Dracula Bram Stoker Audiobook Review

‘I vant to suck your blood’ does not actually appear in the book Dracula by Bram Stoker. Sad, I know. But you guys, despite all my pop culture influenced ideas pertaining to Dracula, it was a pretty damn good classic vampire book. For real, this is the book that started it ALL. I bought my copy of the audiobook back in March, but decided to not listen to it until fall, because you know, HALLOWEEN and all. Apparently my timing is legit, because fall was the perfect time to listen to this all-star narrated audiobook.

Dracula Bram Stoker Audiobook Cover

Y’all, shit is about to hit the fan AND GET REAL with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Okay, so the book opens with Jonathan Harker who is a solicitor , right. Harker goes to Transylvania to negotiate the purchase of a house in London for his client, Count Dracula. As Harker doesn’t have Bram Stoker telling him what’s up, he doesn’t realize just how shady Dracula is before going to Transylvania. However, after a few nights in the count’s castle, Harker realizes that yes, Dracula is HELLA CREEP and he needs to get the F out of dodge. Jonathan BARELY escapes. Then, then, then, after a few chapters we are back in good old England where holy crap a fricken boat runs ashore with NO CREW. WHAT THE WHAT. Okay, so in jolly old England, Harker’s wife Mina is just hanging out with her best friend Lucy Wesenra when they find out that Dracula has been stalking them, and Lucy has these weird bite marks on her neck. THEN OMG insane asylum rambles and rallying the gang for a good old fashioned staking. You guys, can you tell that I am practically raising jazz hands in the air over this noise. It is so creepy, I LOVE IT.

Dracula To Thrill And Chill You GIF

As for the main players in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, there were some I liked more than others. For instance, I think that Jonathan Harker makes a passable opening main character. You can tell he is scared shitless at what’s going down in Dracula’s castle and I like that. I was incredibly partial to Mina Harker. Y’all, you’d think ladies of the very late 1800s would be weak and boring, but Mina comes out with guns blazing. She wants to help bring Dracula down by any means possible, plus she deeply loves Jonathan. I respect that, yo. THEN there is Van Helsing who is kind of a vampire expert, you might say he is a precursor to Buffy. I like him because he takes action, he knows that when there’s a vampire on the loose you don’t sit on your ass but get up, stake the bugger and stuff it’s mouth with garlic after chopping off the head. Who am I kidding? I LOVED Van Helsing too. Okay and I’d be remiss without mentioning Lucy Westenra who is Mina’s BFF and more with my image of late-1800s ladies. She’s weak and innocent and kind of boring and only turns interesting towards the end. Finally,  John Seward, he’s this guy who runs the insane asylum, but he’s consumed with this patient who calls Dracula ‘master’. He’s the one who calls in Van Helsing. Frankly, with the exception of boring Lucy, I could dig the characters of this book.

dracula GIF

Fans of epistolary novels rejoice! Bram Stoker’s vampire novel is told through letters and diary entries and various other ‘primary documents’. I have to say, the epistolary format really heightens the horror of the book. I think it’s because the characters start out in disbelief, much like the reader and then as the lurid tale continues they find out that, indeed, those scary events are happening for a reason. Plus, as a reader you can kind of piece it out as the characters piece it out and I think it just adds drama, in the best possible gripping sort of way. I thought Dracula was really accessible, the way that it is written. And honestly, I was expecting straight up prose, not letters and diaries, so it was much appreciated by this reader to get a little surprise when it came to writing.

Dracula Cape GIF

By today’s gory standards, Dracula is probably not all that terrifying. However, that’s when you go in with a modern sensibility. If you go in like I did, relaxed and just letting the story take you where it will, you’ll find yourself freaked the hell out. Like, I remember starting it and being like, hey I’ve seen the Mel Brooks version of this, no need to be nervous. But then, we get Lucy walking around like a loon, ladies visiting in the night and GHOST SHIPS and shit if I didn’t gasp with alarm a few times.

What really cemented the experience of reading Dracula by Bram Stoker for me, was that I got to read it at a time and place of my choosing, I wasn’t required for school or anything. Plus, I listened to the full cast Audible audiobook edition. I’ve only listened to two full cast books, this one and Swordspoint. What I find is that I liked Dracula so much more than Swordspoint because it never felt gimmicky. There were no trashy sound effects. It was just each character narrator with the documents. I wasn’t jarred by the transition of the voices from document to document. Plus, the full cast is VERY competent. The narrators consist of: Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossly, Simon Prebble and James Adams. Y’all, these narrators totally know what they are doing and kept me utterly engaged and not bored during this classic. Dracula by Bram Stoker is 15 hours and 28 minutes on audiobook, but it just zooms by.

Disclosure: Purchased copy.

Other reviews of Dracula by Bram Stoker:

Capricious Reader – “That first section of the book was enough to hook ME, it should be enough to hook YOU.

Literary Corner Cafe – “It’s so rich, so haunting, so tragic, so supremely human that once I picked it up, I just couldn’t put it down.

Chrisbookarama – “Dracula is over the top melodrama with the gasping and the swooning”

Literate Housewife – “the true stars of this audiobook are Simon Vance and Katherine Kellgren

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. creepy empty boat shenanigans! insane asylums! two of my favorite things! (in a non-I-vant-to-suck-your-blood way of course)

    Also, call me a loser, but I DIDN’T KNOW THIS NOVEL WAS EPISTOLARY!

    And lastly, that cover is awesome. I am loving the whole red/black thing. (also in a non-I-vant-to-suck-your-blood way)

  2. I want to listen to this version even though I’ve already listened to different one. This sounds like it would be much more fun with all the different voices.

  3. DUDE, HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS???? A full-cast audio with some of my favorite actors ever? I am so not going to be reading this book. Listening ftw! So glad you reviewed this or I never would have known!

    • Fricken yes, you are going to love the audiobook, I am ALMOST positive. Seriously, it’s so well done and not cheesy or stupid at all.

      YAY FOR PUTTING AUDIOS ON THE RADAR OF OTHERS YAYYYY CONVOLUTED SENTENCE YAYYYY.

  4. I would totally listen to that audio book just for the cast! But awesome story doesn’t hurt either.

  5. Dracula has been one of my favorites ever since I was a small child. It set my expectations of vampires and ever since I have had no doubt that vampires should be killed, not kissed! (I know, that really puts me out with the whole Vampire/ boyfriend craze shaping YA today, but I can’t help it!) I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’ve read it probably 1,000 times, but it still creeps me out! This might be an audio book I can actually appreciate.

    • Hahaha Heidi, that’s so funny. I agree kill the vampires, don’t make out with them.

      You should try the audiobook as a whole new way to experience a book you’ve read so many times.

  6. Great review, April! I <3 Stoker's Dracula as well. I remember when I read it thinking that with all the vampire rage in our pop culture today, it might be kind of dated and sedate. Obviously not so. It's still the cold standard for vampire stories. I've read it more than once and hope to read it many more times! 😀

    • Thank you, Liesel. I agree, I thought it would be kind of sedate and boring as well, but it blew me away with how creepy it was, but also with the sweetness of Jonathan and Mina’s love.

  7. I read Dracula for the first time last year and went into it with Mel Brooks and Buffy in mind. I was blown away by how much I loved this book; so different from a less than enthusiastic response to Frankenstein. My favorite spine-tingling moment is when Van Helsing and Mina are sleighing to the Count’s castle in Transylvania. It’s freezing cold, wolves howl in the distance, and Van Helsing is wary of sleeping and being unable to watch over Mina. You can feel how tired and afraid he is.

    • I do plan on reading Frankenstein soon, although my brain will probably say FRONKENSTEIN each time the narrater says Frankenstein.

      That is a great moment to bring up. Seriously, Stoker is a master of subtle horror.

  8. I love Dracula. I read it four years ago in my Gothic lit class and was pleasantly surprised by it. And what a wonderful all-star cast a characters in the audio version! I’d love to listen to that someday.

  9. I really liked how the author used letters and such to convey the story at points when I read it. Mina Harker and Van Helsing were also my two favorite characters, I had trouble liking Lucy because she was such a weak character even though she fit in a little better with the how must females acted in that time period.

    Bram Stoker definitely has a way with words. The two books of his I’ve read literally kept me on the edge of my seat. =)

    Your review has made me wish I had the full cast audio of Dracula. Would be perfect fro the time of year.

    • Right, maybe Lucy was accurate for the period, but good god stop whining! I wasn’t a fan og her hahaha.

      MINA HARKER! She was the best.

      I’ll have to check out Stoker’s other books.

      The fullcast audio is still free I think, through the Amazon Whispersync promotion. You might wanna check that out.

  10. Okay, how have I not listened to the audio version of this!? It’s my FAVOURITE book of all time and to see hot toddies like Alan Cummings and TIM FREAKING CURRY narrate it… oh boy. I’m getting like way too excited here. I think my favourite thing about Dracula is the way Stoker chose to tell the story, using the “social media” of his day and age (so-to-speak). Very surprising and very cool.

    The only other full cast audiobook I’ve listened to was Max Brooks’ “World War Z” and I loved every minute of it. Clicking over to amazon to get me a version of Dracula, like, STAT!

    • I like how you say it’s the social media of Stoker’s day, because you are right. It’s such a creative way to tell the story.

      ALSO.

      I need to listen to World War Z, even though in our zombie-prepared household, we totally have a physical copy.

      Tim Freakin Curry is the deal, and every time he narrates I’m like MORE MORE MORE.

  11. This sounds like an AMAZING audiobook! I’ve bever had the chance to read the book, so I may have to pick up the audio soon. Thanks!

  12. My bookclub is reading this now. (We’re watching the film Wednesday). I’ve read this before and I still find myself a bit creeped out at times. It just draws you in. The description of the scene where Harker sees Dracula crawl down the face of the castle is enough to give you chills. I love this one so much.

  13. Wow that’s a lot of time to commit to audio but it sounds like it was worth it!!
    I love both main narrators (at least from what the cover says) so that’s always a bit plus! I’m gad you enjoyed the book.

    • Yeah, it is kind of a long audio, but the length doesn’t bother me when it’s well done. Like, I think a 3 hour audiobook that is narrated by incompetent people can feel much longer than this one which was narrated by an extremely talented cast.

      It’s definitely worth the time.

  14. Oh, this review is absolutely perfect! I love your take and voice so much. I’m glad that we read and reviewed this book “together.” I’m so glad this was how I read Dracula. Since this audiobook is relatively new, we got lucky.

  15. I’m hoping to start this early next week… can’t wait.

  16. I really enjoyed your review – using humor to review horror was a nice twist on the kind of reviews most would expect about this classic. Don’t think I’ll have time to listen before Halloween this year — maybe next year!

  17. Dude, I honestly had no idea that Dracula was an epistolary novel! That makes me want to read it so much more. Also, ghost ships?! The mere mention freaks me the fuck out!

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