Things That Go Bump In the Night

Happy Halloween! Why not get in the mood for one of the best holidays ever with the perfect read for a spooky night? I’m talking about the most iconic horror story of all time…Dracula; Count of Transylvania, the first vampire in existence, much more terrifying and far less sparkly than others who have earned fanged fame!

This novel begins with the journal of Jonathon Harker, a real estate agent who is traveling all the way to Transylvania from his home in London, to finalize a business transaction with a very strange client.  He meets Count Dracula at a secluded palace and quickly realizes that Dracula’s interest in relocating to London is not as innocent as it seems.  It isn’t long before Harker learns the true identity of the Count and is forced to attempt a daring escape or be drained of his blood!  A few months later, Harker is back home with his loved ones- though with a curious state of amnesia from what happened during his escape, and soon the vampire fiend makes his first appearance in London.  It is up to Harker and his friends to stop the blood-sucking spook before he finds his next victim or worse- creates another vampire!

I chose this classic not only because it is one of my personal favorites (classics are so underrated these days), but also because of the unique writing style that in my opinion, is yet to be matched- bravo Bram Stoker!  Each chapter is comprised uniquely of diary entries and letters from our band of heroes; who each have a very unique viewpoint of the action.  I admire the fact that Stoker managed to write from the perspectives of 7 different characters in a way that was so clear and distinct that I never got confused- a near impossible feat for any author who dares to have more than one main character.

I have to admit that in the beginning, I was a little worried about where the plots would take me; I just couldn’t see how each persona’s story would intertwine.  I was pleasantly surprised at the expertise with which Stoker spun his web of action, drama, and things that go bump in the night.

As I continued to read, I grew extremely fond of one particular character: the dashing American suitor, Quincey.  Not only was he witty and clever, but he portrayed such a sense of loyalty and willingness to help.  I could definitely use a friend like him!

There are some critiques for this nearly flawless piece of literature- though they in no way lessen my adoration of this novel.  The biggest frustration of mine would be the pace.  I feel like at times the details that Stoker needed to pull the story together took much too long to develop.  I found myself a bit exasperated that it took weeks for our motley crew to put their heads together and realize what the Count would do next.  I was surprised at Van Helsing’s lack of communication with his colleagues: even when he knew essential information that would help them in their pursuit of the Count, he often neglected to share.

I know that classics aren’t exactly at the top of the teen reading list, but I would highly recommend this mystery, to anyone who would dare to read one of the most celebrated horror stories of all time.  If you do decide to give it a try- please let me know what you think!  Email me at mady@readinspiredmag.org to tell me if you take my challenge!  Before I go, I would like to say that this is a horror novel and may not be suitable for some younger readers- or older readers for that matter- but don’t feel too badly; I still have nightmares from the first and only scary movie I have ever seen!  And if you do get scared, just remember the words of Bram Stoker himself:  “(…) the sun grew so high this morning that (…) my fear fell from me as if it had been a vaporous garment which dissolved in the warmth (Stoker.  Dracula. Page 74).”  Goodnight (sleep tight, don’t let the vampires bite!) and a Happy Hallows Eve to you all!

 

THIS IS THE SECOND INSTALLMENT FROM MY MONTHLY COLUMN IN INSPIRED KIDS MAGAZINE.  FOLLOW THE LINK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS INCREDIBLE MAGAZINE WRITTEN FOR, AND BY KIDS!  

 

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