Followers of the popular vampire literary and film interpretations of recent years might be blasé about another performance of the exquisitely written novel that started it all. But listening to this full-cast performance turns out to be remarkably suspenseful and chilling. The superlative cast lends this powerful production the diversity that is required by the structure of the novel, which includes journal entries and letters. Each actor employs various accents, infusing into the characters vibrant emphasis, urgency, and dread. The famed vampire Count Dracula leaves a swath of exsanguinated bodies in his wake as he attempts to relocate from Transylvania to England in 1897, stalked by the brave Van Helsing.
Audie Award, Distinguished Achievement in Production, 2013
Audie Award, Multi-voiced Performance, 2013
Audie Award Nominee, Classic, 2013
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
Public Domain (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Listening to this full-cast performance turns out to be remarkably suspenseful and chilling…The superlative cast lends this powerful production the diversity that is required by the structure of the novel…Each actor employs various accents, infusing into the characters vibrant emphasis, urgency, and dread." (AudioFile)
oh-ho-ho-ho! if you're tired of the glut of modern vampire literature, and want something to really sink your teeth into (har har), look no further. nobody sparkles here, vampires are not sexy-but-slightly-pale people from 1860-something, and there's no vampire politics.
what you will get is the slow, tortuous reveal of a true monster. everything about the count is properly horrible. no extra blood and gore are necessary. little details are painstakingly added up, the characters slowly work through the perplexing evidence, and even though we all know the answers, you can't help but be mesmerized. by the time you get a good solid look at Dracula your skin is probably crawling.
the many voiced narration worked well with the original format of the book: the different voices helped remind me who's diary entry / letter / etc I was listening to. (I personally found Lucy's narration to be a little tedious, but it's so thoroughly in character that maybe I just found Lucy tedious...).
I've made it through 40 years without having to read this story. but when i saw the cast on this (katherine kellgren is one of my favorite narrators) along with well known actors like tim curry and alan cummings, i was instantly curious. i know this is one of those books i'd have slogged through and hated every moment of it. but listening to them perform the story, i was hooked the entire way through. definitely the version to listen to if you want to experience dracula the way it should be experiened!
That's a tough question to answer since it really depends on the reader/listener and their own personal preferences but for me the audio edition was far superior. I've spent many years picking up and putting down this book, hoping to finish it each time and failing miserably. With this audio edition I was finally able to finish it and understand why so many people (myself included now) loved it.
There were many memorable moments within this novel, some of them more exciting than others, but for me the scene that has stayed with me the longest is the news report of the doomed ship Demeter. It's chilling, not only because of its description but because you begin to realize that even if all the puzzle pieces are laid out for the characters, it's going to take a good while for anyone to make sense of them.
Dr. Seward as performed by Alan Cumming was easily my favorite. Not only was a good chunk of the novel told through his journal entries but Cumming's performance infused a sense of growing urgency that kept me coming back for more.
I might very well be in the minority in this but I have to admit that I found the first third of this book to be a bit dry and, at times, outright boring. Most of the action takes place later in the book with plenty of set-up leading the way and while normally I wouldn't mind I still found myself wondering whether or not skipping forward a bit would be a bad thing. Having listened to it all, however, I will say that while I'm glad I didn't skip the first time, I'll definitely be skipping parts on the next listen.
This is was first audiobook and so far my favorite. I have listened to some chapters over three time since.
I love how each character has their own voice. Chapter 7 was my favorite
Jonnathan. His experience in Dracula's castle
I wish I had gone into this with no knowledge of traditional vampire lore or Dracula himself. The storytelling is great. The performances of the multi-voice cast are also pretty excellent. I found this one hard to listen to, though, for some reason I can't explain. After about 15 minutes, my mind would wander. It felt kinda like the audial equivalent of a really dry book.
If you are looking for an audio version of Dracula do not pass this one by!!! In three years of downloading books from audible this is one of the best performances of a book that I have come across. The performers include some of the best in the business. It is an absolute treat to hear them narrate this great story. I purchased this book to excite my boys about classic literature. (They are ages 10 and 13.) This performance has more than done the job. My eldest used to Harry Potter and The Lightning Thief comments that this is one of the best books he has ever experienced. My youngest has been able to follow the story with enthusiasm even though some of the vocabulary is above his head. I believe the expressiveness of the performers lends a great deal to the understanding. We have sat spellbound for hours listening with the boys always begging for a few minutes more. The performance and brilliant story together are nothing less than thrilling. I cannot recommend this performance highly enough!
I found the book to be very well performed. However, even though I have previously read the book, I found it a bit harder to listen to than to read. I think because of the switching of characters, I had to concentrate a bit more on what was being said. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that since I tend to listen to books while doing other things, that the book pulled a little more focus than I would have liked. This is definitely a book for classic horror fans when they have some free time to do nothing but listen!
Looks like my protector dog.
Well, it depends. I am "a reader" so I always start with the book, usually. But there are certain books that are very much improved by listening. E.G. would you rather read Shakespeare or listen to an audio production? Would you rather read Alan Ginsberg or listen to him, in his own words. Enough said.
I would definitely read another book from Bram Stoker. Dracula is a masterpiece.
The narrators are another story. The male voice actors are fine. Some are great, others are OK. Unfortunately most of the material is read too fast, which takes away from the experience. The real problem are the female voice actors. They are simply unbearable. They read in an monotone drone that sounds like a flight attendant announcement and make the stupidest voices when they try to imitate men. I was incredibly excited to read this full cast version, but the female voice actors just ruined it all for me.
Whoever cast the female voices should be flogged. They are the worst narrators I ever heard so far. Whoever supervised this recording should also be flogged. Somebody should have told the narrators to slow down.
Having read Dracula over a couple of decades ago, I found this audiobook version both refreshing and authentic to Bram Stoker's original text. The stellar cast of narrators, especially Simon Vance as Jonathan Harker, is merely the sweet icing on the well-written cake. My only precautionary note is don't buy this on the much touted (and justified) talents of Alan Cumming and Tim Curry alone. They aren't in it as much as you might be led to believe.
"Frankenstein Assemblage From Anaemic All-Star Cast"
Very disappointed with this version of Dracula; I was looking to spend a credit wisely, but was regretting it within 30 mins. What could possibly go wrong? A stellar cast, the promised restitution of the horror and power missing in so many other productions, and all the 'campiness' and creepy music erased. For me, however, much of the narration seems decidedly lacklustre, rather careless even, lacking the much vaunted drive and tension in numerous sections: in short it seems to lack direction. To me, it seems not to have been directed at all but 'divvied up' and then reassembled. One of the female characters speaks throughout in the same simpering and numbing three-note cadence, while one character accent, from the North East of England sounds suspiciously as if modelled on Daphne out of 'Frasier'. Editing choices militate against any build in tension: pauses are chopped out, sentences butt up against each other as if there was a shortage of 'tape'. Wish I'd gone for one of the single narrator versions or the BBC dramatized version.
"Horror well done."
I love Bram Stokers "Dracula" of which I have many audiobook versions. Personally I find the multiple cast members bring a whole new world to the characters and story pace, rather than a lone narrator. Some of the accents and pronunciations are a little off, but I like the quirkiness and professionalism of this audiobook.
"It's a cliche beater!"
The full cast narration was one of the best features of this audiobook. All accomplished and convincing audio actors, they do a great job of establishing empathy with the characters and creating a real sense of impulsion to the story. I expected cliched and over played 'horror' story. The reality was much more subtle and engaging. There was nothing not to like!
The most interesting aspect of the plot was the team of individuals that came together to bring Dracula down. Least interesting were the somewhat forced plugs given to the 'surprising' ability of a woman who masters both shorthand and typewriting to help her husband with his work!
The ghost ship sailing into port. Fabulous tension.
Yes. I went so far as to hire the DVD of the 1998 film. What a travesty! Camped up and totally unwatchable.
Oh God Yes!
It is beautifully true to the original. Their was a sense of the times delivered in the performances. The atmosphere was also deliciously conveyed in the audio background.
The nature of the book is too have many perspectives and each of the narrators/actors was wonderful in their delivery. It is also very refreshing and dynamic to have the different voices journey you through the story.
This is a classic that will be revisited several times in my life.
"Well worth listening to"
Everyone has heard of Dracula. Everyone has seen at least one film, But how many people have bothered with the original book?
This a great retelling of the original with the cast delivering excellent performances. There are some genuinely creepy elements to the book which explains why it grabbed the imagination, However, I also found the character of Lucy irritating which does take away a bit from the story, However I would recommend that you try this if you want to find out what the fuss is about and why it is a classic
Twilight it's not. Thank goodness.
I had never read the book and my only knowledge of the story is the 1990 film starring Gary Oldman which I hadn't particularly enjoyed.
As is often the case the book is actually so much better. A tense and horrifying tale that had me on the edge of my seat throughout and shutting the window and checking under the bed at night!
Brought to life by an excellent cast, Tim Curry as Van Helsing stood out for me particularly although all the voice actors did an amazing job at building the tension.
"In many way's great, in other ways not so great"
Alan Cumming's Dr Seward, and John Lee's (other persons) performances are great. I also enjoyed Simon Vance's Johnathan Harker. The whole thing comes together very well, with exception to only a few irritations.
Difficult to say, as most audio books I've heard have only one performer, or narrator. Being rather fond of John Lee, as a narrator, and with consideration to another 'classic,' a revenge masterpiece in this case, I would strongly recommend The Count of Monte Cristo. However, it's a very long, unabridged listen (50+ hrs), compared to this much shorter, unabridged audio book (c15hrs).
Alan Cumming's Dr Seward
I never do - always too many hours to sit through!
I wasn't terribly keen on the female parts of this particular narration. Perfectly clear, and well read, however the characterisation in no way appealed to me. I thought for a while that Mina Murray/Harker (Katy Kellgren) and Lucy Westenra (Susan Duerden) were performed by the same person, there being only minor character alterations between the two, regarding tone and voice. More discernibly different voice actors in this case would have helped this particular version enormously. Susan Duerden's 'Lucy,' of the two female performers in this case, was the most annoying.
"Classic horror with multiple voices"
The basic story of Dracula is probably familiar to most, but it is the central concept that stays longest in the mind after reading/listening. To be fair the plot loses steam at various moments and the characters are fairly flat, but the vampire and Transylvania as a setting have had so much impact on Twentieth Century culture that this book needs to read by everyone at least once just to see where it all came from. And I can't think of a better way to do that than listening to this audio-book. The book is narrated by various voices, so likewise this audio-book is read by a different narrator for each character, such as Alan Cumming for Seward and Time Curry as Van Helsing. This works very well, the multiple voices really adding something extra to sustain interest - this really is one of the most enjoyable audio-books I have listened to: A massively influential book read very well - highly recommended.
"Will disturb your sleep"
As preparation for a project set in Whitby I downloaded Bram's Stoker's classic "Dracula' to as useful way of getting a feel for the place. This is a very unnerving story and rather than providing me with local colour on Whitby, the novel kept me awake for 3 nights as I became fixated with the plot and characters. It does not matter how many second rate horror movies have been made of this story, the original does not fail to chill. Stoker's detail and multi-vocal perspective seems innovative and designed to entrap the reader. Read with restraint and precision by an able cast, this is a must listen.
"Great all star cast production"
I would listen again, its a great story that is very well voiced. As the novel is written/read as journal/diary entries, letters and news reports; I feel that it suits book form rather than audiobook.
That said, the cast did an excellent job and put the emotion and suspense in the story. I found Lucy Wisteria's voice very jarring but soon got used to her.
The multiple actors, this helped separate the different 'authors' of the letters/diary entries
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