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!Read Epub ë The Historian à Late one night, exploring her father s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to My dear and unfortunate successor Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of a labyrinth where the secrets of her father s past and her mother s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history This book is impossible to resist It has fairly leapt to the top shelf, where it s nestled down deep with my all time favourites I confess to being initially reluctant to delve into this story, I mean who really needs another campy, vampire tale Lucky for me I put these feelings aside long enough to read the first chapter after which there was no looking back Step into the pages and begin an eerie, haunted, hypnotic adventure thoroughly saturated in ancient history and wondrous, exotic, old This book is impossible to resist It has fairly leapt to the top shelf, where it s nestled down deep with my all time favourites I confess to being initially reluctant to delve into this story, I mean who really needs another campy, vampire tale Lucky for me I put these feelings aside long enough to read the first chapter after which there was no looking back Step into the pages and begin an eerie, haunted, hypnotic adventure thoroughly saturated in ancient history and wondrous, exotic, old European churches, monasteries and libraries that are positively brimming with ancient parchment and long, forgotten maps and books Kostova s historical tracking of the real Vlad Drakulya is flawless and she is able to describe with a chilling, atmospheric eye for detail, the many settings as well as the political climate in which this story unfolds A full speed ahead rich, historical thriller with enough gothic images, cultural folklore, ancient crypts and creaking stairs that it is sure to raise the hair on the back of your neck and no doubt a compulsive, insatiable interest in this age old tale This truly is GREAT fiction This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here You know you ve been in school too long when you write a vampire novel in which Dracula s ultimate threat is to force his victims to catalog his extensive library of antique books On the other hand, after finishing The Historian, and its detailed Vlad the Impaler research, I m willing to consider that threat as akin to impalement If Kostova s references to Henry James did not reveal her as an admirer of his, then its sprawling prose, vague plot, and sexually confused characters would have Whi You know you ve been in school too long when you write a vampire novel in which Dracula s ultimate threat is to force his victims to catalog his extensive library of antique books On the other hand, after finishing The Historian, and its detailed Vlad the Impaler research, I m willing to consider that threat as akin to impalement If Kostova s references to Henry James did not reveal her as an admirer of his, then its sprawling prose, vague plot, and sexually confused characters would have While imitation of Henry James is not enough in itself to make me wish undeath on an author, it sucked the blood out of this adventure Kostova writes The Historian in epistolary form, primarily through letters from a father historian to a daughter presumably historian The greater part of the book, however, focused not on this father daughter team s desperate search for family member s and Dracula, but on the obscure history of Vlad Tepes, the historical figure who inspired the legend of Dracula, and on the geography of Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey during the Cold War If the Travel Channel was ever looking for someone to host Istanbul on a Budget 1980 or Passport to Monasteries Behind the Iron Curtain, Kostova would be their woman Whether the history and geography is true or not, the sheer volume of trivia padding this book and the work it had to have taken to put it all together is confounding Even with the impressive research, this story is Scooby Doo with no Scooby Snacks Dracula would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren t for those pesky historians Dracula and his henchman, the evil librarian, don t plague society or cause panic Rather, they make appearances in goofy disguises in libraries and cafes to give books and other clues to especially promising young historians, inspiring the recipients to begin insatiable quests to find outabout this Dracula fellow Then, Dracula inevitably shows up again to slap people around a little, so that the historians will be too afraid to continue their research Once, after giving a historian a book to start him on his vampire studies, Dracula disguises himself as a stranger and buys that historian a drink called, whimsically, amnesia Bet you can t guess what that does all that research down the tubes Stop the mind games, Dracula Not to be deterred by Dracula s or the Evil Librarian s threats, the historians continue to stalk their prey until the reader would pity Dracula if he weren t annoying , because he is ultimately only trying to build a book collection and a gang of faithful research assistants In painful detail, Paul, the central historian vampire slayer, as he tells his daughter the story of his search for Dracula, also tells of falling in love with her mannish mother, Helen The consistent descriptions of our heroine as manly only hint at Paul s sexual confusion, which becomes most apparent when he meets his rival, Helen s ex boyfriend, a Soviet spy Paul describes this meeting to his daughter in chapter 38 What a pleasure to meet you, ex boyfriend said, giving me a smile that illuminated his fine features He was taller than I, with thick brown hair and the confident posture of a man who loves his own virility he would have been magnificent on horseback, riding across the plains with herds of sheep, I thought Except for the word virility, I don t think I ll ever get tired of reading that description If the author of the quote had been a man, I would encourage him to openly write gay characters rather than making his characters marry to hide their sexuality From the author s picture on the dust jacket, I see that she is Madame Bovary, so the description fits It is true that because of the vagueness of the plot and the epistolary structure, entire chapters and characters could be cut from this book without losing any story Beyond its rambling descriptions, however, The Historian flounders as a vampire story Psychological conflict adds complexity to most vampire stories, as in Bram Stoker s Dracula, when Mina, formerly a protagonist, becomes bloodthirsty Thirst is the most basic human experience, and all vampires started as humans Theoretically, thirst or,broadly, desire could become evil in anyone and, therefore, of all monsters we most easily identify with vampires In The Historian, however, I am left with the impression that if those historians left poor Dracula alone, he would have just kept collecting books It was ultimately the research and study, not Dracula himself, that took the historians away from their loved ones and almost destroyed them From where I m reading, The Historian is solid evidence of what most high school kids could tell you too much study is both boring and potentially bad for your health This has got to be one of the most disappointing books I ve read in a long time Although the descriptions of the various eastern European cities are often pretty and atmospheric, my frustration with this book won t let me mark it above one star.It starts out well very interesting and suspenseful for about the first 100 pages or so But as you read it, the book just getsandridiculous It s about 600 900 pages long which is way, way too long and I urge anyone reading this book t This has got to be one of the most disappointing books I ve read in a long time Although the descriptions of the various eastern European cities are often pretty and atmospheric, my frustration with this book won t let me mark it above one star.It starts out well very interesting and suspenseful for about the first 100 pages or so But as you read it, the book just getsandridiculous It s about 600 900 pages long which is way, way too long and I urge anyone reading this book to just put it down or read one of the one star spoiler reviews onand be done with it Or better yet, ignore the book entirely.What bothered me most I ll try to make a list of my top issues Coincidences Everything in this book happens by some remarkable coincidences One here or there would be fine, even interesting, but it s as if the author decided here s how the plot should go , and couldn t be bothered to come up with realistic reasons for characters to do things and just wanted to move them from one point to another One of the characters even ends up with amnesia Amnesia Like from a bad soap opera I mean, are you kidding So stuff just happens For no reason Which leads me to Stuff just happens For no reason Such as characters getting together romantically, well, just because No build up, no logic, they just do because I guess they re both there and they have nothing better to do Which leads me to The characters themselves Completely non existent One reviewer onsaid that if you take any random section of dialogue from the book, it is impossible to tell which character it came from So true The author is completely incapable of creating realistic, breathing characters that are different from each other Instead they all talk the same, they all have the same reactions, the same motives, hook up randomly in the same way, etc There is nothing believable about these people And for some reason, they all write unbelievably detailed letters Which leads me to Unbelievably detailed letters Now I have read a number of great books that use the format of letter writing to convey the plot But this Ridiculous Not only are these letters insanely long, but they are insanely detailed as well, creating yet another reason why the book and the characters are completely unbelievable If that s how the author wanted to write this, why did she do the letter thing at all Which brings me to my final big gripe I ve leaving the small ones out The ending OMG if you value your sanity, do not, I repeat DO NOT finish this book Because if you are sane, you will get to the ending and go, What What Are you f n kidding me That s the stupidest thing I ve ever heard No joke The ending, especially after 600 pages, has got to be the biggest let down of any major novel in recent years I won t spoil it here however badly I want to vent about it , but I swear to you it will cause you physical agony when you read it.In short bad book, promises a lot and delivers none of it Ignore it, read something else January 3, 2014Dear Khanh of 2006,I am your older, wiser self Many things will happen in the years that have elapsed before you become the me of today You will fall in love You will break hearts You will get your heart broken karma s a bitch You will change jobs You will graduate from college.Most importantly, you will becomeintelligent, you will learn the art of advanced thinking because really, all college teaches you is how to get good grades by regurgitating textbooks When you January 3, 2014Dear Khanh of 2006,I am your older, wiser self Many things will happen in the years that have elapsed before you become the me of today You will fall in love You will break hearts You will get your heart broken karma s a bitch You will change jobs You will graduate from college.Most importantly, you will becomeintelligent, you will learn the art of advanced thinking because really, all college teaches you is how to get good grades by regurgitating textbooks When you are older, as you begin to read critically, you will learn to appreciate a good book, and you will be able to identify literary bullshit when you see it.That s all this book is Literary bullshit.This book is dramatic rubbish, artistic gibberish It is nothingthan a glorified travel brochure.Seriously, younger Khanh, what the fuck were you thinking when you enjoyed this book You thought it was sweet, you thought it was romantic, you thought the writing was beautiful Really Really Between 2006 and 2014, you will be able to identify purple prose when you see it You will realize that flowery prose is not good writing Correlation does not imply causation, and good writing does not necessarily encompass a good plot.You will be able to recognize a deus ex fucking machina when you see it Oh, I know that you learned about deus ex machina in AP English You learned a lot of things in English class You learned about symbolism, foreshadowing, all that good shit, but really, it does you no fucking good unless you are able to identify it when you see it And clearly, you did not see the tremendous, horrifying, abominable that s a hyperbole overuse of deus ex fucking machina upon your first perusal of this book.You will realize that a good epistolary book involving several different characters should have the characters be actually fucking distinct Did you seriously think this book was realistic in any way, when you cannot distinguish between the narrative of an old man, an older man, and that of a girl as she grows from her early teens Did you ever for a moment think upon the complete absurdity of the letters and the storytelling, particularly when said letters and spoken stories were told in excruciating minutiae Is that realistic in any way In your letters, have you ever once mentioned the trivialities of your evening routine, particularly when it made absolutely no relevance whatsoever to whatever point you were trying to make While I waited I poked up the fire, added another log, set out two glasses, and surveyed my desk My study also served me for a sitting room, and I made sure it was kept as orderly and comfortable as the solidity of its nineteenth century furnishings demanded I had completed a great deal of work that afternoon, supped off a plate brought up to me at six o clock, and then cleared the last of my papers When you tell a story to your friends, have you ever once mentioned the drumming of your fingertips when you re trying to tell a story of supposedly the utmost importance I drummed my fingers on the desktop The clock in my study seemed to be ticking unusually loudly tonight, and the urban half darkness seemed too still behind my venetian blinds I know you are young and stupid, but you are not that stupid Please don t tell me that this book fooled you in any way Did you seriously buy into the letters and the stories Fucking letters Fucking stories Bullshit attempts at letters and storytelling and an epistolary timeline that is everything overwrought, all that is overdramatic and completely devoid of sense and rationality I would beg for a little bit of sensationalism over sense, because overall, the plot of this story is entirely lacking in anything remotely resembling fascination, anything that would captivate and hold the imagination rather than lulls it to sleep.You endured over 700 pages of this balderdash for a story that doesn t even bring any sense of excitement Vlad Tepes holds no danger He is the equivalent of a grown up high school bully Once powerful, he no longer holds any amount of thrall The only remnants of his power are the few close hangers on, the few douchebags foolish enough to cling onto the remains of a long diminished power That high school bully might scare a few odd child here and there, with his posturing, with his scowls You, as an adult, are no longer afraid You, as an adult, should know better than to buy into this book s aesthetically pleasing, inconsequential claptrap.Reluctantly yours,An older, aerudite, a considerablycritical Khanh