Because of the widespread awareness of the story of the evil Transylvanian count and the success of numerous film adaptations that have been created over the years, the modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.
This production of Dracula is presented by what is possibly the best assemblage of narrating talent ever for one audiobook: Emmy Award nominees Alan Cumming and Tim Curry plus an all-star cast of Audie award-winners Simon Vance (The Millenium Trilogy), Katherine Kellgren (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Susan Duerden (The Tiger's Wife), John Lee (Supergods) and customer favorites Graeme Malcolm (Skippy Dies), Steven Crossley (The Oxford Time Travel series), Simon Prebble (The Baroque Cycle), James Adams (Letters to a Young Contrarian), Nicola Barber (The Rose Garden), Victor Villar-Hauser (Fun Inc.), and Marc Vietor (1Q84). These stellar narrators have been cast as follows:
Alan Cumming as Dr. Seward
Simon Vance as Jonathan Harker
Katy Kellgren as Mina Murray/Harker
Susan Duerden as Lucy Westenra
Tim Curry as Van Helsing
Graeme Malcolm as Dailygraph correspondent
Steven Crossley as Zookeeper's account and reporter
Simon Prebble as Varna
James Adams as Patrick Hennessey
Nicola Barber as Sister Agatha
Victor Villar-Hauser as Arthur Holmwood
Marc Vietor as Quincey Morris
John Lee as Introductory paragraph, various letters
What more can be said about Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Granted, that mostly everyone knows the story, and have seen the countless movie adaptations of the book. So naturally, I went in it thinking about the 90s movie and came out of it loving the book even more.
Listening to this audiobook version with Alan Cumming and Tim Curry was a treat to my ears and soul. It’s hands down one of my favorite audiobooks ever. I loved the full cast with their talented renditions of each of the characters.
I’ll have to admit at first, I wasn’t sure that I was going to like the book. It seemed a bit boring with the journal entries and weather forcasts during one of the scenes. I haven’t read a book where it was almost completely told via character journals and correspondence. But the shock of that goes away and fear and anxiety of each character is portrayed even better through their own thoughts on paper than anything else.
“I am in fear, in awful fear.”- Jonathan Harker
I do believe that Count Dracula’s major role happens in the beginning of the story with poor Harker’s trip to his castle. Even while not having the major interactive presence, the Count is still there in the background causing his terror. He is the fear, the loathing, the doom that surrounds each and every one of the characters. Dracula is causing damage and the day to day journal entries and news stories just adds to the suspense.
Lucy’s character was the one I really felt sorry for. That poor girl, it really was tragic. When Dr. Seward’ and Van Helsing felt confident in their abilities to help her so did I, even though I knew that it was going to end up badly.
I really enjoyed Van Helsing’s curious way of speaking with his most abundant “friend Jon’s” and his fatherly disposition. I wish there were more of Tim Curry actually speaking in this, he was just great.
The book began with fear and ended with fear.
“I began to fear, horrible fears.” ~ Van Helsing.
The aspect that I found boring in the beginning turned into an enthralling storytelling experience. I got to know the makings of each character personally and I really felt sad when the book ended because I would not hear from them again.
Although I loved the movie from the 90s, I do believe the book was better. The ending was totally different and it wasn’t as sexy as Hollywood likes to portray. If you are inclined to read this classic, do so with this audiobook version.