Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Historian: A Review

OK, so I just finished reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, and let me just say: BOO! First of all, it took me approximately 500 years to get through it because rather than actually reading it, I had checked out the book-on-CD version from the library, and it came with 22 discs. 22! So, to begin with, it was insanely long. Secondly, it was a GIANT snoozefest. You would think, in a book about Dracula chasing people through Europe that some exciting things might happen. WRONG! In fact, even though all of these academics are on the hunt for the fanged fiend, they look for him the only way they know how—in the library! Seriously, their sole means of seeking him out is in reading books to look for “clues” as to his whereabouts (including Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which for some reason they consider an actual source). And, unluckily for the reader, Kostova includes these documents verbatim in the text of the novel.

Vampires: Scary :: Researchers: Boring 
Anyway, I was intrigued by the book initially because I knew that it was a bestseller, and because it put a historical perspective on the Dracula myth, which I find interesting. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. If you’re still interested in the book, I recommend reading the Amazon reviews for clues as to why some people liked it. I honestly have no idea.
Takeaway: The Historian plods over hundreds of pages, attempting to offer readers a suspenseful epic, but pointless plot points, epic plot holes, and dull characters kept this reader from engaging. I can’t believe I read the whole thing!
SPOILER ALERT/Alternate Ending:
I came up with an idea for an alternate ending that could have redeemed the whole thing—and up until Dracula’s sudden (and anti-climactic!!) demise, I thought that it was actually going to happen.
WHAT IF it turned out that the daughter-narrator had been recording this tale for posterity this entire time because SHE had agreed to become Dracula’s vampire librarian??? As in, instead of ridding the world of evil, she just gave in and agreed to commit her afterlife to cataloging Dracula’s collection.
Have you read it? If so, what do you think of my alternate ending?


  1. I warned you about the ending (double BOO) but I loved the rest of the book. You should definitely read The Sherlockian because it's NOTHING like The Historian (sarcasm). This is Matthew, btw.

  2. I am with you. This book should've been called The Barfian.