Liked It7 of 7 members found this review helpful
“It's time for a break from those romantic vampire stories. This is my favorite book, the very one that inspired me to become a historian. It's nice how the author managed to go back to the original roots of Dracula... A perfect combination of horror and history, this is a must read (in broad daylight)”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It6 of 6 members found this review helpful
“For a Dracula-themed novel, it's hardly "gripping" nor "breathtaking". Nothing that happens in it thrilled nor surprised me. Granted it is intelligently written, but it's also verbose, long-winded and reads like a doctoral dissertation on the 15th century.
“Not as good as I was hoping it would be, but interesting and unique all the same. I enjoyed all the different perspectives and all of the genealogy and research, heck you can take Dracula out and it's just about 3 generations of family trying to learn about each other.”Zombie Katie wrote this review 7 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I greatly enjoyed this read, all 678 pages of it. In fact, it was a page turner and kept my attention. Yes, it had a motif/theme of vampires, and lets face it vampires are in. But this was Vampires for Adults, no Twilight Saga/Series, and it was entrenched in historical archiving and the art of tracing history with conjecture. And it was a love story to my surprise, actually four of them, if you're counting. There were parts to the love story part of it that were breathtaking and beautiful, and the ties between parent and child, lover and lover, mentor and mentee, were moving and inspiring. It really was a historical trace through people and family, and links of history, through moving and living narrative. It was well written, suspenseful, and kept one's attention. I noticed when I selected it from my choice of four given on Linked In, that next to it was the Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I completely understood why they were paired, and they have a similar style. I loved the 13th Tale, by the way, and count it as a favorite. Currently, I am reading the newest Chris Bojahlin, "Secrets of Eden." I'll keep you posted, but i am already enthralled in the first few pages. ”Amy F. wrote this review 13 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The Historian takes Bran Stoker’s Dracula and links him to his historical inspiration: Vlad III, the fifteenth century prince of Wallachia, known as Vlad the Impaler. The narrator is a woman who, at age 16, stumbled across the journal of her father, the story’s protagonist, a former diplomat and professor named Paul. Most of the book is then told from Paul’s point-of-view, either from his journal or conversations with his daughter. It begins when Paul, as a graduate student, discovers a strange book that someone left on his desk in the university library: a small tome the size of a prayer missal with vellum pages that opened to the center, bearing the woodcut design of a winged dragon and a single word: “Drakulya.” The rest of the book’s pages are blank, but they reek of decay and the smell of corrupted flesh.
Paul shows the book to his friend and advisor, Prof. Rossi, who happens to possess a similar copy, both printed in Central Europe in about 1512. Rossi claims the copy was left on his desk as a graduate student, just like Paul’s, and it led him to conduct research on Vlad the Impaler, a tyrant and enemy of the Ottoman Turks. Rossi traveled all the way to Istanbul where he discovered a chilling truth: Vlad Dracula is still alive.
Not long after this revelation, Rossi disappears and the implication is that Dracula, or one of his minions, has taken him. What ensues is Paul’s quest to find his mentor, and to do so, he must find the secret location of Dracula’s tomb. Paul is aided in his quest by a dark-haired beauty named Helen, who turns out to be Rossi’s daughter. Their relationship, and ultimately, lover affair, enriches the story, but it’s their attempt to unravel the historical mystery behind Dracula’s whereabouts that I enjoyed the most.
Paul and Helen’s journey takes them to communist Romania, Istanbul, and ultimately Bulgaria. It is a quest through libraries and ancient tomes, all grounded in the history of Vlad the Impaler and his enmity with the Ottoman Turks. These types of historical mysteries, steeped in religion and legend, are my cup of tea, and despite the novel’s considerable length (my paperback is 676 pages), it captivated me until the end. There are ample dollops of action and suspense, as the vampire’s minions are hunting the heroes, and the ominous threat of Dracula seems ever present. Eventually, the storyline of Paul’s daughter merges with the main storyline as she too gets drawn into the quest to find Dracula’s tomb. Overall, The Historian is a beautifully written novel, with much to offer for both history lovers and Dracula fans, and it stands among my favorites.”
“.....4.5*”Bev wrote this review Friday, October 11, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Never before had I known the sudden quiver of understanding that travels from word to brain to heart, the way a new language can move, coil, swim into the life under the eyes, almost savage leap of comprehension, the instantaneous, joyful release of meaning, the way the words shed their printed bodies in a flash of heat and light. Elizabeth kostova pg 179
My favorite quote so far!”
“Was a bit confusing at first but it ended pretty well.”Kari J wrote this review Wednesday, September 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The first time I tackled it I gave up quickly--finding this a bore. The opinions of friends who have read this novel have been mixed. I know some that think it a great, literate read. Giving this a second try I can understand that. The descriptions of different locations from Amsterdam to Istanbul, from France to Greece and Romania are vivid and evocative; there's some great imagery in the novel. The author obviously did her research on these countries, and on the history and legend of Dracula.
But I still found this hard to get into on second try, with wide stretches I found tedious. I think the basic structure didn't help. This isn't just first person--it's first person inside first person. The main narrative for 650 pages is "as told to" by a girl's father, interspersed with quite a few letters. Although I appreciated the nod to Bram Stoker's Dracula in this structure, at times it wasn't transitioned well and not immediately clear which "I" was telling the story and I never felt the voices were distinct. I also found several points rather implausible--and I don't mean the supernatural aspects--such as all the fuss made about getting a copy of Dracula out of a library or it being dangerous to own when the book can be found in any bookstore. Or how a person could disappear and travel across international boundaries without documentation.
Then there's the unsatisfying ending. Another friend who was enjoying it up to the end told me she wanted to hurl the book against the wall when she found out exactly what it was Dracula wanted. While I wouldn't exactly say I felt the same, I would say the ending seemed pretty anti-climatic in more than one respect after several hundred pages.”
“A fascinating build-up, some good writing, but I was disappointed with the ending.”Jackson Burnett wrote this review Sunday, August 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The best book ever ”Gabie Aguilera wrote this review Wednesday, July 31, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No