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.
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.