Review: “It touched me to be trusted with something terrible.”

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The Historian
I have promised this post for days now and in an effort to get you a review I am not sleeping.  I am trying to remember as much as I can about  the Best Vampire Novel since Anne Rice in her heyday.  The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, published in 2005, is a fantastic book; however, it is not for the faint of heart or really small of brain.  It is not a young adult novel full of vampiric love. The monsters here do not sparkle in the sun or have rings which let them prance around a small town where no one is suspicious of doppelgangers. 
It has been years since I last read this book (2006), but my memory of it is that it was a wonderful, because it focused on the Dracula mythos while reading like scholarship.  The story which centers on a young woman and her search for Vlad the Impaler is quickly summarized on Wikipedia as follows:

The Historian interweaves the history and folklore of Vlad Ţepeş, a 15th-century prince of Wallachia known as “Vlad the Impaler”, and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula together with the story of Paul, a professor; his 16-year-old daughter; and their quest for Vlad’s tomb.

This is not a book of blood and splatter; it is one of shivers and horror.  The format of the book, a story told through documents, i.e. letters, maps, historical sources, is one of the things which I  loved, however, it is one of the things that people argue about most heatedly.  If you read reviews on Amazon, Good Reads or any of the book sites, you will find lovers and loathers to her style. I found it difficult to read but like many things in life, good ≠ easy.  I will point you too Suzanna Clarke and Catherynne M. Valente as further proof of this.  Perhaps it is my deep desire to go back to school and become a librarian which made this book so near and dear to my heart.  And the fact that it read much like Victorian literature only added to my delight, because the only thing better than being a librarian, is being a steampunk librarian.

Elizabeth Kostova won the Quill Award for Debut Author of the Year in 2005.  The Historian was nominated for the International Horror Guild’s award for Best Novel in 2005 and won Book Sense’s award for Best Adult Fiction.

photo credit: -MandarX- via photopin cc

One thought on “Review: “It touched me to be trusted with something terrible.”

  1. I've had this book on my TBR pile for ages and still have not yet read it! I must get to it sooner rather than later!!

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