Reader reviews and comments on The Historian, plus links to write your own review.

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The Historian

by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 656 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 688 pages

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Cynthia (10/20/07)

An Historian with no historical knowledge
I began this book last Christmas to read on a plane. The first thing that bothered me was that I realized the plot was going to be dished out in very small doses thanks to Paul's terrible fear of remembering the past events as he struggles over what feels like years to tell his daughter the story. When I got to the point in which the library copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula reaches to a height of ridiculous importance and value I became exasperated. A common book was treated as if it were some rare and exotic piece of lost literature. I put the book down and decided to read it when next I became desparate. I was having a hard time sleeping recently and have gotten almost all the way through the rest of the book in the last few nights. It becomes apparent with each page that Kostova has not done much research into her subject. Her telling of the historical background is almost one-sided against the Prince. Also, the way in which her characters encounter one another sometimes borders on the absurd. It is as though she has spent so much time describing unnecessary things she hasn't pages enough to write more plausable action. The fact this book became a best seller is further evidence I should finally sit down and write a book of my own!
summa (09/20/07)

She'd probably fail a pop vocabulary quiz taken from her own book!
This book reads like an 8th grader writing with a thesaurus in the other hand. It seems like her goal is to "prove" she is smart by using excessively long strings of cumbersome and quaint adjectives to describe everything. She writes about ten pages of plot in the first 130 pages. The characters are two-dimensional. Gratuitous victims appear, become dear friends, and are killed off, in some cases within two pages. Violence and gore are used innappropriately for shock value. The story lacks creativity and direction, and for all the ten-dollar words the writing lacks substance or style. There couldn't possibly have been any editing. How on Earth did this book get published? The worst part, however, is that this poor excuse for an occult thriller is being forced down the throats of some public-school kids as required reading. She must be somebody's blood relative for that to have happened.
Beth (09/18/07)

Can't even sleep at night!
Well, after being up for 4 hours last night scared to death, I thought I should write a review to tell you all to READ THIS BOOK! It's great, I mean, I'm terrified,but it's fantastic. The history is amazing and in depth, I have never cared to travel to Easter Europe until now. I find myself laying in bed telling myself over and over "there's no such thing as vampires..but..." Maybe they do exist
Jen (08/29/07)

Hate it
OH MY GOSH!!! This book was a complete let down. It was confusing and was waaaaayyyy too long. The author needs so much editing in this book.It was soooooooooooo boring.
Larry (08/20/07)

Almost Plausible
This was a quick and enjoyable read but I began to find too many coincidences and how easy the meetings of the various character links (Rossi, Helen, Bora, Master James the professor in Hungary and others just fell into place so easily. I also felt that the relationship of Drakula to Helen's lineage was left unexplained and how Helen's features uncannily resembled those of Drakula. It was fun nevertheless and the ending was to be expected. Too bad Da Vinci Code came first, because it did feel a bit derivative. The Historian however was more plausible with better historical backgrounds. A sequel, most likely and probably a movie.
Jill (06/10/07)

Longer than necessary
I've just finished reading this book. Surprisingly, I took quite a long time to finish it. The story is not gripping. There are several interesting parts but the author goes around and around. She interjected several sentences that made the book longer and should have been omitted.
Emily (05/29/07)

A newfound favorite to excite the masses
Honestly, I am only about halfway through this book and I already believe it to be magnificent. The language is engaging, the plot advances at every page, and the suspense continues to build past each mini-climax. I am sure that this book will only get better and better and I am looking forward to finishing it. I am a hard one to please, and this novel will definitely make my favorites list!
geminisoul (04/10/07)

author in love with her words, not the plot
It was late last night that I decided I will either force myself to finish this book or I never will. I started skimming and scanning through the last 200 pages, not giving a damn anymore to the endless, frivolous, minutely detailed descriptions, or facts for that matter. Ms. Kostova is just in love with every word she types, and in doing so, she sacrifices tempo and momentum in such a plot, where flipping through pages as fast and breathless as one can should be the prime concern with a brick novel as this one.

Also, ms. Kostova seems to be quite under the effect of her Bulgarian husband when it comes to formulating a stand point for the region's history and politics.

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