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“The Historian” – Elizabeth Kostova - They Told a Story
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Subject:“The Historian” – Elizabeth Kostova
Time:10:47 am
Okay. Here we go. I hope my LJ cuts work!

Reading this book was a bit of a struggle for me. I finished it because I was committed already to the story by the time the writing and narrative style annoyed me beyond belief.

To begin with, and I had said this in a previous post, I didn’t buy that these incredibly intelligent, university trained, historians believed that Dracula is still alive. They accept it without question or a moment of disbelief. Yet, they’re off risking life, limb and political imprisonment to do this “research”.

The letter that is found at the beginning that causes the daughter to confront the father – that is never completed. It begins “My dear and unfortunate successor”. As the story continues and her father reads Rossi’s letters, this one is never mentioned again.

The Librarian that follows them from the University -- what happens to him? Either I completely missed this part of the book or she never concludes his story.

The books that the researchers/historians receive that start them on their journey -- if Dracula is directly and/or indirectly responsible for them receiving these books, it would follow that he wants them to do the research. This is revealed later in the book when he actually appears and has interaction with Rossi. Why then, the terrible tragedies that befall people, or in Paul’s case – his cat? It would seem that the purpose of those events would be to deter them from pursuing Dracula but, he says he wants them to pursue him. It’s the sole reason for giving them the books because that’s how he’s going to find the eternal librarian for his collection.

Lastly, I was extremely disappointed in the climax. She shoots Dracula? Where is the knockdown, dragged out fight scene? He succumbed far too easily, if you ask me. I would have thought the ancient vampire would have been a little bit harder to kill.

This book could have been several hundred pages shorter. Her hero/heroines advances through the storyline moved at a snails pace. The narrative jumps between father and daughter were annoying and the plot device of using letters and journals was a copout. It made sense at the beginning but Rossi writing those letters while he’s being held captive? The postcards found from the mother at the end? At that point, it had been used too much and was obviously a safe and simple way for explanatory purposes.

All that being said, I realize I’m not great author myself and I hate to trash someone else’s work so freely. I think the biggest problem for me was the way this book had been lauded by critics and the media. My expectations were set way too high. Also, as a fan of vampire literature and lore, I was expecting more Dracula and not quite so much a history lesson of the Ottoman Empire.

At best, the book was averagely entertaining and if her research was accurate, a decent lesson in history. At worst, it did not live up to expectations and became something quite other than it was advertised as being.

Would I recommend it? No. Rate it on a scale of 1-10... 5. Will I read it again? Never.
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“The Historian” – Elizabeth Kostova - They Told a Story
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