When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries in his client’s castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing into questions of identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.
Initially I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. I knew the pace would be on the slower side, the language formal, and the writing dense in minute details being a classic novel but despite all that I was pretty immediately drawn in by the story and characters. I would not hesitate to describe myself as “fascinated” by large parts of the story. I listened to the first 12 of the 16 hour audiobook over just a few days and was ready to give this a four star review.
However, once the 75% mark is hit the book’s pace – already on the slower side – drops so significantly that it was difficult to bring myself to actually finish it. There are almost two full hours of the characters simply standing around waiting. By the time they finally have the ultimate confrontation with Dracula its over pretty much immediately and might be the most underwhelming conclusion to any book I’ve ever read.