Book Reviews of The Historian

The Historian
The Historian
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
ISBN-13: 9780751537284
ISBN-10: 0751537284
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 704
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 30

3.6 stars, based on 30 ratings
Publisher: Time Warner Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

239 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Historian on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 21
Absolutely wonderful book! I honestly could not put it down and missed sleep reading this book. Yes, the writing style is a little different than what you're used to but I think that may help with the overall mood of the book. If you like history, following clues and a touch of horrific tension you'll adore this book.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 14
I enjoyed this book very much. I notice the reviews where people felt it was a slow read. Although it is a Vampire story, it is more of a historical novel. I love both types of books.If you just want o fnd out "what happens" you may feel impatient. This book is a travelogue, a mystery and a fascinating history of Eastern Europe. This is not a fluff book. I hope you'll give it a try.
reviewed The Historian on + 207 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
At times while reading the first half of this book, I felt impatient for "the story" to begin. It felt like too much detail, too much background. Looking back, I can see that each twig of detail was important, and was carefully placed to build a roaring bonfire by the story's end. This was a remarkable book, in the development of the story from the point of view of several characters, the view of the past through many layers of stories and sources, and the gradual accumulation of a subtle awareness in the reader's imagination of what might be happening that wasn't quite mentioned, wasn't exactly described, but was only hinted at. This is a book I look forward to reading again in a year or two.
reviewed The Historian on + 1105 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
Interesting take on the Dracula history. A little long though - I didn't finish it. Writer needed to get to the point quicker than she did.
reviewed The Historian on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I really wanted to like this book. I got about halfway through it and could not finish. I loved the scenery descriptions and the writing, but the middle bogged down for me, and I could not finish it - as much as I wanted to. I have so many other books I could not wait to start, and once I did, I could not pick it back up.
reviewed The Historian on + 58 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I really enjoyed this book about one family's search through libraries, medieval documents, and beautiful historic cities for the tomb of a monster... Vlad the Impaler, the real man whose crimes and blood-thirsty life inspired the folk legends and Hollywood version of Dracula. The story is told through a woman's flashbacks to her teenager years as she listened to the stories her father told her and had her own experiences in the search. I think this book is very well written with many lively descriptions of people, places, and events. And there are several twist and turns in the story to keep you turning the pages until the very last. Will they be able to find Vlad's tomb? Will Vlad's body be in his tomb or will an empty sarcophagus reveal that the legends are true and he is undead?
reviewed The Historian on + 902 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think its writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 10
I was hesitant at first to read this book but once I sat down and gave it a chance I was hooked. My husband was reading it while I was and of course he got through it quicker than myself so I was constantly asking him questions lol. But being the good husband he is he never answered any of them and let me read on with the story falling into place in front of me. I enjoyed this story very much even with it being a slight history lesson. I recommend this book for any vampire lover, love story lover and historian. Enjoy!
reviewed The Historian on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Kostova has taken Stoker's mythical story of Dracula and refashioned it into a compelling mystery molded with a different cast of characters while weaving into the plot true historical facts relating to the 15th century. The Turkish invasion of Europe and the Christian vs. Muslim fight for dominance along with the cruelties from both sides (Vlad the impaler, Turkish Ottoman) paint a totally different complextion on Dracula. Hands down, one of the best variations of the story of Dracula I have every read!
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 8
I decided I had to read this after reading so many reviews that range from one extreme to the other. I'm definitely pro-Historian, but can understand why some people might not like it. I liked the mix of scholarly research, history and suspense. I like books that get me interested in parts of the world that I've never paid much attention to before. Thumbs up!
reviewed The Historian on + 42 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
A friend of mine told me this book was a Da Vinci Code esk novel about Dracula. She got one thing right, it is about Dracula but as for being exciting and fast moving. Well it is anything but.

I read a lot of historical fiction so I know that some of it can be a bit dry but this one takes the cake. I might as well have been reading a non fiction book where the author didnt do any research. The manner in which Elizabeth writes is so dry. Yes, there is potential but she misses when she made the decision to write everything as if it was a letter, it drones on and on and onfor 700 plus pages I might add.

And the real kicker, after drudging through the 700 pages it just ends. 650 pages of the slowest chase ever written across the world and Kostova wraps everything up in an unbelievable fashion and then leaves it open for a sequel. There is no way if she ever does write one that I will read it.

I cant believe this book got such rave reviews, a total let down in my opinion.
reviewed The Historian on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
To me, the whole book was ludicrous. There were absolutely no likeable characters, the writing bored me to tears, and the plot was so silly as to be laughable. It takes some serious flaws for me to write a review like this.
reviewed The Historian on + 557 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This is a large book to undertake, about 642 in hard cover and 909 in paperback. And really reader why would you pick up a book of this volume if you were not guaranteed a good time for your hours of reading? Who is this book written for?

If you like fast, reads, whitty dialogue, steamy sex scenes, and a chic lit happy ending, this book is not for you.

If you like history, travel, epic stories, and books written in detail, then you will love this book.
I decided that I would give this book about 100 pages. Before I got to that agreed upon 100 pages, I had to come back to these reviews, to help me understand what others had found while reading this book.

You will find that some hated it; some loved it. Once I got past about page 120 in the HC, I was knew I wanted to read more. It also went faster after the first 100 pages. I kinda saw it as a long yarn being told before me piece by piece. I had to be patient and not rush the story teller.

In this story, we find many eras the 1930s, the 1950s and the 1970s. Often the older stories are told through letters that have been saved. So we hear about Rossi experiences in the 30s throughout. Then we hear about Paul and Helen trying to find Rossi in the 1950s, as he just disappeared one night. Paul tells about his experiences in the 1950s to his daughter in the 70s, as he tries to explain about her mothers death, when she was just a baby. Then the dad, Paul takes off and the daughter is again searching for clues. It all comes together, many questions are answered, but sorry it isnt all tied up in a pink little bow.

Is this the kinda book that interests you? Dont worry if isnt, move on to other pursuits, but if you want to experience a moving well written story, and you have the patience to see it to the end, you really wont be sorry you endured.
reviewed The Historian on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
As a history major and lover of anything the slightest bit odd, I LOVED this book! I own two copies. One hardback that my daughter stole and a paperback that I carry in my purse. It is amazing to see the history come alive and the social, political and historical context come shining through.

Not just a great book, but a great lesson in history, as well.
reviewed The Historian on + 81 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I really enjoyed the book. Sure it's long, but it's rich in details and atmosphere, very in-depth about the history of Dracula, adding up to a mysterious read. If an editor could have omitted parts, I believe it could read like "The DaVinci Code" for Dracula.
reviewed The Historian on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
What an incredible story! What beautiful writing. Warning - do NOT read this while alone. This book got to me and a book has NOT done that for a long long time. It drags you in and then scares the pants off you. Amazing story for the Vampire lover. I do not read Vampire books but this takes the old story of Dracula and brings it into the now. Whew....
reviewed The Historian on + 46 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
A history, within a history, within a history. And Dracula.

I can't say enough good things about this book. It's enormous...always a plus. Research and libraries are main themes...awesome. I just couldn't put this down until I was finished.
reviewed The Historian on + 119 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
An interesting book in terms of premise and the characters are well drawn. But, for me, the flaw is that she is overly descriptive and the book drags because of it. As I reached toward the end I swore it was getting longer somehow.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 5
There is so much history included in this novel that I wanted to travel AND read historical books about Europe, Romania, etc after I finished it. The characters in the story are very interesting. I felt the father was the most developed character and the daughter the least....I liked the novel and would highly recommend it to those who are NOT looking for a quick read, but are looking for a satisfying one. And wear your garlic.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 5
I requested this novel on the strength of the blurb alone; I had no previous knowledge of the work, and I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, so much so that I finished the book in one long day of reading off and on, during a forced snowday off. Don't get me wrong; it's not that it's a quick read or anything, but it was one of those that sneaks up on you: I kept saying to myself, "just one more chapter!", until I looked up from the ending, and found it was dark outside!

The Historian is an entirely-believable (in a suspension-of-disbelief, "it could really happen this way!" kind of way) modernization (taking place in the '60s during the cold war period) of the classic Dracula tale, which combines a scholarly (but anything but "dry", gory details included) analysis of the actual Vlad the Impaler/Dracula legend, pays homage to Bram Stoker's version while avoiding all of the movie cliches, and presents all this in an exciting chase-around-Europe, "dig" up the clues story surrounding likable characters and interesting locales. "Heartily" recommended! (Sorry, won't be reposting my copy; it's one I'll re-read.)
reviewed The Historian on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I was thrilled that this book was long. I loved every page! I appreciated the background to the folklore that surrounds dracula and Kostova's spin on it. I read the book in a couple days..it was that captivating
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 4
I slogged through half of this and realized I wasn't enjoying it and had no desire to finish it. It's beautifully written, but it's just so SSSSLLLLLLOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. It took me a month to get through the half I did read, which is really unusual for me. Maybe somebody else will like it more.
reviewed The Historian on + 252 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I loved this book! I knew it was going to be about Dracula somehow, but an ancient book-collecting vampire, not at all what I expected. The triple narrative, the telling of the story from three different perspectives and time periods, was absolutely brilliant. The ending was rather anticlimactic and I was somewhat disappointed by it, until I read the epilogue, great book!
reviewed The Historian on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is in my top ten favorite books list! It is a wonderful combination of historical fiction and supernatural intrigue. Kostova's writing style is amazing. With each page, I was more involved with the richly designed characters. I didn't want to put it down and I was sad when I was finished reading it. This will likely be one of the few books I read again!
reviewed The Historian on + 70 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Was too slow and tedious. Couldn't get past all the sweeping descriptions about the scenery. A darn shame too because the summary sounded so promising. Maybe someday I'll give it another try but I'm sure if I do there will be some monumental passage skipping going on.
reviewed The Historian on + 60 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Argh! This was a painful read. I kept hoping I'd run into someone who'd finished it already and they could tel me how it ended so I wouldn't have to keep plowing through it myself. The creative and suspenseful telling will force you to finish it, but it moves along so slooooooowly. It's like a movie that you're watching at home and don't bother to pause when you get up for more drinks or a restroom break.
reviewed The Historian on + 72 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This might be the longest most drawn out book I have ever read. I wanted to like it but I just couldnt. It was interesting enough but after awhile it was like come on already, get to the point. Then when the end finally came I was so disappointed. Hundreds and hundreds of pages for THAT. It was the worst ending ever.
reviewed The Historian on + 99 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
One of my favorite books, the best I've read in a long, long time. Very intricate, eloquent story exploring the lore of Dracula.
reviewed The Historian on + 134 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Beautifully written, an absolute treat to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but felt the epilogue was not only unnecessary but actually distracting. The historic detail was fabulous and the characters (particularly the ones in Turkey) were well drawn and interesting.
reviewed The Historian on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is not an easy book to get into....but if you stick with it long enough to really fet into it you will not be disappointed. This is a great history of Dracula and has a ton of scenery and graphic description of history and different countries. This is not one of those books that you will breeze through, but its very thought provoking and interesting.

Give it time to grow on you and enjoy it!
reviewed The Historian on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was the first book by Kostova that I have read. And I am now an avid fan. For some reading 642 pages can tear at a reader's interest, but her writing style was suspenseful, historically satisfying, mysterious, romantic, and full of imagery.
I was frustrated as well as intrigued with the inception-like narration- going from the main character to her father and then his teacher. I enjoyed it because it showed the vulnerability of the three characters (first-person narration is my favortite), but I also found that it was confusing to keep track of who was doing the telling.
If you have been to Europe and the middle east, this book will bring you a sense of nostalgia, for Kostova illustrates the monuments and the architecture of whichever part of the world the character's travel to. I found it delightful!
If you have never been to Europe it does it's part of taking you on a tour of the world, explaining the cultures and the highlights of the townspeople. Either way it's a treat for imagery junkies like myself!
The only disappointment I leave with from this book is the abrupt end. It builds so much to the last hundred pages and then ends slightly flat. All in all, this book has been added to my top ten favorites. Kostova has a flare for writing and I can't wait to read more of her style.
reviewed The Historian on + 64 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
It worked for me, a good vacation read a few months ago. It's a mix of history, mystery, old documents and languages, detective work, archaeology... sort of fits into a general movie genre that would include the two "National Treasure" movies, "Sahara," and the better ones of the Indiana Jones series. If you enjoy any of those categories, it might be worth your time.
reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I liked this book. At first, when I began reading, I thought, " I don't know about this one", but it turns out, the book was most enjoyable. Some surprises in the story. I recommend this book to historical fiction lovers, especially if you've read Bram Stoker's Dracula, and enjoyed it.
reviewed The Historian on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book took me by surprise. I really enjoyed the Eastern European and Ottoman historical fictional elements. The plot moves forward via series of letters retelling the past from several characters' perspectives, then in current tense from one characters' point of view, and it works really well in this case to keep the story moving along, always giving you enough information to slowly unfold the story and keep you interested. There was one point about 3/4 into the book where I felt like it was treading water a tiny bit, but overall it was a really enjoyable read.
reviewed The Historian on + 157 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Excellent reading, and for all my spooky reading over the years, this one I did not read at night. Finely tuned creepy mood, without overdoing the bloodletting. Enthralling and yes, long descriptive passages which I usually enjoy. If you like long and descriptive, then you'll have the patience to get thru this. If you want A to B to C action, this is going to drive you nuts. I cared about the characters and I was glad to see a fresh retelling of the Dracula mythos. The one downside is that there were a few too many scenes where the protagonists did their research, travelled far, went on these study binges, and then had little to go on and had to start over. A couple of those could have been pared back, maybe. The scenes that built the creepiness started to wear down, too, because they had the same repetition of build mood, evil entity never quite appears, leave protagonist exhausted and in despair. As a reader I couldn't sustain my creeped outedness for that long, I sort of got used to it, which is a little bit of a shame. But it would be a challenge to anyone to write that much mood and keep it going consistently. Still it was very compelling and I often couldn't put it down.
reviewed The Historian on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the academic feel and the historical, and the sense of travel. The story unfolds via some historical flashbacks and letters as the characters search for answers (NOT giving anything away here). Definitely a fun read.
reviewed The Historian on + 35 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Excellent book. Story about Vlad Tepes aka Vlad The Impaler aka Dracula. Story starts about a book with a wood-cut in the middle with the shape of a dragon.The bearer of the book is hypnotized on the origins of the book and never gets a moment of peace after that.
Highly Recommended!!!!
reviewed The Historian on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Interesting story about the history of Dracula and Eastern Europe. This is not a bloody, scary story; instead, it details the lives of a few historians, who got caught up in the Dracula tale.

The first 150 pages are quite slow, and I found Kostova's style of putting the entire story in quotation marks very confusing and unnecessary. There were points in the book when the story was in quotes within quotes within quotes. Otherwise, she is a very good writer, providing plenty of detail and character development.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 2
Excellent read. While all of the Dracula lore was interesting I never felt any sense of being sucked in. It was, however, a wonderful mechanism to show Constantinople/Istambule
and the Balkans at four stages of history: Rossi's trip in the 30s, Paul's in the 50s, the described history in the 1400s when all was in flux between the Byzantines and the Ottomans, and the lightly drawn picture of Paul's daughter and Barley's search in the 70s. The book had a grand scope, finely drawn characters, and engaging writing. The Dracula tale held all of it together. I recommend it. Leslie Anne
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 2
I put this one down about half way through. I was really into it at first, but it didn't pick up and I was bored and impatient.
I love vampire stories and the writing is pretty, but the pacing was just painfully slow.
I know that many liked this one, so I should give it another chance.
Did I mention that the story was slow? It was slow.
reviewed The Historian on + 80 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Good - an interesting, very absorbing read - but could have benefited greatly from a bit more editing; it was just too long. There's a lot of story there, and I could see the benefit of so much detail, but it got a little tedious at times. I noticed several little inconsistencies in the storyline, and thought there was a lot of dramatic build-up to a somewhat anti-climactic ending as well. I gave it 4 stars.
reviewed The Historian on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Excellent book. Really well researched and just enough suspense.
reviewed The Historian on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I'm not a dracula kind of person so it was a bit surprising to me that I absolutely loved this book. Rich in description and detail, this is a book to be savored slowly..........and thoroughly enjoyed.
reviewed The Historian on + 902 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think its writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
this has to be one of the most tedious books I have ever read in my entire life. I would not suggest that anyone read it unless the only other choice they have is poking themselves in the eye with a sharp stick.
reviewed The Historian on + 96 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was a different kind of in search of someone, Dracula, no less. Some action and excitement, but more of a cerebral search dealing with ancient books and manuscripts. There was a lot of historical information and I did learn some things. If you expect a lot of action and suspense, this is not the book for you. However, I did enjoy it, but it could have been better.
reviewed The Historian on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I ordered this book on the suggestion of another PBS member who, like myself, was very disappointed with Deborah Harkness's "A Discovery of Witches". I'm glad I did: "The Historian" is a beautifully written and complex story that takes place both in the 1930's and the 1970's. It follows the research among several generations of historians into where Vlad Tepes, aka Dracula, the hideously cruel Wallachian torturer and impaler of 20,000 people, is really buried. The story is full of insights from history and fascinating (and sometimes horrific) details about medieval Europe, ancient Constantinople (now Istanbul), Bulgarian monasteries, Romanian villages, as well as modern-day Oxford, Paris, and Amsterdam, all described brilliantly as the backdrop for the mounting tension and horror as our intrepid academics close in on the shocking truth about Dracula. This is an absorbing, intelligent thriller that I highly recommend.
reviewed The Historian on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Although this book has a fascinating and exciting concept (Dracula legends), its delivery leaves something to be desired. I enjoy historically-based novels and historical fiction, but this book was tedious to read. It took at least the first 100 pages to get moving and was really quite good for the next 300 hundred pages or so. However, the action drags until the end of the book--nearly 300 more later. And to top it off, the vague ending was less than satisfying. If you enjoy reading historical literature with a lot of primary sources (most likely fictional), then you will likely enjoy this book. If you like to be entertained and are looking for a quick read, I would pass on this one!
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 1
loved this book.... it was a little slow to start, but i've read it more than a few times since! :)
reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is by far one of my favorites of all time. Elizabeth Kostova has an unique talent for switching "voices" seamlessly through the book, which serves to keep the story fresh and interesting. In addition, I also enjoyed the way she intertwines true elements of history with her fictional characters. Kostova's descriptions of the buildings and cities in Eastern Europe are also amazing. As the leading characters moved through different countries, the description provided by Kostova really allows the reader to feel as though he or she is journeying through these countries along with the characters. The storyline regarding Dracula's immortality is also intriguing.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 1
This book is excellent! I really think just about anyone who likes fiction at all will love this book, especially historical fiction lovers, or anyone interested in vampires or adventure novels. It's so well-written and so thoroughly researched!
reviewed The Historian on + 130 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I liked this book - the story line was great - it "flipped" back and forth, but not so much that you became lost with the characters or story line. The author did a great job with imagery. It got a little long at a few points, but definately worth the read.
reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have read this book twice and absolutely loved it both times. Students of vampire lore will find the story original and engaging. Some pretty interesting twists on the legend of Vlad the Impaler. This book encompasses such a wealth of history and geography that it is a learning experience as well as a really good story. Even though the book is fairly lengthy, over 600 pages, the action and pace of the story make it a fairly quick read. Both times that I read this book, I could hardly put it down.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. It's spooky, and not something to read at night (for this scaredy-cat). But I couldn't put it down! It's so enthralling. And the way it's written...Makes you forget it's not a true story.
reviewed The Historian on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the type of book that you can get lost in! It is a very enjoyable read.
reviewed The Historian on + 59 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I thought this was a great book. It was a bit slow, but it was interesting enough to keep me reading. It has a great mix of history and vampire folklore.
reviewed The Historian on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I agree with what other reviewers say both negative and positive about this book; however, I loved it for several reasons. I fell in love with the characters and wanted/needed to know what happened to them. I enjoyed the in depth descriptions of Europe. Some parts of the story are heartbreaking but others are heart warming. It is about the best and worst of human beings through out history. I have read quite a few books about fictional vampires as well as the one by Bram Stokes. This is not a paranormal romance in the least. For one, it is written far better than most paranormal romances. While there are vampires, I disagree that it is a story about vampires. It seems to be more about relationships, scholarship, and how relationships create history. While the hsitorians in the novel aren't exactly like Indiana Jones, I did feel a similar sense of intellectual as well as real world adventure. Real world adventure often comes as the result of intellectual findings. There are also interesting comparisons between Christianity and Muslim religions. For example, what happened in Constantinople/Istanbul in the Crusades. There is also commentary on tolerance and compassion between people of different belief systems in order to fight a greater evil. Intense or frightening scenes are slow to build but are so beautifully done that I felt as if I was there. Sex and profanity is very minimal. The title "The Historian" is a paradox but I will not explain why. The history of Dracula's life and the mystery of his afterlife reads like a detective novel. My favorite part of the novel was the loving compassionate relationship between the father and the daughter. If their relationship had not been so lovingly drawn through conversation, letters, and travel, I probably would have put it aside. It still took me 3 months to read the book. Kostova uses letters, journals and maps to explain the past. Some of the best parts of the story is what she leaves unsaid for the reader to imagine. The book reminds me somewhat of Geraldine Brooks' "The People of the Book." I highly recommend "The Historian" however it does take a very patient mature reader who does not mind that the book doesn't come to its point quickly. I would love to see this book done as a movie.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 1
An historical mystery involving Dracula. I didn't really see it as a vampire book and that may be why some people didn't like it. Dracula is not sexy or glamourous here- he is a villain. This is not a book for vampire lovers it is a book for book lovers. Who else can appreciate the excitement of finding old and extremely rare books or the incredible caution used to handle a 1,000 year old book? I liked the hunt of finding clues throughout history. I thought the charm of the story was the travel and history descriptions. I loved being able to "see" historical sights in Istanbul and a backwoods Romanian village. How else will I be able to sit in an old village woman's kitchen and watch her make dinner? This is what I liked most about it.
reviewed The Historian on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
One of the better books that I have read in the past few years. Every minute kept me guessing and I've come to the conclusion that this may be nonfiction. It was a mystery!
reviewed The Historian on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a meaty book. Characters are well developed and iteractions between them interesting. A new twist on an old subject... I really enjoyed it.
reviewed The Historian on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
THIS BOOK WAS SOOO LONG AND FULL OF TEDIOUS DETAILS THAT THE STORY LINE ABOUT THE VAMPIRES WAS LOST IN A FOREST OF FACTS.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 1
This book is worth the read. If you have tried it before to no avail, I suggest that you listen to the audio version. It was riveting to listen to...especially driving home at night!
reviewed The Historian on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have just recently finished reading this book, and I absolutely loved it. The storyline is very interesting in itself, but the descriptions of various European cities was excellent. Again, I learned alot reading this book, and I think that's what I really love about reading.
reviewed The Historian on
Helpful Score: 1
There aren't too many audio books that are read by several readers. This is one. It was a pleasure to listen to this book as a PRODUCTION! A good story - I see where it is soon to be a movie?
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Helpful Score: 1
Re-telling of the Dracula myth with Da Vinci Code elements. Involves travel and quests, family histories, academic research and intrigue, ancient politics, and lots of history of vampires. Good long story written in differing styles.
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Helpful Score: 1
To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think its writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great Read. I don't particularly care for vampires, but this historical novel was remarkable. The information in this volume left me feeling as though I learned something valuable. Highly recommended
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Vivid history and carefully crafted writing come together to tell a terrific story, a more scholarly approach to the familiar vampire legend that still manages to be entertaining, and sinister enough to read with the lights on. The tone may be low key and matter of fact, but the tale it conveys is so subtly chilling, so almost plausible, that it kept me glued to the pages. It helps if you love history, and aren't easily bored by facts piled high, but a this is definitely a book worth the effort of reading it.
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Helpful Score: 1
It took me a while to get through it, but it was well worth it. Great book!
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Helpful Score: 1
Wonerful book! The kind of book that I had to turn my light back on at night because I couldn't go to sleep because I wanted to know what happened next. I highly recommend this book.
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I loved this book. It was a great mix of history and fiction. It grabs you from the first page and keeps you up to the wee hours of the night because you just can't stop reading.
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Helpful Score: 1
I liked it! Very well researched and detailed. Very much a page turner for me. Some people don't like the endless letters but it fits well cause in academia you ALWAYS prefer primary sources :) The ending maybe fell a bit flat.
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Helpful Score: 1
eh...great beginning and premise then fizzles at the end. there are better historical fiction/vampire themed books out there, but if you like historical fiction and have time or if this book is free or at a discount, it isn't too bad.
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one of my favorite books. This is a juicy tale that is very well written!
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This is one of my all time favorite novels.... the writing is richly detailed, like savoring the finest piece of chocolate or wearing the most luxurious fabric ~ you are immediately seduced and fully immersed in the history, the travel, the mystery, the suspense.... the perfect story! Enjoy!
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a very long novel (over 900 pages in this paperback edition, the hardcover was over 600 pages) and it took me about 3 weeks to read but I thought it was definitely worth reading. It told the story of a family's search for the historical Vlad Dracula who apparently had been changed into a vampire after death in accord with Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula". The book is more than a horror novel, although it does have a lot of chilling moments. It delves into the history of Vlad and his fight against the Ottoman empire in the late 15th century. A lot of the book takes place in libraries and old monasteries in a search for clues about where Vlad was entombed after his death. It is told from three different perspectives and points in time: the 1930s, 1950s, and 1970s. Part of the search takes place in 1950s Hungary and Bulgaria during the Cold War. Kostova did a great job of weaving the different stories together, giving the reader the feel of being among rare and unknown books in the libraries and monasteries, as well as the political situation in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Overall, I did enjoy this for these reasons but I think the book could have been shortened somewhat - there is so much detail that may not have been needed. I have read other reviews of this novel at Amazon and elsewhere and the reviews have been pretty mixed but for me I thought the time spent was worth the effort. I haven't read Stoker's Dracula but have added it to my TBR pile to read soon.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was delightfully well done. This is a vampire novel for those who dislike the Anne Rice, Twilight type of novel. The characters grow as the plot, which is in no way in chronological order, develops. It can get a bit dull toward the center, but Kostova clearly knows her craft. Be sure to read the note to the reader and the epilogue, because that truly ties the book together.
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Long winded, pedantic. I generally like most books, but I could not get through this one easily. Too wordy and too slow moving and bad characters.
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Helpful Score: 1
I read this book as part of a bookclub. At first I was intimidated by the sheer length of the book, and thought I would never get it finished in a couple weeks. Until I started to read. This book grabs you within the first few pages and does not let you go. The story just makes you want to read all through the night and day to get to the end. Even when my shoulders would get tense, and sounds of a settling house would make me jump, I kept reading. This is absolutly one of the best books I have ever read.
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Helpful Score: 1
This really was an amazing book. I'm not intimidated by book length, but I bought this book and put off reading it due to the length thinking that there were sooooo many other books I wanted to read. 800+ pages isn't a ton, but it often takes more than the few days I dedicate to each book. Somehow, I always feel that books that take a week or so read aren't worth it because it takes away time from my reading other books (you know, so many books, so little time!). However, I did start it one Saturday thinking that I was interested in the story. It was amazing! I couldn't put it down and it did only take a few days because I was so interested. The story moves at such a fast pace, that it feels as though you'll miss something exciting if you stop reading. It reminded me greatly of The DaVinci Code.
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Helpful Score: 1
It takes a true creative spirit who does their research to write one like this. The characters were easy to envision and become familiar with. The places they visited came to life in a way many books miss. I learned so much about the true Vlad Dracula of history, his life, his rule, his cruelty and of the many Eastern European superstitions and beliefs that arose from this period not to mention the clear descriptions of the Ottoman and Christian/European struggles, battles and dealings with each other. Don't mistake, this as a heavy book and you must get used to quick changes in narrator but Kostova somehow makes the learning inadvertent, enjoyable and sincerely pertinent to the plot.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a very long story and honestly, it gets a bit boring occasionally. The author does get to rambling at times. I am not sure that she needed to write such long winded descriptions. The tale might have been improved if the book was a little shorter. Not a bad story-just too long to hold my interest in some chapters. On a positive note, it is very suspenseful at times and will keep you hanging on the edge of your seat. The fact that I did struggle to the very end of this novel is evidence enough that I actually enjoyed the book. This is a unique telling of the enduring tale of Dracula. At times it reads more like an historical travel guide, but then just as you are about to nod off, the vampire jumps out at you. The story encompasses several generations over a span of many years. The best history professors in the world are being lured within Dracula's grasp. There is an ultimate scheme........isn't there always! This one may surprise you, since it takes an unusual turn. Not the typical vampire story!
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Helpful Score: 1
a very long (900 pages), but really good book.
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Helpful Score: 1
Yes book was a little long but for someone who loves to read it was just right. I find some books too short and not enough depth in them. This has everything History, Suspense and the writing was brilliant. I wish more authors put this much time and research that Kostova did. My husband and I throughly enjoyed this book. We travel all over the world with business and was able to appreciate the european feel of her book. Both of us could not put down this book.
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Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this because it was very different from most vampire tales I have read. Liked the mellow and slow way the story unfolds. I always read so quickly but this wasn't the type of book I was able to do that with. Found myself really wanting to consume the next part of father's recollection of his tale. Just cool having that feeling of anticipation. So worth reading. Could feel myself visiting these far away lands and absorbing the culture while the characters are on their journey.
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Helpful Score: 1
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Albeit long, I could not put this down. Lot's of history entwined with suspense. I highly recommend it, if you like historical fiction.
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Helpful Score: 1
Don't be deceived by the vampire theme to this book. This is a wonderful look into the medieval history of Eastern Europe. For all you history buffs, you will find this well-researched and easily able to transport you to another place.
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Helpful Score: 1
Great book!! Very interesting take on an old classic you thought you knew.
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Helpful Score: 1
What a great book! Very interesting but yet historical about many areas of the world. A good group of characters and a unique way to weave the story between different generations of historians.
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Helpful Score: 1
First 100 pages are difficult. Once you get to 101, the story takes off and is intriguing. I loved it and found I couldn't put it down. Dark and intelligent.
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Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating book. Could not put it down.
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Helpful Score: 1
I didn't think I would like this book but it ended up getting me from the first page!!! This isn't a horror book in the typical sense, so don't shy away from it for that reason!
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Helpful Score: 1
Very good - engrossing. While it is about Dracula it's also about historical research and passion for such
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This book really surprised me. I was expecting the usual Hollywood schlock of vampire stories and found a well written novel, complex subplots, engaging characters and a sense of pervading evil that was terrifying. My only regret is that Kostova has apparently only written the one book.
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Helpful Score: 1
Now this is a well written book, with lots of mystery, thrill, and historical background. Kostova really excels at giving descriptions, making each place seem very real. The pace was a little slow to start, but I felt like I was in the shoes of the narrator who is fed a little bit of the story by her father over a series of months (so the pace works well with what was going on in the story). Now THIS is what a thriller should be like, in my opinion. I don't know what's going to happen next. I care about the characters. The clues are tantalizing but don't give too much away.
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Helpful Score: 1
An epic trip through Europe from medieval times through the Cold War, searching for vampires. Great for history buffs.
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Think "The Da Vinchi Code" but about vampires!
I enjoyed this book greatly even though it isnt my usual thing.
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My favorite book of 2006. Wonderfully detailed tale of the legend of Dracula. Haunting, and even a little scary.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved, loved, loved this book! It almost gives you the sense the Dracula is "alive" and active still today. The cross between telling practically the same story in both the past and present settings is amazing. A brilliant Dracula story where barely a cup of blood is spilled.
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Helpful Score: 1
Id read some fairly bad reviews of this bestselling vampire novel, but I found it to be fairly entertaining. The premise is that Dracula has survived until the present day not only sucking the blood of innocent academics, but possibly posing a threat to gradually set himself up as some kind of evil dictator
This slow-moving plot may potentially be foiled by certain individuals who have received mysterious antique books blank except for a sinister centerfold depicting a dragon But who is behind the books, and what is their true purpose?
Kostova tells the story through a device where a young woman investigates her fathers disappearance, in the process learning the story of how her father had followed a similar quest, investigating the disappearance of his academic advisor, and how the advisor had also investigated the myth of Dracula
Unfortunately the middle story is the only one that fully comes to life; the others are fairly rudimentary. I also found it unbelievable that everyone in the novel seemed to think that Dracula was a very obscure story, that only a few knew about.
But, those complaints aside, while not a great work of literature, this was an enjoyable novel. And it has librarians always a plus in my books!
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Helpful Score: 1
Fantastic tale of a tracking down dracula. The timeline and adventures in this book are outstanding!
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Helpful Score: 1
What an excellent book! I was a bit scared at the size of it, but it kept my attention. I learned so much about history too. It's about a daughter who is trying to find her father. It is about family relationships. It is about Drakula!
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Helpful Score: 1
While I enjoyed the story and the writing, I sometimes felt as if I was reading a history book instead. There were times that I was extremely bored while other times I was completely mesmerized.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book is very heavy on detail - and at 650 pages, that's not necessarily a great thing. The premise is interesting, but the execution is lacking. Unless you're really into Dracula and eastern European history - save your time.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. It touched upon so many interesting topics and relationships: family bonds and histories; suspense and horror; the process of historical investigation on Dracula; a sweet romance, meeting new people from distant lands. I met a lady on the street who saw me reading this and said she loved it so much she went to Istanbul on vacation! I also felt the ending did not dissapoint by leaving you hanging.
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Helpful Score: 1
Not for the casual reader

Bottom line: Yes this is a good book. Yes it was well worth my invested time. This book was written with Anthropology and History as a foundation mixed with fiction.

There is really only one way to digest this book. Peace and quiet accompanied by a nice cup of coffee/tea or a nice glass of wine. This is not a beach read, and definitely not a read to squeeze in at the salon. Be prepared to have a little more than basic understanding of Vlad the Impaler. Ignorance will cause you to drop this book. A larger chunk of what this story is about is following the cultures, their traditions, and their superstitions as well as understanding the current political standings during the Cold War period.

After struggling through the first 100 pages of a necessary evil; the story finally picked up pace and got exciting. In the beginning, the travel descriptions are longwinded, but beautiful if you struggle through and stay awake. By the time I became well invested in this story I felt like I was traveling with the characters.

I'm sorry to say that if you give up on this read you will probably save yourself a headache. After refreshing myself curtesy of Google on Romanian culture and Vlad's history, my sickened stomach was refreshed to digest this fiction.
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Helpful Score: 1
The history detailed within this book is fascinating. The author does a great job of creating an atmosphere of actually being with the characters in the libraries and the monsteries of Eastern Europe.

I loved the personal touch of divoulging crtitical information through handwritten letters.

Bram Stroker only glimpses into the history of Dracula where this book brings a whole new perspective.
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Helpful Score: 1
To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think it's writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Highly recommend for horror fans. Not a lot of gore, but just good, old-fashioned horror and suspense. She builds it up wonderfully, in the style of Bram Stoker's Dracula or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Very classical and deliberate, excellent well-written characters that are very easy to empathise with. The story is all about Dracula, and mentions Stoker frequently throughout the story. It's rather like a detective novel in that the characters, two generations apart, and connected by a series of notes and letters, are searching for the resting place of the still undead Dracula with the goal of finally destroying him. All the lead characters are being hunted by Dracula, as they are hunting for him--some are attacked and put in peril of becoming undead themselves. The suspense is in not knowing who will survive, will the monster be found, will the hunt continue after the book is done? I stayed up WAY past my bedtime last night finishing it, and I'll suffer today, but I simply could not have gone to sleep last night without knowing the answers. Wonderful read!
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Helpful Score: 1
I listened to this book on cd during a long drive across the country, and it turned out to be a great pass-time for the trip. It's long, it's bizarre, and it made the drive memorable. I'm no vampire buff, but found this take on the classic tale entertaining enough to put my biases aside.
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Helpful Score: 1
A gothic mystery involving Dracula of all people. I found some of the characters interesting but felt that the book dragged on beyond what was necessary; some additional editing may have made it more enjoyable for me. The ending left me feeling let down. I devoted that many hours of reading for this anticlimatic ending? Bah!
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Helpful Score: 1
LIked the literary detective aspect, and history of Eastern Europe. It was hard to follow though and I lost the characters for awhile in romania, but was glad I made it to the end.
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Helpful Score: 1
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I tried to read it about a year ago and only got through about 100 pages. I picked it up to try again, but I can't say I liked this book. I love history, libraries, archives, and so many things that play a part in this story. Well written descriptions, but this story did not hold my interest. It took over a week to finish. The ending was rather anti-climactic.
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Helpful Score: 1
A long read but worth it.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book got incredible press when it was released. The author was interviewed on NPR and any number of other media outlets. It sounded like a classic in the making. What it is, however, is a snoozer. As I was reading it I couldn't help but think that the author was trying really, really hard to let the reader know just how much Eastern European history she had stuffed in her head. Unfortunately, that does not translate to a fun or even interesting read. I found the book to be dull and ponderous. The writing is good, if dull, but the story just goes nowhere. Pick this one up when you need some sleep. It will lull you to dreamland in a matter of two to three pages.
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Helpful Score: 1
Exciting, intriguing read
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Helpful Score: 1
Slow with not a very interesting vampire--the history is done well but the plot drags at times.
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Helpful Score: 1
I am not big into vampire lore, but this book deals more with the history and the search for the man Vlad Dracula than the window dressing of vampire novels. Fantastic historical details. I often felt like I should be taking notes while reading it. The writing style flows very well. 650+ pages and I read it in one day. I couldn't put it down. Strongly recommended for people who love history and the historical research process. To compare it to 'The Da Vinci Code' does it a disservice. This book is full of rare and specific details that you can't find on The History Channel.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book, I just would have liked to know more about the daughter. It was interesting, complicated and exciting. Normally I do not like books like this but it was fabulous.
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Helpful Score: 1
I LOVED this book! It was quite long (700 pages) and some reviews were somewhat mixed. But this was one I could not put down and read til 3 in the AM. Of course I do like books about vampires/Dracula. But I also enjoyed her descriptions of historical events/European cities (Istanbul/Bulgaria/Romania, etc.) that some folks found tedious. If you liked Shadow of the Wind (which i also loved) I think you would like it.
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good read lots of history.
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Gripping - I couldn't put it down.
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I loved everything about this book. This is one the best books I've ever read, it might just be THE best. The story is obsessively absorbing; the writing taut yet descriptive, and the delicious details from the author's research bring this book so completely to life that I felt I was literally there with the characters every step of the way. I'm in love and I will keep reading and re-reading this book until it falls apart in my hands, that's how good it is!
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An interesting take on a classic story. The vampire story unwraps slowly in this intricate book. Enjoyable read.
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The Historian was an interesting new twist to the Dracula legend. As a piece of historical-fiction, the book ties together the folklore surround vampires and Dracula, while also looking at the history of the Byzantines, the Ottomans, and Vlad the Impaler. Kostova's descriptions of Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey are so vivid that it is impossible to read them and not want to visit. At the same time, the descriptions add so much length to an already long and sometimes confusing storyline that they can sometimes be distracting. The book was too long, but if you are interested in vampire stories or historical fictionâ"better yet, if you are interested in bothâ"this is a book is a worthwhile read
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The desciptive narrative of the story is intriguing. The characters (for the most part) are well developed. My only complaint is that the climax was to short and not as thrilling as I'd like.
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I loved this novel! It is a great adventure through the world of vampires and vampire hunters.
reviewed The Historian on
LOVED this book! I'm not huge into horror/Dracula/etc, but this book was so well researched and written that I couldn't put it down. Only a few small portions were gruesome, and they definitely didn't detract from the essense of the book which is fabulous. A love story, an adventure story, a family story, plenty of history and culture - highly recommended.
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An excellent story, if you like the theme. It is very genre noir, but was exciting and easy to read!

I loved it!
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This book is a very absorbing account of the history of Dracula. Requires a little suspension of belief, but quite enjoyable. I happened to read it around Halloween which added to the whole experience.
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This is the story of a young woman plunged into a labyrinth where the secrets of her family's past connect to an inconceivable evil-the dark 15th century reign of Vlad the Impaler.
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This book seemed to be about half description, but it was so beautifully written that it was slow but never boring. In fact, it made me want to visit many of the places myself. I'm not a lover of vampire stories, but thought this one was well done. Didn't lose any sleep because I couldn't put it down, but I did really enjoy it.
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huge book of over 650 pages, very intense
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very good read about Dracula's genealogy. Not scary.
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Fast paced and interesting, with exquisite detail and dark, haunting descriptions. A must for anyone interested in a creative, original and well-written mystery/historical book.
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Good. Different kind of vampire book. This kept my attention.
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To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think it's writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on
A fascinating twist on the Dracula legend.
I had tried twice to read this book and put it down both times, third try was the charm. It is a bit hard to get into but once you get used to the author's style of writing the story starts to unfold and you become hooked.
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If you like your mystery to be solved amongst the library stacks, then this is the story for you. Lots of talking through riddles and ending up with Dracula being a compulsive collector of books! Story told in the now popular: remembered action and current action style. Read by several people which helped keep up the interest level.
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Very good for long car rides. 6 different readers voicing the characters, so it was very easy to keep track of which character was talking.

Academics searching for vampires and finding them in exotic places. Fun.
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Dark historical mystery; quite tense. I wish I had read the original Dracula book first, but this was good even without that background.
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If you like your mystery to be solved amongst the library stacks, then this is the story for you. Lots of talking through riddles and ending up with Dracula being a compulsive collector of books! Story told in the now popular: remembered action and current action style.
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I tried to listen to this- but just couldn't get into it! Moved alittle slow- and alittle hard to follow after a while!

I hope someone else will enjoy it!
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It is an interesting book, and you do want to finish it in order to find out what is going on. However, every quarter of the book, a lull would hit, and I would loose interest. It took me two years to finish reading it because I would read it in spurts. When things picked up, I couldn't put it down, but when it got slow, I had a hard time pushing through. If you don't mind putting in the time and effort, it is worth reading.
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This book is excellent, except for the ending. I usually don't get into scary novels, but was intrigued enough by the description that I was caught up into the spirit of it before I realized what it was about. This book was a little predictable at times but still contains enough plot twists that it'll keep you reading up to the end.

And that's the problem; the end of the story. I won't ruin it for you, but will enjoy the first 685 pages (yes, it's a long read, but well worth it, until the end). It's almost like the author was being pushed by her publisher to finish the book; which she did, but the ending is horrible from a literary perspective.
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Traipse all over Cold War Europe looking for Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula.

I enjoyed Kostova's descriptions of the various countries the characters visit. Some readers may find it slow in the middle, but I stuck it out and it was worth it.
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This book is a great read! The first half is really scary...I was reading it at night and had a hard time going to sleep! The middle part slows down a bit, but the ending is good, and overall I really enjoyed it.
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To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think it's writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
I don't usually read books on Dracula or vampires, but I found this very interesting and have read it twice. I lived in Turkey for a few years and found the references very interesting and relatable. Less blood and gore than some readers might like, but just enough for me.
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A little long, but if you like bram stoker's dracula, you'll probably like this too!
reviewed The Historian on + 100 more book reviews
I read 111 pages and called it quits. I didn't want to read about any more murder and mayhem and I didn't care if Dracula was still alive.
reviewed The Historian on + 7 more book reviews
If you liked DaVinci Code, you'll like this one. It's full of mystery and puzzle and travel -- and a few vampires for good measure. Very good.
reviewed The Historian on + 46 more book reviews
Well written but somewhat confusing to follow the first person narration of frequently-changing narrators. I liked the characters and I liked the plot but is was ploddingly slow for the first 500 pages. I ended up setting it aside for a month and going back to it later. Exciting ending, though. Too bad she couldn't have written the whole book with that kind of intensity.
reviewed The Historian on + 6 more book reviews
I know this book is highly rated by most, but I found it insufferable. Slow, ponderous, sometimes preposterously tangential. Did I mention it was slow? Interesting only insofar as she makes it seem so very real.
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If you like your mystery to be solved amongst the library stacks, then this is the story for you. Lots of talking through riddles and ending up with Dracula being a compulsive collector of books! Story told in the now popular: remembered action and current action style.
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Very little happens in the almost 700 pages of The Historian. The story is told through three generations of historians as they travel through Europe searching for the lost tomb of Vlad Tepes, better known as Dracula. The plot proceeds at a snail's pace and the characters are barely developed past the rather two-dimensional nature with which they are introduced. What kept me going for the first 200 pages was Elizabeth Kostova's wonderful writing style, and after that I continued reading because I thought surely with all the slow build-up and fact finding, the book had to be going somewhere extraordinary. I was wrong. By the time the protagonists reach the end of their search (well after page 600), I was disappointed at how anti-climactic it all was. The Historian will serve as a personal reminder as to why I rarely devote my time to finishing novels that seem lackluster from the beginning.
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I loved this beautifuly written novel! This is a story for adults as a young person would not see the value of many words and get bored. I ran out and bought her brand new book "The Swan Thieves" and love it too.
reviewed The Historian on
I enjoyed this book very much. Well researched and well written. A scholarly take on the Dracula legend with suspense and a little romance thrown in.
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I thought this was a great book, it did have some tedious points but it was full of history, you do have to be into the the history of Dracula (not necessarily the true ending to his story) to want to read the book. Actually very entertaining.
reviewed The Historian on + 130 more book reviews
A good book on an interesting subject (vapires) - kind of like a "Davinci Code" type story, maybe a little long in parts, but I liked it.
reviewed The Historian on + 355 more book reviews
A new and original reworking of the Dracula legend through 3 points of view in different ages. Fun and intriguing if a bit lengthy.
reviewed The Historian on + 9 more book reviews
well written but not a page turner, ending is weak
reviewed The Historian on + 355 more book reviews
A wonderful insight into the lore of Dracula. Definitely a page turner. Despite its length, it kept me captivated throughout. This book is very creative and inspiring in that it makes you want to go out and do your own research on Dracula. Just call me Nancy Drew!
reviewed The Historian on + 58 more book reviews
I LOVED this book. I'm so glad i found this book. The charectors are excellent and richly developed. The history is amazing, the way she just narrates the places where the charectors are at is fantastic! I loved EVERYTHING about this book. The way it jumped back in forth in time, I mean everything. I have read countless books this probably ranks up there in my top 5. Anyone who loves history, and dracula must read this book!
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I really wanted to like this book since I love historical fiction. It was a best seller and figured it should be at least interesting. I thought it was a difficult read because it was so slow. I usually put down books if they don't get me by the first 100 pages but I did keep slogging through it. I kept on trying for about two weeks but just couldn't get into it. It's interesting now to look at the reviews on PBS - guess I wasn't alone.
reviewed The Historian on + 115 more book reviews
Fascinating story, although a bit long-winded.
reviewed The Historian on
Outstanding vampire tale that I was sad to see end. Loved the narrative and the mystery.
reviewed The Historian on + 29 more book reviews
Enjoyed listening to this. Interesting and fast-paced. While this is abridged, it is long, which I like for my commute. 10 CDs.
reviewed The Historian on + 3 more book reviews
I am an avid reader, who sometimes reads up to 3 books a week, and I had to work on this book for over 3 months! Its crammed full of details and facts. I did enjoy this book though, despite the difficult read. The summary of the book makes you think that the book is about a mans daughter who discovers some of her father's letters after he has vanished, but in fact, the book says very little about the daughter and focuses mainly on the letters apparently read by the daughter. At times, I found myself confused or lost in the details. I would not recommend this book to any of my friends who were looking for a fast and easy read. But I would recommend it to those who enjoy a slow and complex read. Definitely not a book for the faint of heart!
reviewed The Historian on + 92 more book reviews
Surprise, this was about Count Dracula. Well that will teach me to read the cover before reading. Actually it was an interesting story and easy reading and I enjoyed it although some accounts of what he did to others left me short of breathe.
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To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think its writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on + 257 more book reviews
If you like your mystery to be solved amongst the library stacks, then this is the story for you. Lots of talking through riddles and ending up with Dracula being a compulsive collector of books! Story told in the now popular: remembered action and current action style.
reviewed The Historian on + 64 more book reviews
A fascinating side of, or addition to, the Dracula mythology, carried into the mid 20th and early 21st centuries. Well told, somehow both moving fast in some places and requiring a slower chewing in others. This is one of those big thick novels that is a pleasure to get into.
reviewed The Historian on
An exciting vacation in Europe.
reviewed The Historian on + 119 more book reviews
I liked this book but found many parts that I had to skip pages to not fall asleep. It could be cut down 100 pages.
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Awesome read! I started watching the new Dracula series around the time I finished this book. So cool to see the similarities. I love how this author made the book so believable. I enjoyed reading the Readers Pick Guide at the back as well. Certainly not a quick read... there is a lot of content to soak up with this book. I enjoyed it though!
reviewed The Historian on + 9 more book reviews
Loved this book. Takes the Dracula story and the reader on a long trip. It was at first a little hard to get into but after that, I did not want to put it down.
reviewed The Historian on + 902 more book reviews
To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think its writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on + 17 more book reviews
I loved this book. I loved that it incorporated just a little bit of History with an exciting twist on the story of Dracula.
reviewed The Historian on + 7 more book reviews
AWFULL! WASTE OF TIME!
I received this book from a friend who really enjoyed it. I usually like this kind of genre and was looking forward to reading it. The begining of the book was good and got me interested. However, by the middle I was bored and could not finish it. The characters were not built enough and I continued to feel as if the writer needed to get to the point. The author was too descriptive in the history where she should have spent the time developing her characters. I was really disappointed in this book and would not recommend it to anyone unless they were really interested in history and ancient architecture (actually I take that back, they may get bored to tears)
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If you like your mystery to be solved amongst the library stacks, then this is the story for you. Lots of talking through riddles and ending up with Dracula being a compulsive collector of books! Story told in the now popular: remembered action and current action style.
reviewed The Historian on + 11 more book reviews
Great book! Very different type of vampire story - not scary but very interesting. I've recommended it to many people and all have loved it.
reviewed The Historian on + 10 more book reviews
I absolutely loved this book. I can read it many times over. Mostly because I loved the descriptive scenery, and I LOVE Anything having to do with Dracula or Vlad Tepes A.K.A. Vlad the Impaler. I wish there were more books like this one.
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This was such good book. I enjoyed Kostova's style so much. Sometimes one finds a writer whose style ensnares you and draws you into their story so that it almost becomes reality. The characters, you realize, could be part of your own life. This book was one of those for me. I found Kostova's style hypnotizing. Her technique of tracing the origin of Dracula through different people, all of whom are historians, is most creative. She used letters, notes and cards to weave the action together. The story is long but once you get into it, it doesn't seem so. I recommend the books because it is, yes, a bit scary at times, a romance and a historical fiction novel. And, if you enjoy writing that is mesmerizing this is surely a read for you. Well done Elizabeth Kostova!
reviewed The Historian on + 12 more book reviews
Brilliant. This is just the type of book I love - complex and beautiful, yet still readable. Kostova has written a wonderful combination of historical fiction and steady thriller. I actually dreamed about it at night! Definitely a keeper for me.
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I enjoyed reading this book. I thought the author did a great job of telling a story. It moved along nicely and I couldn't put it down.
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The best book i have ever read. the journey and excitement kept me on the edge of my set and i would recommend this book to anyone i know. It does drag on in a lot of parts but just when you think you can't read anymore it gets very exciting. from 1-10 i would give this book a 100.
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A good read
reviewed The Historian on + 37 more book reviews
It took me awhile to finally get around to reading this. It is a lengthy book and it took me almost a month to get through it. I really enjoyed it though and it was worth the committment!

Initially, I thought all of the historical details would become tedious. However, that was not the case. These details were intermingled so gracefully throughout the story, in a way that no history course I've taken was ever able to manage, that it kept me interested and wanting to know how all of the pieces would come together.
reviewed The Historian on + 32 more book reviews
I tried reading this book and got lost in the first couple chapters. Then I checked the audio book out from the library for a long, long car trip. I ended up loving this story. It was suspenseful and extremely interesting. Would highly recommend to those liking books that keep you wondering what's going to happen next.
reviewed The Historian on + 5 more book reviews
I found this book to be a very slow read especially in the beginning. It is a very long book at 642 pages. It seems very well researched and gives very interesting facts about the time of 1400-1500's. The first 300 pages build the foundation for the final 300. It could have been condensed a bit for my taste.
reviewed The Historian on + 38 more book reviews
this has to be one of the most tedious and difficult to get through novels that I have ever tried to read. I finally gave up- life is too short.
reviewed The Historian on + 16 more book reviews
I was really disappointed in this book actually. Found it incredibly ponderous and lost interest in it about two-thirds of the way through it. :-(
reviewed The Historian on + 11 more book reviews
Well, I just finished reading this unbelievably long novel and I am proud that I stuck to it til the end. Don't get me wrong, this book is clever and well written but in my opinion 200 pages too long. The ending was worth the wait and if you are a lover of all things connected with Dracula then hang in there til the end.
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Interesting take on the infamous Dracula.
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Gripping, but in the end not very satisfying.
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This is a incredibly well written tale of history and suspense. Yes it's kind of about Vampires which are the "In" thing right now. However the approach is unique and imminently readable. I rarely have a hard time putting a book down. This one was very hard to put down and I have read it twice.

It is similar to some of the popular books out today examining DiVinci the Templars etc in the way it is approached from a historical perspective. I am not a fan of anything by Dan Brown so saying it is better than his books is not a compliment from me but I think readers of his books will enjoy this one as well. The similarity is only in the style of narrative.

I would reccomend this to anyone that likes a good mystery or historical fiction. 5 Stars.
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What if you were asked to keep the history of Dracula?!...
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I could not even finish this to the end! I was very boring.
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Some spots were a little slow, but overall I enjoyed this book. Great attention to detail.
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Good story, a lot of history
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If you are into historical fiction that is detail oriented you will probably like this book I found myself skimming over all the detail, there is just so much of it, landscape, buildings, etc. It is a lengthy book that requires a serious time commitment. If I like a book I can't put it down. It took me several weeks to read this book. If I had it to do over I don't know that I would.
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The Historian surprised me! I was pulled in by others' descriptions of it being a vampire novel that had not succumbed to high-school fantasy. And I must say, it was actually scary. At no point does Dracula ever stop being anything than completely terrifying.

I found the details in the book to be marvelously well-researched (or, I don't know enough about the tops to have detected errors). As a rehabilitated academic myself (biology), I loved the descriptions of research methods and visiting archives - all back in an era where a researcher must physically visit a library. There were other unexpectedly rich layers of details: life in Communist Hungary, the lunch and dinner spreads in Istanbul, and descriptions of medieval book-making.

My only criticism of the book is that it is only truly scary for about a 100 page swath. After that, the tension descends to a much lower level of a mystery novel. This might have been a good thing, since I read it every night. Either way, I couldn't put it down and I'm now passing it around to my friends.
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I thought this was a fantastic book in its genera, wonderfully researched and vivid in description. A must-read for anyone who enjoys eastern European history or the Vampire genera.
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This is an amazing book. Its huge, 900-something pages I believe, but it is well worth it. Its a great recreation of the 'Dracula' tale, and the descriptions of the Old World make it seem like you're actually there.
reviewed The Historian on + 3 more book reviews
Vampires, mystery, smart librarian archealogists women..oh my! If you like vampires, mystery, and wonderful settings you have to read this book.
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A little boring at first, but overall pretty good. No real exciting scenes though.
reviewed The Historian on + 33 more book reviews
Legand of Dracula, a good book, made me want to visit the area and see it for myself
reviewed The Historian on + 257 more book reviews
If you like your mystery to be solved amongst the library stacks, then this is the story for you. Lots of talking through riddles and ending up with Dracula being a compulsive collector of books! Story told in the now popular: remembered action and current action style.
reviewed The Historian on + 65 more book reviews
Absolutely the most innovative presentation of a Dracula tale I have ever read. It explorers the history that developed the whole concept of Vampires.
reviewed The Historian on + 26 more book reviews
Like a big unwieldy onion (or garlic if you like). I finished, but was unsatisfied. Many stories, lots of build-up, not much pay-off.
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At first I wasnt sure If i was going to like a book about vampires but once I picked the book up and started reading it I found I really liked it a lot.A lot of twists and turns.
I wanted to keep reading it to find out what happened next.even though it was a long book I found it to go quickly.I would say this is a book worth reading.
reviewed The Historian on + 3 more book reviews
good book! A little hard to read at times as it is very wordy but still very thought provoking and gave my bookclub a lot to discuss!!
reviewed The Historian on + 91 more book reviews
Entertaining, but a little too long.
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Really, really good story for the adult reader.
reviewed The Historian on + 6 more book reviews
Get lost in this one... it is a long book but a fabulous story wrapped in some history and of course legend. Kostova writes beautifully, and several times I cuddled up with the book grateful that it was lengthy (and I had more to read!). You will love it!
reviewed The Historian on
If you love vampire books you will love this one. It not only makes you feel like you are reading about history but youcant putit down cause you want to know what is going to happen next.
reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
Definitely not my cup of tea. Too many people killed in a library. Don't know much about Eastern Europe and could not relate to the voluminius descriptions of mountains and architexture.
reviewed The Historian on + 90 more book reviews
I just couldn't finish this. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't gripping. About 100 or so pages in, I skipped to the end.
reviewed The Historian on + 55 more book reviews
I am glad that this was an abridged version, I wonder what was removed. This is a never ending story. Or is it? Well researched and interesting. Worth the reading. Recommended if you are looking for a different look at Dracula.
reviewed The Historian on + 30 more book reviews
Very good. Lots of history.
reviewed The Historian on + 2 more book reviews
This was actually a better book than I expected. It was a little bit scary, spooky, gory, romantic, and suspenceful. It is a fast and fun read. Perfect for Halloween!
reviewed The Historian on + 7 more book reviews
Great story, I was hooked.
reviewed The Historian on + 10 more book reviews
full of history, not into vampires. but I loved this book.
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To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think its writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on
Great read.
reviewed The Historian on + 28 more book reviews
Really couldn't get into reading it.
reviewed The Historian on + 902 more book reviews
To my dear and unfortunate successor...
I found this book endlessly fascinating. My husband gave up on it.

I don't mind books that get a little long winded when it comes to detail, and this book reads like a good Dracula mystery just as much as it does a European travelogue. The action and suspense is spaced between pages of seemingly mundane detail of buildings, landscapes, and other observations. I was not distracted by it in the least. Others, however (husband included) simply could not get past it.

I found this book to be imaginative, creepy, and suspenseful. It was a creative new look at a very common subject and I thought Kostova did a very good job of bringing a sense of legitimate mystery and fear back into a character that is so easily made into a cliche.

Once I started this book, I was unable to put it down and was sad to see it end, yet this book won't be for everyone. I think its writing style will appeal to just as many people as it will turn away. For me, there was something about the story itself, the plight of the characters, the endless researching of ancient bone-colored books, the ever present threat of Dracula himself, that had me hooked from the very beginning.

From my perspective, this is an absolute must-read. But it's impossible to say what types of readers will agree with me.
reviewed The Historian on + 5 more book reviews
Great read!
reviewed The Historian on + 141 more book reviews
On the best seller list for months. This is a story of the everlasting life of Dracula and his vampires. It is a dark and mysterious story.
reviewed The Historian on
Loved this book from cover to cover.
reviewed The Historian on
as addictive as the Da Vinci code but not quite as sensationalized - I really enjoyed it.
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Great Story!
reviewed The Historian on + 23 more book reviews
I absolutely loved this book! Kostova is a beautiful writer. She switches seamlessly from so many different points of views it is astounding! I can't wait to get my hands on her next book.
reviewed The Historian on + 40 more book reviews
Just couldn't get into it.
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Decent but overrated.
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I tried 3-4 times to read this book. Long and boring. Whoever wants it can have it!
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This book was a pretty big diversification for me - I read plenty of historical fiction, but rarely do I step outside of England with this reading. I was really pulled in by the story and liked the chance to learn more about history that Im less familiar with.

To read the rest of my review, please visit:
http://dorolerium.com/?p=217
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No dust jacket for this book.