Book Review: The Historian

The HistorianImage
Elizabeth Kostova
Horror, Vampire
Published: June 2005
Publisher: Little Brown & Company


            Late one night while exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
            The Letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known – and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself – to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive.


                The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is told from the perspective of many characters spread across the span of about a lifetime. I thought personally, that there would be more suspense action and intrigue then there really was. Throughout the 650ish pages of the hardcover addition, the search you partake with these characters are basically sought out through cryptic letters and old dusty books, in old dusty libraries. For me, there was little action, and little pleasure taken with the story line that bounced around so much.
                I was hoping for something more terrifying, perhaps edgy, something that would make me nervous to go to sleep at night and not put me to sleep at night, which it did. That being said, I did quite enjoy some aspects of the story line and how the story progressed, however I did not enjoy it enough to even bring this novel up to the full rating of 3/5.
                I was very disappointed in Dracula’s character, in fact, more disappointed in his character than I think perhaps I have ever been before. Dracula in the Historian is based on Vlad the Impaler, who was a three-time ‘Voivode of Wallachia’, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. As his name suggests, he was dark, twisted and did some really messed up things, so how he ended up like this particular Dracula was hard to absorb nor understand as it seemed quite unlikely that he would behave the way that he did in ‘The Historian’.
                Overall, despite a few moments of suspense and interest, I found that I was forcing myself to finish this book. I can see why some would enjoy this, however for me it was a monster of a headache but I’m glad that I’ve finally finished, and I can say with gusto that I have. I will not be likely to pick this up any time soon, but perhaps years from now I will find myself yearning for it. Part of me must have liked it because I did indeed finish it.
                What about you guys, have any of you finished this novel? Did you like it or did you hate it? Let me know I’m very curious!
                Be back with another review soon ❤


4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Historian

  1. I finished this book. My expectation was also that this would be something scary, but it wasn’t! In my review, I also said that I felt it was dragging a bit. After finishing it, I admit that it was an interesting story, but it did take some getting used to!

    • I am so saddened by it ha ha. I was expecting SO much more 😦 Basically they sat around in libraries… not really my thing! (In terms of what i’m reading anyways) I wanted a little more action.

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