Jul 15, 12
Read in May, 2010
I read this book right after it came out. I'm a huge fan of Kostova's debut novel, The Historian, so I was eager to see what her sophomore novel would do.
It's not as good as her debut. I'll just get that over with. Because of that, I liked it less the first time around. I kept thinking of Marlon Brando's character from Don Juan de Marco as I read the narrator, which was distracting. I didn't find particularly compelling as a character. I also ended the book frustrated, feeling as if Kostova led the reader on as she gestured at paranormal elements only to write them off as psychosis.
I picked the book up about a year later and enjoyed it much more the second time around. Read out of the shadow of its predecessor, without the expectations of the paranormal aspects of Kostova's first book, The Swan Thieves is actually a delightfully subtle story of artistic mania. The characters are all very well thought out and Kostova does and excellent job of mixing the present with the past with epistolary letters--a convention that is becoming her trademark as a writer. Thought not quite as riveting as The Historian, The Swan Thieves is good fun overall.