Jennuineglass's Reviews > The Historian

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
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's review
Mar 28, 2012

it was ok
Read from April 29 to June 10, 2012

The Historian was a book I had looked forward to reading for quite some time. Despite its heft at over 700 pages I eagerly cracked into it and figured I would have it done in no time.

I was wrong.

When you read the summary of the book it sounds like it should zoom by, a globe traversing epic hunt of an academic nature for Vlad Teps, aka Dracula, but instead this book often got mired down in its own prose. I think with a brutal editor this book could have cut down about 200 pages and been a better read. It does a cross generational POV that is weighty and unneccesary. The story would have stood on its own from just one perspective. But instead it is a flashback between the daughter's current time perspective and a retelling of what happened to her father many years ago that ultimately (703 pages later) explains why her mother is not present in her life.

Spoiler on the nature of Dracula and how it all ties together (view spoiler)

There is nothing wrong with this book, I wanted to like it, I feel like I should have liked it more. Its beautifully descriptive with interesting locations, intriguing characters, sub-plots, secret organizations, and even a little gore. But I always found that after about 40 pages my eyes would grow heavy and I wanted to doze off. Additionally the main story line was somewhat predictable, in that I pieced it together well before it was revealed. In the interim the reader is subjected to yet another library, more fluffy "history" cobbled together from an old (15th century) letter found in some dusty library. This story reads very much like an academic scholar who wanted to revel in the useless knowledge they had garnered in their post graduate work, so they wrote a book instead of a thesis...for that reason it got two stars instead of three.
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Reading Progress

04/30/2012 page 170
06/08/2012 page 503
69.0% "The summer and the writing style of this book have really slowed me down. Its so lulling in its writing style that I find myself falling asleep against my will as opposed to burning the midnight oil to finish it. As I told a friend, this would be a good audio book, so you could close your eyes and envision the people on their journey."
06/10/2012 page 734
100.0% "phew done, what a slog. review to done later."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Oh no, it did not live up to the hype. Grat's on finishing.

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