Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker

I finally finished reading the PadWorx interactive e-book (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and can I just say, it was amazing. I have read Dracula before so I love the story but the interactive book added a whole new element.

Lately bloggers and the media have been talking about e-readers and e-books, some have suggested that e-books and readers will soon dominate the market. When I got my iPad I knew that I could download books for it but I never dreamed that I would have a hard time going back to a paperback book. Having books at my fingertips is wonderful, and when there are books like this one by PadWorx it’s hard to go back to a regular book.

When I first saw the App for Dracula I thought it was going to be a little cheesy and for $5.00 I thought it was on the ‘expensive’ side specially when I can download just the text version for free…..however the App quickly changed my mind.

For those of you who have read Dracula know that it is a long book though it reads quickly because it is an epistolary novel (a book written in letter or journal form). However, there are times that the novel itself drags a bit and sometimes it can be difficult to follow. When I first read Dracula I had a hard time figuring out what was going on until about 100 pages in, then it finally made sense. With the interactive version, it does help the reader follow a long better.

While the graphics and interactive elements are really cool I do admit I have mixed feelings about it. When I read the book before I felt that the suspense factor was higher when I was just reading text. I can’t quite put my finger on the ‘why’ of this feeling but it just was more suspenseful when I read it the first time. It could be because I knew what to expect this time or it could be that the visual elements give certain cues to the reader that trigger or eliminate suspense. Either way I thought this time around, the book was less suspenseful.

I love movies and other visual stimuli but nothing can replace the scene each reader creates in their own head. Reading transports readers into a world as unique as each reader- the book and characters are whatever I make them out to be in my mind. An interactive book does make things a little different- the characters and the scene become whatever the reader sees on the screen. However, I think the basic graphics and limited ‘pictures’ of characters designed by PadWorx keep that creativity necessary for readers.

The book has things like a map, music, and other basic things like dripping blood on a page or a hand written letter rather than showing a picture of the character or scene so it’s not like watching a movie.

The book itself is great, as I said before I have read it but I decided to read it again with the interactive e-book to see what the hype was all about. The book itself has been widely critiqued by literary critics and made into movies over and over again. The hero, John Harker and his associates, Dr Seward and Van Helsing fight to save Harker’s wife Mina from the evil Count Dracula. Is it just me or did anyone else feel like Dr Seward should have been the story’s protagonist or hero? I thought so, his journal entries make up the entire novel practically- and Mina’s of course but as a woman her entries were likely considered ‘fluff’ in the story.

I found it ironic that the author Stoker himself was so anti-gay and the Victorian era has notoriously oppressive attitude about women but yet Mina was portrayed as a fairly forward thinking woman. Though Mina is the ‘typical’ Victorian ideal, she is still fairly modern. She is capable of working and providing for herself and Harker if need be through her transcription and typing. She is calm, brave, supportive, and makes herself useful. However the undertones of antigay and antifeminist views are tough to shake when reading the story.

Dracula should be on everyone’s ‘to read’ book list. It is a great story and is considered the ‘godfather’ of vampire lit. It changed the way people read gothic literature which makes it a very fitting book to be one of the first from PadWorx as a fully interactive book/reader.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Dracula by Bram Stoker

  • Kindle Edition, 336 pages
  • Published (first published January 1st 1897)

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5

Genre: Gaslight Fiction, Gothic Literature, Historic Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Victorian Literature

Memorable lines/quotes: 

Remember my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker

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