Read: October 2017
Predating Bram Stoker’ Dracula, Carmilla is the ultimate gothic vampire tale—stylish, menacing, sensual, and spellbinding
You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever.
When a mysterious carriage crashes outside their castle home in Styria, Austria, Laura and her father agree to take in its injured passenger, a young woman named Carmilla. Delighted to have some company of her own age, Laura is instantly drawn to Carmilla. But as their friendship grows, Carmilla’s countenance changes and she becomes increasingly secretive and volatile. As Carmilla’s moods shift and change, Laura starts to become ill, experiencing fiendish nightmares, her health deteriorating night after night. It is not until she and her father, increasingly concerned for Laura’s well-being, set out on a trip to discover more about the mysterious Carmilla that the terrifying truth reveals itself.
I am all about the spooky book during October and Carmilla by J. Sheridon Le Fanu definitely fit the bill! However, I’m a bit disappointed that I read the back of the book while reading the story. I think it was the Wikipedia page I was reading after finishing this book and it talked about how this book is about a vampire and since in this day and age they’re so commonplace in literature that it might be hard for new readers of this book to actually find it spooky. I both agree and disagree with this – I agree because I had loved the atmosphere of the story, the account of young Laura and her new friend who stays at their castle, but then I read the back and it talked about vampires and I realized this was a vampire book. This is why I prefer to go into books without knowing anything about them because I’m sure it would’ve been much more satisfying if I hadn’t known it was about vampires.
I think the most surprising thing about this story is that it’s about vampires before the whole vampire craze actually happened. This was published before Dracula by Bram Stoker and it’s such a good little book at just over 100 pages. I loved the atmosphere and the way it was written, as an account of what happened, rather than a story as it happens. I’m almost tempted to read Dracula to compare and see which is better but I feel like that one would be more in-your-face vampires whereas this one isn’t. It was a really creepy story and it made me want to look more into the history of vampire lore and see where it came from.
I was also interested to check out more of Sheridan Le Fanu’s books and I already ordered a Penguin Little Black Classics edition of Green Tea to try out.
Do you have any favourite vampire books that are deemed classics?