Obviously, this is a classic that will never die (sorry, couldn't resist) and who am I to criticise? So instead I think I will break this review into three categories: difficulties I had with the book; reactions I had to the book; and interesting tidbits.
Difficulties: The biggest difficulty I had was with the language. It was lyrical and descriptive until either Van Helsing or a lower class Englishman was talking. At those times the content became difficult to follow. Van Helsing's musings were written to impart to the reader a Dutch accent. With the language already being a little tricky, I really had to ponder and re-read to get some of what Van Helsing was trying to say. It was infinitely worse when trying to decipher the meaning of the lower class. Their input was written phonetically and in the slang of the time. Occasionally I just skipped over trying to figure it out. Luckily Van Helsing got easier to figure out as the story progressed and there wasn't a lot of the other.
Interesting Tid Bits: Until I began reading the book, I didn't realize it was written as a series of journal entries and letters. There is no direct storytelling per se, just recollections the characters wrote in journals or to each other. Dracula himself is actually almost a supporting roll with the primary focus being on the reactions of those that interact with him in some way. Also interesting was the use of the terms 'UnDead' and 'if looks could kill'. Both of these were used, in the modern sense, for the first time in this novel.The 'modern rules' of vampire were also introduced in Dracula. Vampires do need to be invited in, in some way, before they can torment you at home.
I'm glad I finally got around to this book. It makes all these modern, feel good, vampire books feel like cheap imitations. There is so much depth and darkness in the original. First book in the Back to the Classics Challenge done!
He became almost speechless for a minute, and then went on, "Do you know what the place is? Have you seen that awful den of hellish infamy, with the very moonlight alive with grisly shapes, and every speck of dust that whirls in the wind a devouring monster in embryo? Have you felt the Vampire's lips upon your throat?"