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Editorial Reviews

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.

Publisher's Summary

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)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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Love the Classics!

I have wanted read this book for a while but when I saw it on Audible I decided to listen instead. The story and narration were great and I really enjoyed listening to it during my commute. Dracula is written from several different character's points of view based on their journal entries. I love how the classics can uniquely tell a story and how they use the English language. So different from many books written today that are all similar and laden with clichés, swearing and kindergarten level writing.

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  • jr
  • 04-29-16

Overall great narration.

What did you like best about this story?

I'd never read this (although I've seen remakes), so I was surprised how well it holds up. The story is very slow, but it's an old book, so pacing was different then.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I loved all the narrators except the woman who did Lucy. Her inflection and pitch was grating. Everyone else was amazing, especially Alan Cumming and the woman who did Meena. This is the best narration of an audiobook I've heard, hands far.

Any additional comments?

Really impressed by the narration.

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Incredible

An excellent book performed by highly talented people. Several times I felt the anxiety of the characters. The language of the book seemed to me poetic and of a by gone era. Simply wonderful.

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One All-Star Too Many Mars a Classic

Despite the many vampire books, movies, and TV shows adapting or following it, Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) remains absorbing, suspenseful, and even moving. One of the interesting things about the novel is that Stoker tells the story through "real" letters, diaries, memoranda, telegrams, and newspaper articles written, dictated, and compiled by the eyewitness characters (excluding the Count). In addition to providing thought-provoking perspectives on marriage, sexuality, class, community, culture (east and west), and religion, Stoker's book established numerous vampire rules: aristocratic lineage, superhuman strength and speed, undead immortality, shapeshifting and beast controlling powers, formidable cunning, sensual cruelty, absence of reflection in mirrors, abhorrence of crucifixes and garlic, susceptibility to decapitation and stakes through the heart, sun allergy, etc. And it is complex on gender, containing cringe-inducing lines like, "Why are we women so unworthy of good men?" while developing Mina Harker as its most on the ball and brave character, the real leader of "the Fellowship of the Count," capable of empathizing with Dracula as a "poor soul. . . the saddest case of all."

The novel begins with the young solicitor Jonathan Harker's diary account of his trip from England to Transylvania to help Count Dracula prepare to relocate to London. After receiving the two-fingered sign and the sign of the cross from locals and hearing them mutter about Satan, Hell, werewolves, and vampires, Harker writes with unwitting irony, "I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting. (Mem., I must ask the Count all about them.)" Dracula lives in "a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the sky." He has a cruel mouth, "peculiarly pointed canine teeth," and hair on the palms of his hands and says things like, "Listen to them, the children of the night, what music they make" when wolves are howling. Harker soon realizes that he's Dracula's prisoner and that the Count wants to get among the teeming streets of England for no philanthropic purposes.

Meanwhile, Mina, still Jonathan's fiance, and her best friend Lucy Westrana exchange innocent and romantic letters with ominous overtones, and Dr. Seward, one of Lucy's suitors, records his journal on phonograph cylinders, mulling over a charismatic patient in his lunatic asylum, a "homicidal zoophagous maniac" called Renfield who eats flies, spiders, and sparrows and says he's waiting for "the Master" to show up.

Having experienced many of the vampire-themed works of popular culture, I did at times hear the joints of their granddaddy creak. I found myself muttering, "Pay attention to the peasants, Harker!" Or "Quincey P. Morris' slang, trigger-happy bat shooting, and Winchesters are a little too 'American.'" Or "Good grief, guys--you know about Lucy and you know that Dracula's set up housekeeping right next door and you've found Mina to be at least as intelligent and brave as a man and yet to spare her from trauma you exclude her from your counsels and leave her alone at night without placing any garlic flowers around her bed?"

But more often I thought things like, "I want a paprika recipe or a twelve inch, nail studded, Slovak leather belt." Or "Those are some sublime sunset mountains." Or "I'd be in trouble if Dracula's brides cornered me on a sofa." Or "The count crawling head first down his castle wall like a lizard is creepy." Or "Poor Renfield is unforgettable." Or "The polygamous implications of taking or giving blood are interesting." Or "Kids really do incorporate scary and gruesome events and situations into their play." Or "This snow-swirling, wolf-howling, gypsy-fleeing, party-converging mountain scene is exciting and nearly recalls The Lord of the Rings!"

There are plenty of neat lines in Dracula, like these:

--"She makes quite a beautiful corpse"
--"The attitude of the two had a terrible resemblance to a child forcing a kitten's nose into a saucer of milk to compel it to drink."
--"You might as well ask a man to eat molecules with a pair of chopsticks, as to try to interest me about the lesser carnivera, when I know what is before me."
--"It is a strange world."

I just listened to the Audible "all-star cast" audiobook of Dracula. Alan Cumming is fine as Dr. Seward; he doesn't really change his sensitive, slightly raspy voice to perform different characters when speaking for Renfield, Dracula, Mina, etc. in Seward's diary, but convincingly expresses their different emotions. Simon Vance is OK as Jonathan Harker, Susan Duerden suitably soft and weak as Lucy Westenra, and Tim Curry great as Van Helsing. Unfortunately, Katherine Kellgren over-reads Mina Harker, often emphasizing words that don't merit the extra attention ("ONE LONG granite wall stretching out to sea") and imposing a circular rhythm onto Stoker's prose ("I do not remember ANYthing until the MORNing when Jonathan WOKE me"). I recoiled from her strident sections.

Another problem with this production is that because multiple characters write Van Helsing's utterances in their diaries, multiple readers variously speak the Dutch doctor's lines: Cumming uses his Dr. Seward voice, Vance a pseudo Germanic one with "v" for "w," and Kellgren a thick ersatz Russian (?) accent. Stoker only signals that Van Helsing is speaking English as a second language through foreign syntax and grammar, so I wish Vance and Kellgren had tried to approximate Curry's mild accent.

If you like the vampire or supernatural adventure genres, you should read this seminal novel, but I'd recommend the superb audiobook with Greg Wise reading the men's documents and Saskia Reeves the women's rather than the Audible one.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!

I went in expecting to be oh so bored as I often am with so-called classics. I thought I'd quit after a few chapters. But this book was not at all the chore to read I was expecting, especially with this talented cast reading it. Recommending to friends and looking forward to going through it again inside a year or two.

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Incredible Performance!

The ensemble performance fits very well with the style of the book being a series of letters and journals from various characters. This was a very fun and engaging presentation of a true classic.

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Dracula

The performance by the cast is great, Alan Cummings plays an excellent Dr. Seward, the voice actor's for Jonathan Harker & Abraham Van Helsing are incredible. The only thing close to a bad performance is the voice actor for Lucy is nearly unbearable at times, it's a mix of an extremely odd cadence and an almost soap-opera-esque feel to it.

The story is a Victorian gothic novel, so expect a lot of antiquated terms, sometimes difficult to follow statements, and an overall sexist and racist overtone to most of the speech around the women and the foreigners of the novel. That said its a book of its time, with all the beautiful and meandering speech, occasionally one-dimensional characters, and overall a tone of a time gone by. That all might sound negative but I like this book, and this is a really good version of this book read aloud.

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What can I say?? It's a classic for a reason.

I really can't comment on the book itself because It's classic but it was different "reading" a book written in 1897. The cadence is different from how we speak now which caused the story line to drag at times.

The actors though???? AWESOME. Alan Cumming was amazing. Highly recommend.

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Fantastic Cast

Where does Dracula [Audible Edition] rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This audiobook is one of the best I've ever listened to. The full cast, as opposed to a single narrator, makes it a much more enjoyable experience.

What did you like best about this story?

Alan Cumming as Dr. Seward, Tim Curry as Van Helsing, and the voice actress for Mina Harker were all phenomenal.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've only seen Tim Curry and Alan Cumming in various shows and movies, but hearing them in these roles was very nice.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I definitely understand why Dracula is a horror novel. There were several moments that actually scared me. But I also cried during a few points for the main characters.

Any additional comments?

There's a problem with the audio where, in a few places, a section that has just been done will be repeated.

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Loved every minute!

I loved this all so much! It was so amazing! Great acting and great story!