Published by: Archibald Constable and Co
Published on: 1897
Page Count: 406
Genre: Gothic Horror
My Reading Format: Free audiobook from Audible.com
Audiobook Published by: Audible Inc
Narrator: Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley, Simon Prebble, and James Adams
Audiobook Length: 15 hours 28 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook
Note: This review will contain spoilers for those who have not yet read Dracula within my description of the performances of the audiobook narrators.
Dracula is a classic Gothic horror novel. As much as I love a good Gothic horror storyread, vampires have never done much to capture my imagination. I’ve never even owned a copy of this book until Audible.com made it available for free for users to test drive their Whispersync for Voice technology*. Since I’m in the middle of both the R.I.P. and MX3 reading challenges, I bit the bullet and started listening. I quickly fell in love with the story through Jonathan Harker’s journal. I had not anticipated how much I would grow to care for the these characters. As this interest and concern was combined with a roller coaster of creepiness and sorrow that accompanies Jonathan, Lucy Westenra, and Mina Murray, I finally understood the appeal Dracula has for so many readers.
My only issue with the story was that it tended toward the melodramatic at times, which slowed down the story and made sections feel much longer than they should. I found myself rolling my eyes at the overlong explanations from Van Helsing or shouting in my head, “Time is of the essence, people!” I think my issues with this are more a symptom of the expectation of constant motion I have today. The way in which Bram Stoker wrote this novel is not out of place for the time period.
I really enjoyed this audio production. While Alan Cumming and Tim Curry are given top billing in this full cast audio, the true stars of this audiobook are Simon Vance and Katherine Kellgren. Simon Vance expertly set the tone for the production with Jonathan’s journal. His apparent demise was heartbreaking. I hated for both Jonathan and Simon to go. Having the story pick back up with Mina’s writing and Katherine Kellgren’s narration eased the pain. Katherine’s inflection and accents are always a pleasure. It will come as no surprise to regular readers that when Jonathan Harker/Simon Vance made his triumphant return that I clapped for joy. This sensation was the same I experienced when Mark Bramhall’s narration started in A Land More Kind Than Home. I loved how Vance and Kellgren’s Jonathan and Mina were the backbone of the book. This isn’t to say that the other performances weren’t good. Cumming’s Dr. Seward was well done and his narration during some of the more gruesome scenes kept me riveted. Susan Duerden’s poor Lucy was perfect. There was not one of the many talented narrators who failed to impress.
One note on the production. There was one place, around 2 hours and 20 minutes into the audiobook when a correction in Alan Cumming’s narration was misplaced resulting in a repeat.
Within the past year I have read Frankenstein and Dracula. Is it odd that a 40 year old woman has just now read them both? Perhaps. They just didn’t draw me in before. That changed when Simon Vance narrated Frankenstein and was featured among the narrators of this version of Dracula. When you trust narrators, it’s amazing the places you will go with them. Both novels were well worth the wait and expertly narrated. If you are like me and don’t typically find that vampires make compelling reading material, I strongly suggest you pick up Dracula. This audiobook version certainly sets the right mood. It was a perfect listen for R.I.P. and MX3.
* I found that the Whispersync for Voice functionality worked well from a testing standpoint. Still, I usually like to listen to my audiobooks all the way through. Those times that I do go to the book to read it when I can’t listen, I almost always resume the audiobook where I left off.