The historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Genre: historical fiction, horror
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.