breakfast, chapter after chapter of men talking. Also featured are misadventures with snakes and women and mongooses, fatal staring contests in proper English sitting rooms, a horribly racist caricature of a black man, one man’s obsession with his giant bird-shaped kite, and other such WTFery. Soooo much WTFery. Apparently Stoker was terribly ill when he wrote it. And terribly racist. And terribly misogynistic. Maybe just plain terrible.

 

I thought Dracula was so good that I’d try more of Stoker’s work.

 

I should have stopped at Dracula.

 

OMG, I should have stopped.

 

I read this for the Halloween Bingo 2018 Genre: Horror square, and boy was it ever horrifying, though not in the way Stoker intended.

 

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review 2018-09-23 20:34
(Audiobook) Dracula - BBC Radio Dramatization
Dracula - Bram Stoker,Tom Hiddleston,David Suchet

As I mentioned in a previous update, this is an adaptation of Dracula that is much changed and much whittled down. The very bare bones of the original story are still here, but a lot is left out.

 

That being said, it's still an enjoyable listen, and the cast all give excellent performances.

 

However, if you're a Dracula purist, you might want to pass this one by.

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review 2018-09-22 18:20
Count Dracula
Dracula - Bram Stoker

So there's a reason why Dracula is a classic horror story. Stoker created the vampire that is still a thing in 2018. Why do writers come back again and again to the tale of a creature that was all about murder and mayhem?I tend to love Stoker's look at Dracula and vampires the most. I always side eyed writers that made vampires poor tortured and sad and alone. Stoker's first look at Count Dracula shows us a cunning character who is focused on wrecking Johnathan Harker's life and those connected to him.

 

"Dracula" focuses on Count Dracula who travels from Transylvania to England (London specifically) in order to spread more vampires. Fighting against him is Johnathan Harker, his new wife, Mina along with friends of the couple (Doctor John Seward, Quincey Morris, and Arthur Holmwood). The latter group also comes across a vampire slayer (whatever, that is what I am calling him) Abraham Van Helsing. 

 

I think the saddest character in this is Lucy. She's best friends with Mina and has attracted many marriage proposals. When she finally agrees to marry Arthur, it would be seem that her life is perfect. However, she seems to be growing weaker and weaker and is sleepwalking. John calls in Van Helsing who suspects what is going on, but doesn't inform all parties. The end of Lucy always made me feel bad.


We also have the character of Renfield who is creepy as all get out. Reading about him collecting bugs, spiders, sparrows, and wanting a kitten or cat and finding out what he was eating and feeding to other animals was a bit much for me. 

 

The book cuts things up by showing us the journal or diary entries from many of the characters. I can't really argue against this style of story-telling. It allows us into the characters heads. I do wish at times that we could have gotten more dialogue between characters though. Sometimes it just reads as flat sometimes. The flow was up and down. I think switching between characters/entries takes you out of the story at times. 

 

I do wish that more movies/tv shows had been more faithful with the original work since you do get a sense of the camaraderie that has developed by all parties in order to stop Dracula especially when he ends up cursing Mina with vampirism. 

 

The ending shows what happens after they all confronted Dracula which I liked. 

 

 

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