Friday, October 31, 2014

"The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova

Tilt your head to the right- see the face?
It's interesting that I never saw the face on the cover of this book until I was packing it away for the move to Idaho. Whenever I thought of this book I always saw the red curtains with a piece of parchment in between- perhaps it was meant to look like that? Anyway, I found this cover more intriguing when I finally saw the face- I had actually read it and never saw that.

The Historian was one of my first vampire reads, besides the ubiquitous Twilight. I had planned to reread this when I first started book blogging back in April, but never got around to it until now. Something about it struck a note with me when I read it as a teen, and I hoped to relive that by rereading it.

The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history…
'Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.'

In a way, this is almost a travel book- you get to see a lot of tourist destinations in Europe through the diplomat's daughter's eyes, something many books lack. The settings are what I think appealed most to me, as a native Montanan teenager with who took only brief excursions to neighboring states and constantly dreamed of other places. Although I liked it and still see the benefits of this as an adult, a lot of what bogs this book down is the constant travelling and descriptions that don't really play into the plot.

It should also be mentioned that the events of this book takes place during the Cold War Era, despite much of the research that Sophia and her father do covering the medieval period when Vlad the Impaler was alive and/or buried. There are certain times when it's pertinent to the story, but in the beginning we learn Sophia is looking back on these events after more than a few years. So, a lot of time plays into this book- due to the lives of various historians and their work overlapping.

I think what makes this book a four star read, for me, is the ending. It's rare for a reader to find such a satisfying one that gives you both a glimpse of the future and of the past. Although the journey is riveting once past a certain point, there are areas that could have been condensed or thrown out altogether. The destination is almost a bit better than the journey in this book's case- a rarity indeed.

The Historian is an immense historical conspiracy with an ending that supersedes its vast page count. Even though it lulls at points, it would prove an interesting read for anyone who'd like a historical fiction on Vlad the Impaler or Dracula. If you like vampires, historical fiction, and conspiracy theories, and don't mind a bulky book, The Historian may be your kind of read.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent, if a bit long-winded, historical fiction of Dracula.

Content: Ages 16+ for violence and bloodsucking.

Page Count: 642 pages in my weighty hardcover edition

Some of the Locations in this Book:

Happy Halloween! I hope squirrels didn't eat your jack-o-lanterns, like they did my best one:

My cute Cheshire cat Jack-o-Lantern.

My ugly squirrel-eaten Cheshire cat grin Jack-o-Lantern with no eyes or nose. See top Jack-o-Lantern.


  1. I read this one about 5 years ago, and remember being quite excited about it at first, but started to lose interest when I was about halfway through ...

    1. I reread this one, and it didn't impress me as much as an adult because of the lack of anything (except traveling) really happening. A lot of readers on Goodreads think it would be better with less pages, and I have to agree- some of the plot points could have been skipped entirely. But I still really liked the book because of what the author did with Vlad the Impaler- by the end of the book I felt I knew him. If you're into vampires and such, it's worth a read, but otherwise it probably isn't popular reading because of its page count.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
      ~Litha Nelle


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