**SPOILERS APLENTY AHEAD**
it's less scary than I'd expect. No gratuitous violence, gore, or jumping-out-from-dark-corners.
it's totally nonsexual. Since it's told from the viewpoint of a teenage girl, I feared the whole Dracula comes for the innocent maiden thing.
the voices are distinct. Everybody gets to tell their story, from a fifteenth-century monk to a half-infected vampire heiress, to a range of historians (any of whom could be the title character, but I think are not - it's the girl).
it's more academic than story-ish. The idea is that we are dissecting a myth and following it to its source to see if we can end it. But the idea of vampire hunting implies a different feeling. Altogether this was a story of pity and remorse, of growing into new roles (action from the researcher, strength from the protected one, honesty from the secretive).
I read it because it was recommended, and I finished it (which says something about what's there as well as what isn't). I didn't love it, and I didn't feel like it was compelling until the last hundred (of 775) pages - with one exception. Someone has to kill a friend who is infected by a vampire bite but is not yet fully undead. That scene is tender, heart-touching, and spare. Nothing gratuitous. And those last hundred pages were good - intense, a little scary, but not nightmare-inducing. I'm thinking 2.5 stars (out of five).