Bram Stoker's Dracula

Book review by
Rhiannon Bruni, Common Sense Media
Bram Stoker's Dracula Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Classic vampire tale is sexier and darker than you remember.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

An excellent glimpse back into the turn of the century. Plus many of the newfangled inventions of the late 19th/early 20th century
play a major role in the story. Trains, typewriters, and steam ships
are mentioned often.

Positive Messages

At the core of this story is a group of individuals working together to defeat a literal monster in their midst.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mina is a strong female character. She is practical, courageous, and selfless in the face of increasing peril. She is resourceful and plays a key role in defeating Dracula. Lucy is foolish, free with her affections, and selfish, but she is punished for it. Jonathon is curious, protective, and brave. He shows a strong will to escape his captor and protect Mina.

Violence

Staking, throat slashing, biting and blood drinking. These scenes are not described with gruesome detail, but there is definitely more colorful descriptions than you'd expect from a late Victorian novel.

Sex

This classic is much sexier than you remember. Sexually aggressive female vampires dance seductively for Jonathon Harker who expresses "a wicked, burning desire" for them to kiss him. There's a suggestive, promiscuous female predator (Lucy), and an unsettling scene involving the heroine (Mina) forced to drink from Dracula's breast.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Male characters drink and smoke in passing as was the custom for the time period. Plus some unsettling descriptions of the "medicines" used by Dr. Seward.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the vampire novel that started it all is sexier, more violent, and edgier than you probably remember. In one scene, sexually aggressive female vampires dance seductively for Jonathon
Harker who expresses "a wicked, burning desire" for them to kiss him; in another the heroine is forced to drink from Dracula's breast. While not described in gruesome detail, there's plenty of staking, throat slashing, biting, and blood drinking. Count Dracula is not the tortured romantic hero of modern-day cinema, but rather an evil monster that must be destroyed. Also, parents should be aware that this novel has a strong female character turned into a sexually aggressive predator, as well as unsettling descriptions of mental illness.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytkcomte December 12, 2019

Great novel

It may be a bit confusing with shifting POVs, but overall a great book
Parent Written byGuardianof3 January 26, 2011

Not as sexy shiny as Twilight, but a classic

This was my favorite book when I was 12. Has been re-read a number of times and I still have the dog-eared copy from 7th grade.
Teen, 16 years old Written bysensible_teen June 21, 2020

This book is an intriguing classic that might be too scary and hard for young readers.

I enjoyed this book, however some parts made me feel disturbed. Dracula has a much more creepy and dark feel than other classic horror books. Earlier in the boo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byKelldog7575 May 14, 2019

I be dumb

Couldn’t read it. Too bloody confusing. If you are a smart ass you will do just fine.

What's the story?

When Jonthan Harker is sent to Transylvania to conduct some business for an enigmatic nobleman, he's warned by the villagers that Count Dracula has evil powers and diabolical ambitions. When Jonathon attempts to leave he discovers that the villagers are right; He is held captive by the count and barely escapes, badly injured. Meanwhile back in England, his beautiful wife-to-be, Mina, joins her friend Lucy in Whitby to wait for Jonathon to return. Lucy falls ill and begins acting very strangely and it becomes apparent that Lucy's illness is related to the evil count. With the help of two of Lucy's suitors, a brilliant old professor, and a new-found incentive to protect Mina, Jonathon sets off back to Transylvania to destroy the monster.

Is it any good?

DRACULA has all the necessary requirements to keep it read by each generation of horror fans. As well as being an excellent time capsule to turn-of-the-century England, it's a scary, intriguing under-the-covers read. With great horror staples like spooky howling wolves, damsels in distress, evil monsters, and a quest to destroy them it's not surprising that this is the novel that kicked off the vampire craze. While the myths about vampires may be familiar, don't be too shocked when this vampire is more monster and ghoul than romantic hero.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the vampire myth. How are the vampires in the Twilight series different? Which vampire lore do you prefer? 

  • Why, when Count Dracula is such a cruel creature in this novel, has he become such an iconic character?

  • How does the novel itself live up to the hype of all the movies? Were you disappointed to find that Dracula isn't the romantic hero he is on screen?

Book details

  • Author: Bram Stoker
  • Genre: Horror
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Penguin Group
  • Publication date: December 31, 1969
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 15
  • Number of pages: 560
  • Last updated: March 9, 2019

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