23 November, 2017

REVIEW: CARMILLA by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Title: Carmilla
Author: J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Series: -
Genres: Classics, Vampires
Publisher: Wildside Press
Release: 1872
Source: Audiobook
Pages: 108

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A classic Victorian vampire novella, which influenced Bram Stoker's later treatment of the vampire mythos in Dracula.

Hannah's Review

EXPECTATIONS: This book was part of buddy read and because we decided to read two classics in November we went with first one being short. Also this book inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula!

THE WORLD: Old period times that are main setting of majority of classics. Basically we are located in small country side where a wealthy father lives with his daughter. They are rather isolated from the rest of the world and so for a time being they are each others company. However, one evening a carriage accidents happens just outside their doorstep and so they end up taking one of passengers in as a ward. It's the time when you have all these formal politeness and instant friendships but what really intrigued me was the fact that for ones the story was about two women who were not used only as stupid and pretty props. 

CHARACTERS: As I already this book features two young women as main characters. Laura is rather naive and easily fulled girl who is most of all lonely. Therefore when Carmilla comes upon their doorstep she befriends her with open heart. It was kinda insta friendship for me but that is typical for classics I think. It is not that Laura is a stupid character, she actually does have an opinion and is an active character in the story but she has these few flaws I could not ignore. Carmilla on the other hand for me was a very passive character. She answers Laura's friendship but at the same time she is this pure angelic girl that seems to be a carcass rather than a real person. Needless to say I was not a big fan of Carmilla. 


GOOD: I can totally see how Stoker was inspired by this book and how very much his Dracula is based on this vampire story. Also there was no woman on woman hate that is often present in classics.

BAD: It read like a summary rather than an actual book. There are so many gaps and so little actual development that often I found myself confused. Many characters are not really explained, like why happened what happened who was that and that character really. Also I did not like the way how you become a vampire. 

OVERALL: I think it was an interesting read just to see what inspired Stoker to write his legendary Dracula but if you are not a fan of Dracula or vampires in general I would not necessary recommend it. 

Martyna's Review

EXPECTATIONS: Hannah and I decided to take this as our buddy read to become aware of what inspired Bram Stoker to write Drakula. This book was short it was about vampires, so sold!

THE WORLD: The book is set in Austria or somewhere near here if I'm not mistaken, in small village in a period setting, long dresses, horses, long walks, balls etc. A rather wealthy older man is living in a big house with his only daughter, they have servants, friends, other village people like them, so everything is good and well until one day a carriage breaks down right in front of their house and as any hospitable gentleman, the man of the house offers to take the unconscious carriage passenger in as a ward.

CHARACTERS: Our main character and the narrator of the novel is the young innocent, kind hearted daughter of the wealthy gentlemen - Laura. Right away we get to know what happened to her mother, what is the relationship between her and her father, with her servants and other town folk. She is curious, she is open minded and welcomes everything. I think this is the result of growing up with a father who adores her. So anyway, I have to apologize I do not remember the name of Laura's father, but I liked him too, he was just a good man taking care of his estate and daughter. So he and Laura represent this human mortal side of humanity I think, the people who like to live in peace.

Of course that changes when Carmilla enters their lives. We are automatically reminded that Laura had a dream when she was young where she a woman biting her, and when she meets Carmilla she recognizes her as the woman from her dream! Carmilla says the same things, that she 'dreamed' of Laura. Cool right? Well not really! But I will get to this later. Anyway, I had huge expectations for Carmilla being the female vampire, the woman who is doomed to life forever and kill for stay alive! However, I was disappointing by the portrait I received. She was dull, kind of a bully and just plain boring. She didn't have basically anything that would capture you from the beginning. She was extremely beautiful. I guess I understand thinking about that the author was like one of the first people writing about vampires and now we are just spoiled with them being something magnificent! In general I liked the concept of her backstory but again I will come back to this later.

Honestly, we do have some more characters in this book, but they are really just passing characters that either appear to tell something or provide a connection. Which I didn't mind, I thought that was good.

ROMANCE: I guess none.

GOOD: The idea of a female vampire! Also the idea how one becomes a vampire was also very unique and interesting to me. What I love, this book that was written in 19th century, that had both female leads and one was a vampire? Can we just stop and discuss how cool and badass the author was?! I also liked the backstory (kind of) of Carmilla....if it was ever mentioned again!

BAD: So the main issue I had with this book was that a lot of plot and sub plots were mentioned once and never brought up again. I mean in the beginning Carmilla has a mother and then she is just never mentioned again :D I mean, who is this woman? Is she her real mother? Is she a vampire? I have so many questions! Also the backstory for Camilla. So Laura and the gang finds a painting of this duchess Mircalla, that is a spitting image of Carmilla, everyone kind of assumes she is her descendant.  But that's it! There is no reveal, where did Carmilla come from, how did she became a vampire, where is the mother? :D I refuse to let this go!!! Or like, did Carmilla come to Laura because she had an eye on her from when she was a child? What did their dream about each other mean? Nothing like that is explained. There were so many places where things were just left unresolved that I was very angry and annoyed :D I need answers!

OVERALL: It was an OK read, I wouldn't re-read it, but I can definitely see where Stoker took the idea for Dracula, because there were places in Carmilla, that you clearly could see the parallels between the books. But in any case, if you are interested go read this book. It's short, you won't spent much time on it, and you will know the original inspiration for Dracula!

What do you think about CARMILLA?



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