Before we talk about the book, let me tell you a story of the young Paola.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Eleven years ago, I saw a film called ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’. It’s not a very good film, but I must confess that each time I re-watch it, I enjoy it all over again. Not because of the plot, but because of the characters. The story is simple enough: a bunch of literary characters team up to stop a bad guy. The members of this league, however, are Captain Nemo (Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea), Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray), Allan Quatermain (King Solomon’s Mines), Tom Sawyer (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer), Mina Harker (Dracula), Dr. Henry Jekyll (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and Rodney Skinner (The Invisible Man). Other literary characters are also featured, such as Ishmael (Moby Dick) and another character that I won’t spoil for you, in case you want to see the movie.
I remember that as soon as the film ended, my first thought was ‘boy, I need to read those books’. The problem was, that I didn’t like to read when I was eleven, so although I read The Picture of Dorian Gray (which became one of my all-time favorites) and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, I didn’t continue. In fact, I didn’t touch a book until years later. In 2013, I read Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, but it wasn’t until now that I finally read Dracula.
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
Jonathan Harker, an English lawyer, finds himself visiting Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania to help him purchase a house in London. Shortly after that, strange events start occurring in England, so uncanny, that they bring together a group of people, ready to take on the dark force that’s haunting the streets of London and threatening everyone they love.
A must for all classic and Gothic lovers out there. I must warn you, though: this is not a modern vampire story, so don’t expect too much action or fights or sparkling vampires. Also, it has one of the fastest, most abrupt endings I’ve read in a long time, but I’m not going to hate an otherwise splendid book because of three lines.
I bought this book in Scotland, at Blackwell’s, one of the most wonderful bookshops I’ve ever been to. I started reading it on the plane back to Germany and I had a hard time trying not to yelp whenever the Count did something super creepy. Then at some point I realized I had been making weird faces while reading as if to show some clearly non-existent vampire fangs. Yeah, it was a fun read.