I love it when books surprise you. Not with just a simple plot twist, but when the whole novel surprises you, through characters, the writing style, the plot. And Dracula did this for me.
Saying that, I didn't go in with many expectations. I knew it was a horror classic, often paired with Frankenstein, and of course, everyone knows about the Count. But I didn't expect there to be a whole team of characters each narrating pieces of the story. I expected Lucy to be in far more of the book, but instead we had Mina, a strong woman who, to the end of the novel, battled on and aided the team as much as any of the other characters. There was wise Van Helsing (far less warrior-like than I expected), gallant Quincey, emotional John Harker, gentlemanly Arthur. The team made the story. I'd go as far to say more than Dracula did.
I'm not entirely sure why I went so long without reading this. The immersive writing and, in part, humorous writing really made the novel for me. It led to two 1am nights, where I couldn't quite bring myself to put it down. Although, at first, hesitant about the journal-entry narration from different characters, it worked surprisingly well. It puts the interconnected narration in Game of Thrones to shame.
Definitely a classic, but one that does not seem overly dated. It's still an adventure story, with a faithful team and many heroics. Favourite Quote:
Dr Seward: I am satisfied that Lucy's body is not in that coffin; but that only proves one thing.
Helsing: And what is that, friend John?
Dr Seward: That it is not there.