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What readers think of The Historian, plus links to write your own review.

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The Historian

by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova X
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 656 pages

    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 688 pages

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There are currently 71 reader reviews for The Historian
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Maxine

The Historian
I would not want to read it again. After the first chapter you hope it will become more interesting but it just seems to be the same the whole way through, although there were one or two interesting chapters. To many loose ends, not enough structure and far too long!
Cynthia

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!
geminisoul

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.
Shelby Magid

Put it down!
The book may SEEM like a good story, but that's only until you read it. I am a book lover, especially of historical fiction. I was very excited to the read this book, until I actually did. Overall the book is interesting, but I suffered through actually reading it. Although there are good parts, you need to search hard to find them. The author has so much to say, and jams it all in. Big words are used when they are not needed.. It was a disappointment. If you have nothing else to read, go for it! It's not a bad book, just not presented well.
Vance

More is almost never better!
This is yet another example of a book that was hyped beyond all reasonable measure in the media. While the writing is certainly competent, apparently no one had the guts to tell her, "Hey, this might be a good read if it WERE HALF AS LONG!" Seriously, I just read John Irving's "Until I find You," and, at 827-pages, it seemed like a short story compared to this bloated imitation of an Ann Rice novel.
Bella Firenze

Good Grief, FIND AN EDITOR
Having just read the last page of The Historian (I wanted to finish what I started, despite the agony), I felt like, in a sense, I was being gaslit. I mean, do the avid readers out there actually esteem this book as something worthwhile and recommendable? I had read SO many glowing reviews before I started reading it and was really anticipating a juicy, historically dense thriller. All I kept thinking as I got further into the story was this: how on earth did this book even get published?! I could not believe HOW MANY PAGES of absolutely zero consequence could be written. At least 600 of the 900 pages could have easily been omitted. It’s my own fault - I should have returned the book to the library when I started questioning the editing (or complete lack thereof). I was happy to find other readers with a similar experience of this story - guess I’m not that crazy after all.
Ian

The Historian
Of the hundreds of books I have read this is easily the most poorly written. The ideas are derivative like so many of the books which float in the wake of Dan Brown. There's evidence of a lot of research but the attitude seems to be 'I've worked hard getting all this together and I'm going to cram it all in if it kills me!'
Add a dash of Dracula and you end up with an utter waste of time.
avidreader

Too wordy, chopped up, language, just plain boring
I have never stopped reading a book before, but in this case it was justified. I tried reading it over a period of 2 weeks, but found it way too difficult to follow. Didn't know if it was the father or daughter speaking. Too much italics which makes it difficult for an older reader to even see. (Hint to writers, if you are going to use italics, make the font of the italics larger, so it can be seen by senior citizens.) Putting the book down without finishing it goes against the grain, but in this case I let out a huge sigh of relief knowing I did not have to finish it.

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