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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

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

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warren martin (03/30/07)

could inspire a movie
The Historian is a refreshing and captivating piece that could beautiful film. It has all the making of a fascinating movie. it skims the thin line between fiction and fact that is vital for good horror. With a few modification I see a blockbuster.
Ken (03/14/07)

Overrated
I thought this book had great promise, especially after reading the excerpts and reviews.

I loved the premise; there was some fascinating historical information; but in the end I was totally disappointed.

I found the structure annoying and confusing, and the book was way too long. Might have worked at one third the length.

It did make me want to know more about the subject, and when I researched the topic on the Internet, I found my readings there much more interesting than the book.

In general, I found this an arduous read, and my favorite part was when I finished.

I moved from "The Historian" to "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a much better book and a much faster read.
Gaye (03/06/07)

The Historian
My favorite part of The Historian was the Book Sleeve. At the creepiest moments, I would turn the book sideways and look into Vlad's eyes! It is not often that the book sleeve adds so much to a novel, this one did! Have recommended this book to my book club, daughters and neighbor. ALL have returned with a big "thank you!" A tremendous read!
Rachel (03/05/07)

Best Dracula Storys
I really enjoyed this book. Kostova gets you interested just by you reading the first sentence. This just became my favorite vampire story since Dracula... wait... it's better than Dracula!!!
Sprite (03/05/07)

Fabulous
I am smitten by this book, having finished it a few days ago I can not get it out of my head and feel lost at not having it to open every day to keep reading. I thought Elizabeth Kostova's writing style was beautiful and poignant and at times perfectly poetic, without ever being too flowery or cliched. Her descriptions of European locations visited throughout the story were so vivid I felt as though I was transported there, and now would very much like to visit places I had no particular interest in before reading this book.

I found the characters themselves to be intriguing, addictive and likeable, propelling a plot steeped in history that needed a humanity lent to it by personable characters, bringing a long forgotten past alive to the reader.

A brilliant, brilliant book, one of my all time favourites and one I will without question read and recommend to anyone who will listen!
Bob F (02/03/07)

Don't waste your time
This is a book in desperate need of an editor. At best this is a wordy travel guide and a reminder to never believe the major reviewers. It is almost inconceivable that the author can ramble on for over 600 pages and still manage to leave so many loose ends, like who's this mysterious librarian that follows them around and what's the deal with Helen's "family" connection? I also hated the way she left the door open for a sequel. Don’t waste your valuable time on this poor excuse for a thriller.
Denise (01/07/07)

Ho-hum
I was very excited to read this book as several of my friends had read and enjoyed it. From the beginning, I found it very tedious and uninteresting. I kept waiting for it to get better, but it never did! I thought the characters were very poorly developed, which made it impossible for me to empathize with any of them. The only character that had any real depth for me was Helen's mother, and her part in the story was minimal. I did not find the book to be suspensful or frightening, as many of my friends did. Again, I think this was due to the fact that I just could not connect with any of the characters. Most of the time I was reading this book, I was merely counting down how many pages I still had to read. I was in hopes that the ending would be good enough to somewhat make up for the poor story line, but the ending was as dissapointing as the rest of the book.
Fiery Wordess (01/04/07)

Unsettled
Perhaps I tried to read this book too quickly while on semester break, but I definitely went back and forth on whether or not I liked it. I must say in all sincerity that I believe Ms. Kostova is a blossoming author with a genuine talent in both description and research. I could tell that her characters had great depth, however, I do not believe she delivered them well. I felt every character shared the same dialogue patterns and the descriptions in diary entries and letters were obscenely lengthy and detailed. Were I writing a letter to my daughter warning her against the dangers of Vlad Tepes as well as informing her of her mother and our research, I do not think I would include a sumptuous description of my meal on a patio of an "exquisite" restaurant.

What saved this story for me was its originality and (probably) my infatuation with the vampire legacy. She had an excellent story to tell. I just wish that she had spent more time in the present and less in the very verbose past.

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