Mina Harker, newly qualified solicitor, was just going to Transylvania to aid in the transfer of property – the Countess is certainly a little unusual but she is also educated and worldly and she certainly appreciates that
Until it becomes clear she’s stumbled onto something very unworldly, one she barely escapes – but when that threat follows her to London she gathers her fellows and is determined to fight
Even while the Countess’s grizzly experiments rise from the grave with her own desperate purpose.
This book has that very elaborate writing that is quite common with a lot of books set in the Victorian era. This does a lot to convey a greater sense of time and place – which did work very well to create that sense of place that these books needed. But it does make for a book that is quite long winded – it does slow the plot down.
This slow speed is a particular problem because, certainly in the beginning, we kind of know what the story is going to be like. Yes, bits have been changed and the book combines both Dracula and Frankenstein. We all know when Mina Harker arrives at Countess Dracula’s castle roughly how this plot is going to play out. Elaborate and beautiful language may be good for the setting – but we know this setting – and it may set the tone but it makes the book very slow to start and get past the basic plot lines we don’t already recognise.
Once we do get past that beginning it develops excellently, weaving the two stories together into a coherent whole. The Countess and her drive to bring back her beloved sister resorts to any means she can – both mystical and “scientific” – regardless of the cost and with her obsessive focus and brilliant intellect, leading to both vampirism and the monster being created.
How the heroes came together to oppose her was decently done, though I do think it was convenient that the poor, discarded Lucy had 3 separate fiances ready to recruit for the cause and that two of them were so well placed to be useful.
Still the group worked really well together – extremely well. And they fought the Countess with dual not so much of might and magic but cunning and traps and resources trying to push each other into a trap without facing the strengths either had (the Countess’s mystical might and all the religious defences the Van Helsing’s group could bring together in response).