Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yes, Finally finished as well!

As in intro: Sorry, Tonya, I haven't posted yet and I'm afraid that I'm actually going to disagree with you about the book.

I actually found this book difficult to get through for a number of reasons. The number one reason it took me so long to finish this book is because I refused to read it after six in the evening for fear that I would have dreams about vampires—and since the vampire in this book is a lot more evil than Edward Cullen, I couldn’t take that chance! :) And, basically I didn't really like it and when you don't like a book it makes it difficult to wade through it.

SPOILERS ahead!!!
The funniest thing is that a long time ago I read one of the “Great American Bathroom Books” synopsis of “Dracula” and I could have sworn that someone besides Quincey died in the end. I also thought that Mina Harker turned into a vampire. That mistake is actually from “A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” I falsely assumed that they had gone by the books the characters were from. I’m wondering if I need to go back and read all those books now to see what else they did wrong in that movie! :) So, needless to say, I was surprised at the end.
As far as Stoker’s treatment of women—I honestly didn’t see a lot of difference from “The Scarlett Pimpernel.” The heroine was a cookie-cutter character: Smart, beautiful, extraordinary…etc. Stoker, I think, treated women even worse, because whereas Marguerite had flaws and failings, Mina didn’t really. She was saintly and very forgiving. She was smart and resourceful, beautiful and loved one man passionately and three others like brothers. She was so super-special that one man loved her passionately as well and three other men loved her purely as a sister. Lucy was the same way, except she was much weaker—mentally and physically—than Mina.
I think that Stoker’s characters were the major failing of the book. The men are too good. Each of them is brave and strong and willing to give their lives for Mina and the cause they’re fighting. Literally, none of the heroes had flaws at all. The villains had no likability, except perhaps the lady vampires, and everyone just felt bad killing them and also wanted to kiss them even though they knew how terrible that would be.
“Dracula” is VERY different from “Twilight” and since that’s the only other vampire fiction I’ve read, I’ll have to compare it to that. (I hope someone else has read something else because I would love to see some other points of views. Also if you have read other vampire fiction, could you suggest a few titles for me…I’m really curious now!) “Dracula” has a very religious bent to it. Count Dracula is fought off by almost entirely spiritual methods—crucifixs, holy water, the wafer…and it is made very plain that the vampires are damned. Clearly, “Twilight” has none of that, except for Edward’s concerns about his soul and Bella’s. Whereas in “Dracula” it is definitely a BAD thing to become a vampire, in “Twilight,” there’s a lot more gray area to it.
As for the format (diaries, letters, newspapers) sometimes I got confused, usually whenever Van Helsing was talking. Other than that, however, I kind of liked the way it was told because you got the entire story from a personal standpoint, not the usual omnipresent point of view.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mission Completed

I agree almost hands down with Ranee'. I too enjoyed Mina. She was so good and humble, and I loved the way her mind worked so methodically, especially when it came to tracking down the Count in the end. I preferred her character over Lucy who seemed too dainty for my tastes. I kept wanting her to get more backbone, but I suppose that wouldn't have fit the storyline.

I enjoyed getting this story from so many narrators. It made their individual experiences so vivid and more alarming. I did, however, think it rather hilarious how much detail each of those involved included. I know my journal has never been so descriptive. From a realistic perspective I'm not sure it holds, but it worked well for Stoker. While the newspaper clipping of the Count's ship arriving in England was very different from news today, it added a nice change. I especially liked the way Jonathan Harker's journal was composed in the beginning. I had a difficult time getting through it though - it was on such a personal level that I had to wait a few days before picking the book up again. I was relieved when the book took a less grisly turn for a while. My nerves needed a break.

Vampires. Other than the Twilight books, the only other vampire book I've read is Robin McKinley's "Sunshine." I'm not sure I'd recommend it, but after this it may not seem so bad. McKinley's characters follow more of Stoker's version, but with more natural cunning. Meyers' vampires are in a category all of their own. However, I read a comment by her once that said that she had actually never read vampire books and didn't intend to start in case they changed the way she viewed her own characters. I've always found that interesting.

I did enjoy this book. It is very well written, and I found the characters to be quite realistic, for the most part. I thoroughly enjoyed the Harkers and Van Helsing. Those three to me were the book. I'm not sure I'll pick this one up again any time soon and re-read it, but I'm glad I did read it. I'm looking forward to this month's book.


I guess I will post first about the book by answering the questions.
1. I found it refreshing how Mina was portrayed. She was intelligent, selfless, continually learning and improving her skills to better her life and her future husband/husbands life. She was also refined in her social skills. It was great to see a well rounded women who could think beyond the next social event and what people thought of her.
2. I found the use of journal entries, letters, and newspaper clippings to be interesting. I tired at times of yet another journal entry but I enjoyed the details and the different characters points of view. I think it was affective for this book because the details were vital to story. I kept my interest because I had never read a book written with just journal entries, letters, and newspaper clippings. I found the method interesting to me. I am glad that not all books are written this way but I enjoyed the method has a whole for this book.
3. I compared the Twilight vampires to the vampires in Dracula the whole book. I enjoyed seeing the difference and wonder how Stephanie Myers developed her vampires into something so much more human than underworld beast created by Stoker. I enjoyed reading about Dr. Van Helsing having seen a couple of movies depicting him. I enjoyed him a lot more in the book.

My own thoughts about the book: I found this book interesting and a bit enjoyable because it is so different from what I have read before. I really enjoyed that the group of Dracula hunters where not going to give up until the evil they knew existed was destroyed. The no tolerance for evil was refreshing considering the world we live in now accepts evil for good and the tolerance to allow evil in every day activities is so sad. I always love when good wins. I could keep going about good and evil but I have a little boy who needs me.

Has anyone else finished?????