This is one of those books most people probably don’t expect me to have read. I don’t read horror and don’t tend to enjoy it, but this is a book I’ve just finished reading for the third time! It’s amazing and not really horror in the way we think of horror today. So here’s my thoughts.
This has got to be one of the worst of the many covers Dracula has had over the years but it definitely has a point. You’d be surprised how Christian this book is. Through out the story are references to God, trusting in Him, and defeating the demonic to honour Him and aid in His work. I suppose this stems from the book being written at a time when pretty much everyone went to church and believed that this sort of thing happened, at least in the spiritual realm even if not in the physical.
I also thought it was well written for a classic. A lot of them drag and take a while to get going, but this one plunged right into the action with Jonathan Harker on his way to visit Count Dracula and although it had a few lengthy paragraphs of description here and there (no worse than George R. R. Martin’s like of description) it was still a relatively fast paced read for a classic.
For a horror novel, the accounts of the gruesome side of things are quite tame and few and far between, instead the book relies on making you feel the dread of the characters and their fear of being cut off from God and eternally walking the earth as something that will never honour Him. There was a brilliant quote that summed up the emotion behind that sentiment in a way I can only wish I’d thought of. – ‘But to fail here is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him, that we henceforth become foul things of the night, like him, without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best. To us forever are the gates of heaven shut, for who shall open them to us again? We go on for all time abhorred by all, a blot on the face of God’s sunshine, an arrow in the side of Him who died for man.’
In short, I love this novel, partially for not being what’s expected of it, partially for being so honest about the belief system behind it, and partially for being inspiring and encouraging in the face of great fear. This is everything a good horror book should be.