The first four chapters set the stage for what you expect "Dracula" to be. It is ancient culture, unknown customs, and little understood history. It is excitement about learning something new. What won't be realized is that in this book, the action takes the form of building anticipation rather than physical action or confrontation. For me, this was the ruination of a classic book.
I have never seen any version of Dracula in film, so was not familiar with the actual story. Like the rest of us, I did have a vision of who Dracula was supposed to be. Mysterious, majestic, dangerous, and maybe even slightly erotic. Within the book, most of that persona was absent.
I've finally finished reading Dracula by Bram Stoker (Kindle version). There are some positive aspects to the book, again, most of them being in the first few chapters; however, the story itself is told well. The very effective narrative is told through journals, letters, telegrams and the doctor's wax cylinder phonograph. The story is told from four viewpoints, which combine to give a well rounded full account of everyone's moves. The reader becomes intimate with the characters because there are so few, and because of the pathos in their writings. It is a story of emotions.
What the story can't do is rescue the reader from hoping they are near the end. There are strong moments of tension where you just know that any minute now, something is going to happen. Nothing ever does. It is simply a game of cat and mouse. Only once does the group come face to face with the count; there is one slash of a knife, and then Dracula runs away. You assume that this is the initial tease of greater things to come. No.
I wavered back and forth throughout the entire book, one minute really enjoying myself then wanting to throw the book across the room. Determination was the only thing that saw me through in the end. Finally the end did come, and I am still ambivalent. If asked whether or not to spend the time reading "Dracula," I have to say- No, don't bother. It satisfied a curiosity, but that was all.