Review by Shwetha H S
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror, Fiction, Classic
Imprint: Bantam Classic
Abraham Stoker, an Irish novelist known to the world as Bram Stoker, wrote short stories too. He is famous for his work Dracula, which was first named as The Undead.
The story is set in and written in 19th century. Jonathan Harker, a solicitor from England, goes to Transylvania to meet his client Count Dracula regarding new properties bought for the Count. Since the start of the journey until he reaches the castle, Harker is spooked by the strange things that transpire and the driver controlling the wolves. Once in the castle, the strange behaviour and looks of the old Count Dracula make him nervous. What scare him further are the ghosts that try to feed on him and his house arrest by the Count. While Harker is struggling to escape from Transylvania, his fiancée, Wilhelmina Murray also known as Mina, worries of not hearing properly from him in England. She spends her time with her friend Lucy Westenra in Whitby. Lucy starts behaving strangely at night after being found on lonely ground alone with tow marks on her neck. Lucy’s fiancé, Arthur Holmwood also known as Lord Godalming, and his two friends, Dr. John Seward and Quincey Morris who are also in love with Lucy, are worried about continuously failing health of Lucy. Dr. Seward also faces the issue of handling Renfield, a loon. Distraught by this, Dr. Seward invites his professor and friend, Abraham Van Helsing, from Amsterdam to come see Lucy. Van Helsing takes a look at Lucy and understands the reason to be a vampire. He tries to save her and succeeds to even do so, but fails when she throws caution into air. Dead Lucy turns into a vampire, but eventually gets killed. Things take a bad turn when the rescued and married Jonathan Harker sees a young Count Dracula in England. Mina and Jonathan form a team with the other four men to put an end to the haunting in England.
Dracula is written in the diary form. The day-to-day happenings are written in each person’s diary. Each and every minute detail is elaborately explained. Just like other novels written in this format, the story by Bram Stoker too bores the readers every now and then. Skip a few paragraphs and you will still be able to understand what’s going on. The reader will be desperate to finish the book. The only best part, from a movie buff point of view, is you get the origin of Dr. Van Helsing in this book. But we should applaud Bram Stoker for coming up with a vampire story back when people were still not into paranormal fantasy erotica.
Read this classic only if you have nothing better to do.
Review by Vijaya Raghava
Barking madness is quintessentially a young adult story that has romance, lust, jealousy, vengeance, werewolves, murder, thrill and its share of flaws.
The story is told from the point of view of its two main characters – Rose and Mike. Rose moves to a small town and is among the “hottest” girls in her school. Everyone in the school fantasizes about her. Mike also has a crush on her but is too shy to speak to girls. Within no time Rose meets a handsome hunk and falls in love with him. They go out partying and on one night they are attacked by a Werewolf. The hunk is killed while Rose, though bitten by the wolf, escapes death as Mike saves her just in time. Over the next few months a string of people close to Rose are killed. Further, the dead start speaking to Rose and haunt her. She is further haunted by a masked man whom she has never met. With each death, Rose slips deeper into a depression. Mike gets a few chances to get close to Rose and tries to help her with her issues even while dealing with his own problems. Do these deaths have anything to do with Rose and the Werewolf? Or are they just a figment of her imagination. Or is there something more to all this madness?
Most of the characters in the story are teenagers and you can relate to them. That said, you can’t help but think that a bit more effort could have been put into developing the lead characters as most of the story revolves around them. You find Rose sobbing through most part of the story and after a while you start wondering if she deserves to be the lead character. Most things fall in place for her because she is “hot”. There are not many dimensions to Mike’s character as well. The support characters seem convincing and they come and go as and when the plot requires.
The plot gathers pace slowly and explodes with gore with the first few murders and keeps the reader intrigued for a while. However, the middle chapters seem like a bit of a drag with too many repetitive events and offer very little in terms of freshness to the plot. The tempo picks up towards the climax and there is a new twist to the plot. The author tries to mix up things a bit towards the end but the end result seems a bit underwhelming and leaves many questions unanswered even if you factor in the revelations at the end.
I definitely feel that the book is a bit lenghty and can be condensed a bit. I wouldn’t mind recommending the book in its condensed form.
Review by Shwetha H S
Honestly, I had to remind myself again and again not to leave this book half read. This book drags itself and makes you regret even starting to read it. Till you reach the middle of the story, there is nothing but self-loathing of a drunkard, his issues with himself and his girlfriend, and bickering between him and his one and only cousin. This is horrifying enough. You might even start thinking that all the scary things that are gonna happen in this story might be just inside the his inebriated head. It is only after half of the story that things start happening; Wigwam the monster starts attacking and the zombie twins try to help.
The only silver lining of this story is the second half, when the horrifying things start happening. Rest of it is a dud. What probably would have been better off as a short story, has been literally dragged into a novel. Another downfall for this is lack off back story for the Wigwam. I mean, why is it even there? How did it even get created? Why is it having zombie pets? No explanations given. But, the ending is refreshing for a horror story; it has no happy ending!