TBF : The Book Files : The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova 

Hi guys! 

There has been so much going on in my crazy life! I’ve been caught up with Bookstagramming and hosting the various traditions for our bookclub and my family things, so much that I haven’t put up a blog post in 4 weeks!! Nonetheless, I promise to post regularly, if not everyday!

Today’s post is a book review on The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I bought this one from  http://www.bookchor.com and for a 600 plus paged book, at INR 98/- it was a real steal! 

The story kicks off when the narrator, scrounging through her Historian father’s library, comes across a strange vintage book with the woodcut of a dragon with a looping tail in the centre and all the other pages are blank. Intrigued, she questions her father who recounts the tale of how the book came to be in his possession and how by opening the book herself, the narrator had unknowingly become the successor to the sad and unfortunate legacy carried by her father. Told in atmospheric settings and exotic places, he tells her how he found the book and so did his adviser cum friend, Professor Rossi, who gave him his extensive research notes and disappears without a trace leaving behind a trail of blood. The narrator gets the shock of her life when her father suddenly goes missing, leaving behind a note telling her that he has gone off to look for her mother, previously believed to be dead. Now left alone in the mystery, she sets out to look for her dad and find an end to this madness that broke her family. 

Told mostly in the epistolary format and old research documents, it weaves the journey of a historian to find an elusive creature that haunts him: Dracula. The book does take off gradually (and I’m going to avoid using the word slow here because somehow, it’s a derogatory term to the author’s writing) as the characters fall into place and several pieces of the puzzle work themselves right to form a picture. Kostova has gone to great lengths to corroborate the right research documents and titles to make it more authentic and that’s one of the most commendable points of the book. If you aren’t into extensive scene setting, detailed research documents (some around 4 pages long) or have trouble with a little over-description can easily give this one a skip but I would definitely urge you to give this book a go, at least once! 

I was a tad bit disappointed with the ending/climax and I believe it could have been a little more dramatically  appropriate for the suspense Kostova built in 600 pages. Someone pointed out on GoodReads that the book is full of coincidences and the plot abruptly shifts from practical to unbelievable. I, as for that matter, agree to disagree. The coincidences were the moments that had been meant to bring characters together because they were destined to play this game of hide and seek, TOGETHER. Another one pointed out that the characters didn’t have any depth and the Historians Paul and Helen got together because there was nothing better to do. What? If I’m in a life threatening situation and there is someone who not only stands by me but is also willing to give the future a go, DESPITE the fact that I might one day become a bloodsucker and kill him, I’ve got news for you, love. I will give it a go. True, the romantic buildup wasn’t exactly what you would see in a romantic novel, BUT THAT’S BECAUSE IT ISN’T ONE! You find relationships often at the deepest troughs of your life and if they had paid enough attention, they would have realised the gradual shift in their banter. I’m not overtly romantic and if someone would have broken into a song in the middle of a monastery to prove their love,  I would have whacked his backside! I actually found their shift in comfort and mutual respect a much better an approach to showcase the love instead of Paul breaking into a bollywood number on the top of Hagia Sophia!

I know I’m ranting and rumbling but I think people should understand that not every relationship is made through melodramatic PDA nor through explicit vocation of their innermost feelings. Sometimes, holding a hand or an involuntary hug can speak volumes! 

Rating : 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 

  • Characters : 8/10 (I think a lot of characters got lost in the research play out and I would have loved to see more of them. Other than that, I think all the characters were extremely well portrayed. Paul, as a single father, carrying this burden of information, comes across as a loving and caring person while Helen, abandoned by her father, is understandably rude or practical at times.
  • Storyline: 9.99/10 (Lol! well, I didn’t exactly like the ending much but I couldn’t bear to give it any less than that!! 
  • ✔ Writing Style : 10/10 (I’m in love with Kostova’s excellent and poignant writing. I had to reread so many different quotes from the book because they sent me into an emotional overdrive. Poetic yet, easy to read, I think even written mostly in an epistolary format, it’s a welcome read for anyone willing to give it a shot!

That’s it! Hope you guys enjoyed the post/rant! 

See you guys soon!

Happy Reading! 


One Comment Add yours

  1. I’m really intrigued about this book. Also because there’s a vampire character 😅. Please don’t tell me it’s an ugly looking scary vampire. But if it’s slow paced then I dunno whether I would like it or not


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