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Book Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker

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Plot Summary: When Jonathan Harker pays a visit to the castle of Count Dracula, it sets in motion a terrible chain of events that threaten him and those around him.

My Review: One of the best things about this book is that the author makes you feel scared through action and description. It’s like he has a camera that freezes a tense or scary moment in the story and gives you vivid details.

Some lines that demonstrate this are the following: “There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth.”

Another great thing about this book is Count Dracula himself. Although he is evil, he is a very interesting character that pop culture references barely scratch. He has many strengths and weaknesses that make him formidable. A personal favorite trait is the power to control wolves.

In addition, the book has some good words of wisdom sprinkled here and there.

One phrases states,”I have tried to keep an open mind, and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it, but the strange things, the extraordinary things, the things that make one doubt if they be mad or sane.”

When it comes to the novel’s faults, one of them is  the sexism toward women. There are quotes such as, “A brave man’s blood is the best thing when a woman is in trouble.” that will touch the nerve of female readers. However, the character of Mina Harker makes up for it somewhat. She is an intelligent, clever, pious, and resilient woman.

Besides this, the author’s writing style can be bothersome until you get used to it. Sometimes, the description can be too much and the third person point of view may disappoint and confuse, even as it adds depth to the plot.

All in all, this was a very good book. I recommend this book to anyone who likes horror stories or classics.

Written by Serena Zola

October 30, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Book Review: Westerdale by Morwenna J Holman

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Acknowledgements: Thanks to Olympia Publishers for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Plot Summary: Vengeance, aggression, malice, spite and family feuds ring out from the pages of this book; its story is set in the wild landscape of the northern moorlands. 

Heaton Grimshaw and his two children, each so different from each other, live through this tale under their father’s gripping and terrifying presence as he reigns supreme over the frightened inhabitants of nearby Scarshead and of the neighbouring family living at the far end of the valley.

His unhappy and vicious marriage spells tragedy, as the demons in his personality are revealed and take hold of his very being.

Source: Olympia Publishers

My Review:  One of the good things about the novel was its slight twist on the classic gothic novel Wuthering Heights. One of the differences between them is that romance doesn’t play a central role Westerdale. Another impressive difference is that the story gradually goes from a tale of intense cruelty to a tale of redemption.

Besides the storyline, the characters were enjoyable. Heaton is physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive. However, the gothic twist in the book made his character entertaining and eventually sympathetic.

Also, the secondary characters made reading the book more bearable when Heaton wasn’t.  For instance, Heaton’s wife Elizabeth has a brave and resilient spirit that was admirable.

Ironically, the influence of Wuthering Heights on the book was also a little overdone. While some of the twists were clever, there should have been more of them. There was one key plot point of the novel that was too predictable.

In addition, Heaton should have been developed more. There are some lines in the book that hinted at Heaton’s past, but it is never explained. It felt like the author was just using those lines to make Heaton more dramatic.

Despite its flaws, it was an engaging read. I recommend this book to any gothic literature fan.

Written by Serena Zola

September 27, 2013 at 3:25 PM

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