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#477 ~ Dracula

Dracula by Bram Stoker

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.


My Review

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 read this book as part of the R.I.P. challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings and the Muder, Monsters, Mayhem challenge hosted by Jenn’s Bookshelves.

 


* 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.

14 Comments

  • At 2012.10.04 07:28, April Books & Wine said:

    Ahhh isn’t this version of Dracula just the best? I also felt it was a bit melodramatic but I love melodrama. Also you are spot on with description of Katherine Kellgren. She was my favorite narrator.

    • At 2012.10.05 18:49, Jennifer said:

      I am heading over to your review now. I wanted to say so much more about the book, but I had to draw a line in the review sand. :)

    • At 2012.10.04 10:07, audiobroad said:

      so interesting… I didn’t really have an interest in this book until I saw your review and full cast list. Very cool!

      • At 2012.10.05 18:50, Jennifer said:

        If you ever decide to give this a try, this audiobook is the way to go. It would be very hard to touch the Simon Vance/Katy Kellgren combo. Heaven!

      • At 2012.10.05 05:12, Serena said:

        I don’t read a ton of audio books these days, but this one sounds good. I haven’t read Dracula again in a long while.

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        • At 2012.10.05 18:51, Jennifer said:

          This would make a great way to reread the book, Serena. It gives you a great listening experience on top of the story.

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          • At 2012.10.05 17:46, Alyce said:

            I’ve only read the beginning of the book (in high school for fun) then gave up because I wasn’t in the mood and knew what was going to happen in the book because of watching a movie version. I still have no desire to read it, but if I’m in the mood for vampires I know where to go. :)

            • At 2012.10.05 18:51, Jennifer said:

              You got it! I wouldn’t push vampires or Dracula on anyone, but if you might want to dip a toe into the pool, this is a great place to test the water. :)

            • At 2012.10.07 19:55, Rachel said:

              I really loved the audiobook of Dracula too. I listened to it a few months ago and also reviewed it on my blog. But my review is much less in-depth than yours. :) I had forgotten about that repeated section until you mentioned that. It didn’t really bother me that much, I guess. These things happen. :)

              • At 2012.10.08 15:45, lynnsbooks said:

                I loved this book – even the melodrama ‘time is of the essence, people!’ – made me laugh.
                There’s something so satisfying about reading a review from someone who has just read a book you love and decided they like it – I don’t really know why – it’s not like I wrote the book after all! Maybe it makes you feel like you have a connection.
                I also read Frankenstein again fairly recently – it’s a sad book isn’t it?
                Thanks
                Lynn :D

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                • At 2012.11.01 05:43, Hattie Norman said:

                  No it’s not odd. I’m older than you. I haven’t read either novel yet. Meant to read Frankenstein this year. Didn’t get to it. Have you read The Hound of The Baskervilles? It’s really good.

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