Belinda's Reviews > The Historian

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
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's review
Aug 08, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: contempopop, braincandy, intrigue, mystery, spooky

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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Reading Progress

August 8, 2007 – Shelved
August 8, 2007 – Shelved as: contempopop
August 8, 2007 – Shelved as: braincandy
August 8, 2007 – Shelved as: intrigue
August 8, 2007 – Shelved as: mystery
August 8, 2007 – Shelved as: spooky
Started Reading
September 1, 2007 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Deodand (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:54AM) (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!

message 2: by Belinda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

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 (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:21PM) (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 (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:21PM) (new)

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

message 5: by Belinda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

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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