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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

The aristocratic vampire that haunts the Transylvanian countryside has captivated readers' imaginations since it was first published in 1897. Hindle asserts that Dracula depicts an embattled man's struggle to recover his "deepest sense of himself as a man", making it the "ultimate terror myth".…


by Bram Stoker

Overall Book Review:

When Dracula was published, it set the stage for all the vampire novels and movies that have come since. It is considered a masterpiece of gothic horror. The novel has a strong story which was completely original when it was published, though modern readers are likely to be familiar with the vampire mythos since it has been re-told many times since, and that causes some of the eeriness of the unknown to be lost. The heroes of this book are noble and good, and that goodness provides a stark contrast to the unrepentant darkness of the title character. In his original incarnation, Dracula has none of the tortured soul looking for redemption and none of the human side that has become a staple of modern vampire stories. This setting where evil is evil and the good guys are true heroes provides a refreshing detour from the recent shades of gray trend in horror. This, combined with Stoker’s beautiful use of descriptive language and his ability to create spooky scenes without relying on the shock of copious gore, makes the book an engaging read.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  35 religious exclamations; 10 mild obscenities.

Note: “Hell” is used in reference to the place, and “God” is used as a supplication, or to refer to or address the deity many times, and these are not included in the tally.

Violence/Gore:  A character threatens to kill another; a few references to past historical battles; horses are whipped by their drivers twice; a character is stalked by wolves twice; report of a suicide; report of a few drowning deaths; characters read various causes of deaths on tombstones; creepy scene in which a character is depicted with blood on his mouth and a character hits another, drawing blood; creepy scene in which a character is cut and various supernatural spooky things happen; scene where a character uses creepy, but non-violent, supernatural abilities; character throws another across a room with no injury; an infant is killed (implied); report of several people who disappear and are presumed dead; a character is killed by animals, with no details given; a spooky scene in which monsters stalk characters; a couple of human and animal bodies found with their throats torn out; a few fights with no major injury; a character’s face is burned; recount of a character drinking blood; two characters are found dead with a broken neck; an animal is kicked by its master; a creepy scene in which a character sees a shadowy figure attacking another; two characters are found wounded on the throat but alive; a character dies from a bloody, non-detailed wound; past injury is mentioned; a character dies from lack of blood; a character has several violent fits of insanity, with no major injury; creepy scene in which a corpse is found with its hands bound with a crucifix; blood transfusions are given a few times, with no details; zoo animals are beaten; a zoo cage is destroyed; a character is trapped for some time with the corpse of a loved one; a few characters are poisoned non-fatally; report of an animal put down after an injury; scary scene in which an animal attacks characters, property is destroyed, spooky supernatural things happen, and a character is killed in a non-graphic way; a few reports of death by disease; a few discussions of mutilating corpses; a few reports of missing children found with wounded throats; a few characters are impaled with stakes and their bodies mutilated, causing much writhing and gushing blood; a creepy scene with rats, foul odors, and other general spookiness; a character is found badly beaten with broken bones and bloodied face; a character is forced to drink blood; a room is ransacked and its contents burned and broken; a character is stabbed and beheaded, but little blood is described.

Sex/Nudity:  Characters hug, kiss, embrace, hold hands, and make physically comforting gestures several times; characters make a joke about sitting on a man’s lap; a character talks fondly about the man she is in love with; mention is made of a superstition involving witches mating with demons; a joke is made about polyandry and bigamy; a suggestive scene in which a man’s desire for a few women is described and characters kiss another on the throat; a female character drinks blood from a man’s chest; a character seductively asks another for a kiss; men kiss women’s hands several times socially; mention is made of a naked lunatic.

Note: The word “breast” is used several times without sexual connotation to mean “chest” for both men and women, such as saying that someone’s heart beats “within their breast”.

Mature Subject Matter:

Historical war, famine, disease, a character eats bugs and small animals raw, suicide (reported and considered), mention of a “black man” with implication that he is inferior due to being black, mental illness, terminal illness, death (family, loved one, friend), theft, bribery, euthanasia (mention).

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Adults drink wine and liquor; brandy is used in a medical context; adults smoke cigars and cigarettes; an adult chews tobacco; medicines are used to induce sleep; laudanum (as a poison).

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.