Book Review: The Historian

The Historian

By Elizabeth Kostova

The HistorianThis is a book I’d never heard of before coming across it on Goodreads Bookswap, which is a shame, because it’s a gem. Most of the vampire stories that have come out recently have been along the lines of Twilight – at the most basic, a human falling in love with a vampire. And that’s fine, those can be entertaining and enjoyable. But they do get a bit old after a few. The Historian, quite refreshingly, did NOT follow that vein. It is an investigative journey spanning decades, delving into the root and history of vampirism and in particular the ‘original’ vampire, Vlad Tepes, aka. Vlad Drakul, aka. Dracula. It shifts narrators (and decades) between a professor of history, a student of his turned diplomat, and the diplomat’s 18-year-old daughter, each sucked into the mystery and intrigue surrounding Dracula. They are all bound together in an insatiable (albeit dangerous) quest for knowledge, and Kostova weaves together history and fiction seamlessly. I have no idea if the history (aside from elements of vampirism) is accurately portrayed, but my guess would be the author did some painstaking research from the level of detail conveyed. I don’t want to say too much more here, because I’m not sure how to talk about plot elements, etc. without spoilers. Suffice to say that I enjoyed this book immensely, and highly recommend it. The only ‘down’ points are that sometimes the history is a bit dry (though never for long, thankfully) and some plot holes are never filled (though the narrator offers an excuse for this in the preface/beginning).

I give it 4/5 stars.


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The Historian