IT’S ALMOST HALLOWEEN!!!!!!
I love October. It’s the only month of the year we really get nice weather here in Texas, I love Halloween decorations, I love costumes, and I love candy. Plus, college football. October is just the best.
It’s pretty fitting that our October theme is paranormal novels. Paranormal and Halloween go together like milk and cookies.
For me, personally, I like my paranormal creatures best when they’re monsters. I’m not a big fan of wishy-washy vampires with feelings, or werewolves who are “good guys”, or cutsie friendly witches. Except Harry Potter, obviously. I prefer creepy, scary, or at the very least evil. So that was something to keep in mind when choosing the best.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I chose Dracula for a couple of reasons. Partly because it’s the first major vampire novel, partly because it’s written in such a unique way, partly because I love the characters, and partly because, well, vampires. But mostly because the first time I read it, Dracula scared the crap out of me.
Like, seriously, I was having such bad nightmares that I had to stop reading at night.
What’s so terrifying about Dracula is the tone. The characters have no idea what is happening to them, and it’s creepy and disturbing and scary as heck. And even though you as the reader know exactly what is happening, that fear of the unknown really penetrates the entire novel.
Plus, Dracula is a fearsome foe. A lot of times in movies and books (and Buffy…) vampires come across pretty easy to kill. Like, just stake them through the heart, nbd. But Dracula is a cunning man, in addition to a terrifying monster, and our heroes have a hard time even finding him. And even once they do, they have to tread carefully because he’s dangerous and they’re just regular people. And unlike in so many modern novels, regular people aren’t particularly equipped to handle the most deadly monster known to mankind.
But aside from all the terrifyingness, Dracula is just well written. It’s got a little adventure and a little romance. The characters are spunky and lovable and moody and everything in between. I really connected with them, especially Mina, the main heroine. Which, while we’re at it, Dracula is also slightly on the early feminist side. Mina, while not allowed to go on the actual vampire slaying trips, is essential to their investigation and openly acknowledged as the smartest of them. Which is why, in the end, Dracula ends up targeting HER. To strike fear into his enemies, and to severely handicap them. The race to the finish, when Mina’s life is on the line, really gets your pulse going, despite its lack of fast cars and guns.
Of all the monster novels, Dracula is hands down my favorite. While I’m as open as the next person to discussing that nobody is pure evil, I find it much more fun when the monsters ARE. I enthusiastically recommend Dracula this October to anyone who loves scary novels or monsters.
Calendar Girls Books is a monthly discussion hosted by Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile and Melanie at MNBernard Books. To find out more about the Calendar Girls, visit either of their October picks. Here’s Flavia’s and Melanie’s.
Our chat will be on Sunday October 15th at 8 EST.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone else picked, and maybe adding some more books to my TBR!