Just finished reading Dracula the other day. Absolutely loved it. Why?
1) It's a great story. Yeah, it might not have the pace of a modern novel, and the fear factor might not be up to current standards, but it is still one hell of a story.
2) I loved getting a taste of Victorian culture. I am a history (and economics) teacher and was fascinated by the insights into the technology, language, and thought depicted in the novel. One of my favorite examples were the blood transfusions given to Lucy by Dr Van Helsing. Lucy receives three direct blood transfusions from three different men, and blood typing receives nary a mention. Van Helsing also comments on the potent nature of "male" blood and the positive effect it will have on the weakened Lucy.
3) I feel like I filled on of the many missing gaps in my "must read" list. Dracula is a book I think every fantasy, horror, or thriller fan has to read at some point. It was also the first epistolary novel (it consists entirely of journal entries, letters, telegrams, and newspaper clippings) I have ever read. I had no idea the novel took this form when I picked it up. A cool reading experience.
So what didn't I like? I only have one major complaint about the novel, and that has to do with the (human) characters. With the exception of the insane Renfield, the main characters ridiculously, boringly good. The five male protagonists were uniformly intelligent, brave, and morally upright. The women, Lucy and Mina, were kind, helpful, and supportive, at least until Lucy turned into a vampire. Mina was the perfect, supportive wife, studying stenography and memorizing train schedules to aid her husband in his law career. Adding a few character flaws would have made the story a lot more interesting and could have potentially added a lot of tension to the story.
Overall, I highly recommend Dracula. Read it!
Bonus question: How does Dracula die? Don't cheat and look it up, just tell me how you think Dracula dies.