The historian by

17 November 2009

Genre: ,

ISBN: 0316730319

In 1972 I was sixteen – young my father said to be travelling with him on his diplomatic missions.

The one word that sprang into my mind, more than any other, when I finished this book was “unsatisfying”. And really, in a nutshell, that is how I feel about this novel. It never really made me love it, although I was interested by the story. This is told through diaries, notebooks, letters, and journals made by various “dracula hunters”. All first person narration of course. All these people, these scholars and historians were prompted to begin their mission by finding a book. Blank save for a woodcut printing of a dragon with the word Drakulya. Some prod further than others into the history of Vlad the Impaler, some are continue despite warnings.

For the most part I was content to enjoy the story, and to let it develop. Kostova had clearly put a lot of work in, even if I never found her style of writing particularly wonderful. But the ending! I don’t know, it just seemed like she said, “hang on a second, this book is already a huge doorstop. I must end it now!” and so just stuffed her ending in. And it seemed so hurried after all that build up and suspense.

I have to admit that I never found the book creepy. And I suppose in a way I enjoyed the idea of the story more than its execution. I guess this is one that just didn’t live up to all its hype.

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3 Responses

  1. Carl V. says:

    Another R.I.P. came and went without me getting to this book. At least I know it will always be there. Your thoughts on it echo those of one of my close friends who listened to an unabridged version of it on audio book, and I have other friends who rave about it. Seems to be one of those kinds of books. Being such a big fan of Dracula I do need to get to it at some point and make a decision of my own. But I'm not holding my breath. We'll see if I manage it next year. :)

  2. Fence says:

    So many books so little time :)

    I think this is one I both recommend, and don't. It is, I think, worth reading because there is some good stuff in it, but overall it just didn't work as well as it should.

    But then again, it is a big book, so that means a lot of time will go into it. And if you have other books waiting….

  3. Matthew says:

    I am not a big fan on reading history books, for me those kind of books seems to boring just gimme some books such as Twilight Novels, Harry Potter and many stuffs! But then it would be pretty informative to read those history books but their are some people too who are very much interested about history books.