Belinda's Reviews > The Historian

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
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Sep 05, 07

bookshelves: contempopop, braincandy, intrigue, mystery, spooky
Read in September, 2007

Re-read, because I realized I never finished it the first time around (had surgery and read partially while post-op stupid).

I would actually rather give this one 3.5 or 3.75 stars, but I'll err on the side of generosity because it's a first novel, and I have a serious "thing" for first novels. I just love them.

This one is a very interesting study of a novelist finding her feet. The start is awkwardly voiced--it's difficult to sort out, at first, when the narrative voice belongs to the narrator and when it belongs to her father, because there aren't any clues, not even quotation marks, to set apart the parts of the story being told to our narrator by her father. Once that gets sorted out, the pace picks up and it really rolls along for most of the rest of the book.

I definitely enjoyed the first 3/4 of this novel more than the final 1/4, and find it interesting (and possibly telling) that the major award won by this book was for a "book in progress." It finished up rather abruptly and unsatisfyingly, considering the huge investment that both author and reader have put into it by that point. If you've read every word, you've been practically choked to death with historical detail, and dog-gone it, you deserve a thoughtful denoument!

Overall, I'd recommend it. The whole Dracula/Vlad Tepes mythology/lore is fascinating enough reading on its own, and the layering, across time, of various protagonists unique and clever. Besides, THERE ARE EVIL LIBRARIANS. Honestly, how often do we get librarian villains nowadays? Not often enough, I say. Every time I read the phrase "evil librarian," I got a chuckle...or a start, depending on which real-life librarian I was remembering at the moment...
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Deodand (last edited Aug 08, 2007 08:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Deodand I loved this book! It keeps you on the edge of the edge of your seat. The very, very edge I tell ya!


Belinda I liked it well enough to seek out an autographed first ed., which hubby later got me for my birthday. Good hubby.


message 3: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Gosh, I love your reviews Belinda. I think I read these more than anything else these days. When the updates come to my email I see who's read what but when I see your name, I am compelled to stop working and read.

Seriously. I stop working.

Your reviews are THAT GOOD.


message 4: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Oh, and also? I hope the Caffeinated Librarian reads this review. I'll encourage her to do so.


Belinda Wow, it takes much less than this to get *me* to stop working! ;-)


message 6: by Quip-er-quill (new)

Quip-er-quill Evil librarians.*snort!* But librarians always evil in TV and movies, don't you know? That's what all that "shh-ing" is all about - EVILNESS! Pure T evilness.

At least she didn't call us "trendy." You know how we HATE that.


Belinda I love me some librarians. Evil or otherwise. Just watch out for those traveling band instrument salesmen, or before you know it, you're someone's shipoopi.


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