Book Review: The Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker

cover for the lair of the white worm
© Penguin, 2008.


“When Adam Salton arrives at his grand-uncle’s Derbyshire estate he quickly senses that a macabre and malevolent force is at work. In his attempts to uncover the grisly mystery he encounters the chilling Lady Arabella and the obsessive Edgar Caswall, each harbouring their own dark and dreadful desires.

To his horror, Adam discovers that something hideous is living in the grounds of nearby Castra Regis, something that feeds on the flesh of humans. And so begins a terrifying quest to destroy the evil lurking in their midst…” (Source: Goodreads)


I read Dracula at a fairly young age as one of my earliest forays into horror. When a group on Litsy suggested we do a buddy read on The Lair of the White Worm, I quickly joined in. Needless to say, I feel like I wasted more time than I should have. The odd thing is, I still wanted to know what happened to the main villains of the story, and so I continued on. After completing the book, I can honestly say it’s not worth reading. Unless you like mongooses and staring contests – but that’s all I’ll divulge on this matter.

For those that pay attention to my reviews, character development is a pretty big thing for me. In The Lair of the White Worm, it is next to non-existent. You meet the main characters, yes. You meet the main antagonists, yes. But what do you actually know about them? Honestly, not a whole lot. Even at the end of the book, I had little idea who the characters were beyond their names.

The plot moves at a snail’s pace, taking careful measures to include a bunch of nonsense that really doesn’t fit. Such as mongooses. They’re brought into the story for a reason, but that reason isn’t important enough to remain a steady factor throughout. Characters fall in love, but the way and the how is left to the imagination. These types of gaps really perturb me.

As if the character development and plot weren’t bad enough, Stoker goes out of his way to show his racism. I get it. Racism was rampant during the time Stoker wrote this book. There are also many other racist authors from around the same time period, but it isn’t so fully shoved down your throat as it is in The Lair of the White Worm. I almost dropped it for that reason, but as my readers know I tend to need an extremely boring piece of work or one overly filled with errors to abandon it. That said, I feel that if Stoker had left his own feelings out of this book and focused on the horrifying aspects of a giant worm living under a bunch of estates, it might have turned out a lot better. The Lair of the White Worm is little more than garbage – and that’s saying a lot for me.

Rating: 💀

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