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The Historian

 
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The Historian - 14/9/2006 2:37:15 PM   
mad_looney


Posts: 1620
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: The Fridge
I know alot of people on this forum are reading it. Is it any good? Ive seen it cheep but dont know wether to get it or not.

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Post #: 1
RE: The Historian - 15/9/2006 2:51:10 PM   
crayon


Posts: 3515
Joined: 1/10/2005
From: East-ish
I read it a couple of weeks ago, it's interesting but I wasn't a massive fan.  There are two reasons for this:  1) My friend has decided to educate me in the ways of the horror/vampire novel and so I have recently read a lot of books that do it better and in more interesting ways; 2) I am deeply cynical and not impressed that Elizabeth Kostova was paid $2 million as an advance on the basis of her pitch for it, not for writing already completed.

As a starting point for learning more about Dracula and vampiric myths, it is interesting.  A lot of it seems unecessary, there's a fair amount of travelling and walking through woods that I think could have been cut.  I was a touch disappointed with the ending.  Comparisons to The Da Vinci Code are fair, I think - it's an intellectual race against time with a strong sense of the influence of history upon the present day and it follows clues left by a previous generation.  I'd happily give it 3/5, as I say I have read better vampire books recently or the mark would have been higher.


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Post #: 2
RE: The Historian - 15/9/2006 3:23:05 PM   
Sundance

 

Posts: 961
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Belfast
I still haven't managed to get through it. It's been described as more of a travelogue than anything else. Chapters start off describing food and the countryside and then there's two lines at the end that have something to do with Dracula before another chapter to do with orange juice and architecture. A few people who have managed to finish it have told me it's not bad, but I haven't heard anyone rave about it.

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Post #: 3
RE: The Historian - 15/9/2006 3:57:49 PM   
Felix

 

Posts: 15692
Joined: 29/9/2005
From: Brighton
I managed to finish it and the general feeling was 'meh'. Most of the book feels like an introduction to a bigger story and it seems to feel that its a far more important piece of work than it is. Anne Rice has done it far better, and on more occasions.

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Post #: 4
RE: The Historian - 16/9/2006 12:15:09 AM   
Pinkvelvet

 

Posts: 440
Joined: 30/9/2005
I'm almost finished and thoroughly enjoying it.  I liek all the history thrown in so I'm quite happy with the 'travelog' feel to it.  I woudl certainly recommend you try it at least.

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Post #: 5
RE: The Historian - 16/9/2006 5:58:06 AM   
mumblin sumpthin


Posts: 6842
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Dreaming of electric sheep
I'm still only on Chapter 6 but I'm liking it so far, whether that will be the case by the end or not is open to question though.

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Post #: 6
RE: The Historian - 16/9/2006 7:32:07 AM   
i007_Bond_007i


Posts: 8026
Joined: 5/10/2005
I bought this yesterday in the BOGOF deal in WHSmith. Won't have time to read it just yet, got to finish The Shadow Of The Wind first.

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Post #: 7
RE: The Historian - 17/9/2006 7:08:11 PM   
KennyM


Posts: 2816
Joined: 7/4/2006
Read it yonks ago and really enjoyed it. I'd recommend it

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Post #: 8
RE: The Historian - 18/9/2006 12:12:02 PM   
paulyboy


Posts: 2596
Joined: 30/9/2005
I enjoyed it, very much so to begin with, but it's horrendously overlong in my opinion. There's a portion of the book, about two thirds the way in where it really does seem to drag for a suspisiously long-time. It ramps up for the climax obvioulsy but the aforementioned sag almost grounded the book to a halt. Worth reading though I'd say.

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Post #: 9
RE: The Historian - 18/9/2006 12:14:29 PM   
Funkyrae


Posts: 20410
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Just stick a pin in a map
This is on my "to read" list.  Along with a huge list of others

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Post #: 10
RE: The Historian - 18/9/2006 3:16:21 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54624
Joined: 1/10/2005
One point to the poster above - the problem many had with this book is that it has virtually nothing to do with vampire myths and history - it is almost as if Kostova heard a vague summary of dracula and made up the rest herself. This is referred to in many reviews and did set many fans of vampire fictions against the book irrespective. So it isn't an addition to 'canon' - but even more fictional than most.

Not that it is a bad book - I think the pacing is excellent and you plow through the book at a rate of knots. The prose is generally OK although the dialogue does occasionally make you wince - not uncommon with preternaturally adept 'young people' as protagonists. But a decent book all in all and a pretty fair read.

But nought to do with vampire fiction! If your friend is genuinely trying to educate you in horror it is an odd start - I would suggest Dracula itself (a surprisingly, for many, literary piece) and for just an excellent story avoid Rice's awful gothic sequels. I'd recomment George R R Martin's "Fevre Dream".

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Post #: 11
RE: The Historian - 18/9/2006 5:38:08 PM   
crayon


Posts: 3515
Joined: 1/10/2005
From: East-ish
I'm assuming this is directed at me - my friend hasn't 'started' me with this book, I read it of my own voilition; it's far from being the first vampire novel I have read.  I have read Dracula and there are actually a number of similarities between the two, The Historian quotes extensively from it in many places.  I fail to see how it doesn't have anything to do with vampire fiction, given that it extensively uses the myths surrounding Vlad Dracula.

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Post #: 12
RE: The Historian - 18/9/2006 8:29:09 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54624
Joined: 1/10/2005
Of which it actually apparently makes quite a bit up. Which is no criticism inofitself - it is a work of fiction after all. And 'aims' at makes me think you took the post a little more aggressively than it was intended to be? It was only advice - easily dismissed if you aren't interested. But it wasn't meant to be rude and I'm sorry if that was the way if that was the impression it made.

As for Kostova - I'd take it up with the critics who clearly knew an awful lot more about the various vampire and Impaler myths. legends and occasional facts than I do

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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Post #: 13
RE: The Historian - 19/9/2006 4:42:55 PM   
Base


Posts: 4379
Joined: 30/3/2006
From: Surrey, UK
About 150 pages left to go.  Pretty good, not the best book I've read by any means tho, but I've enjoyed it (tho a couple of chapters back it dragged & had to force myself on, but glad I did).  Will leave judgement for the ending tho (of which I have my suspicions, but we'll see)....

quote:

Chapters start off describing food and the countryside and then there's two lines at the end that have something to do with Dracula before another chapter to do with orange juice and architecture


This isn't exactly true, but it made me laugh.  It's not quite as bad as Anne Rice's vampires swooning at the exquisite beauty of a poster at the bus stop or something

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Post #: 14
RE: The Historian - 29/9/2006 12:58:18 PM   
Twinkle


Posts: 1327
Joined: 27/10/2005
From: Planet Telex
I tried reading this but had to stop because I found the writing so awful.  And I've read The Da Vinci Code.  The description of the superstar-lecturer who had the audience literally gasping for more (or something) sent me over the edge.

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Post #: 15
RE: The Historian - 29/9/2006 3:25:47 PM   
SnoopyThePeanut

 

Posts: 9
Joined: 11/9/2006
I'm reading it, so please warn of spoilers, but I'm finding the pace really frustrating. It's so stop-starty and her style is so desciptive I've found I want less of the chateaux and the fine cheeses and more vampire attacks and scary librarians!



< Message edited by SnoopyThePeanut -- 29/9/2006 3:26:11 PM >

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Post #: 16
RE: The Historian - 12/10/2006 8:21:20 PM   
tweetypie2005


Posts: 267
Joined: 27/10/2005
From: Scotland
I finally finished this today and have to admit I liked it, although you seen the ending a mile off about half way through the book.

Overall good.


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Post #: 17
RE: The Historian - 3/11/2006 11:12:00 AM   
mixtapes


Posts: 166
Joined: 28/10/2006
I bought this when it first came out, and having read no reviews, just knowing the premise, I really expected this to be fantastic.
Was very enthusiastic about it to start with and really enjoyed it but towards the last third of it started to find it a real effort to read. Having said that, I did read the lot in a few days, more through boredom than it being a real page-turner.
Can see where the comparisons to Da Vinci are coming from though I found DV to be much more well-written and entertaining.
I am in general, a fan of vampires but didn't particularly enjoy any Anne Rice novels, will maybe try re-reading them.
Though not similar in style, the Anita Blake series of books is fun, and covers vampires, werewolves, zombies etc in contemporary setting and I really enjoyed them, think there's about 12 of them, maybe more now, though later in the series seems to descend into chick-lit a bit.

Anyway, before I went off rambling on a tangent, my point was, yeah it's worth buying if you see it cheap, it's enjoyable (though maybe could've done with a harsher editor?), but I found buying it in harback to be bit of  a waste!

< Message edited by mixtapes -- 3/11/2006 11:14:52 AM >

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Post #: 18
RE: The Historian - 20/11/2006 11:07:37 AM   
Jessica_ca_ca_ca


Posts: 30072
Joined: 4/1/2006
I waded through this while I was on holiday. Fairly boring and ostentatious for the first 100 pages or so, yet after that I found the bouncing narratives quite entertaining, whilst being happily frustrated at the same time in trying to get back to the other character. Fantasticly intense finale though.

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Post #: 19
RE: The Historian - 21/11/2006 5:00:29 AM   
JV


Posts: 3512
Joined: 26/9/2005
From: two counties east of home
I read this recently and really enjoyed it however before I had ever read anything that compared it to The Da Vinci Code, I had already made that comparison myself! I found The Da Vinci Code to be abysmally written but entertaining enough whereas in my opinion The Historian is a cut above that (but only just).

It held my attention for the entirety of the book and all the made-up stuff had me riveted.  But it does indeed drag in places and despite it intriguing me at the beginning, I found it took a while to get going (I didn't get into it until about 100 pages in, which is weeeell after the point I would usually give up on a book if it hadn't engaged me).

If you don't want to shell out on it, then don't - I got it from my local library in immaculate condition and they had plenty of copies!

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Post #: 20
RE: The Historian - 29/4/2007 1:04:30 PM   
mad_looney


Posts: 1620
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: The Fridge
Im at the 71st 72nd chapter. Its good but i think it's draging a bit now, I really am getting sick of how people look, i only want to know details if they're a vampire or been attacked or somthing. I know what a normal person looks like but i think the writer doesnt and got a bit excited.

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Post #: 21
RE: The Historian - 30/4/2007 10:29:17 PM   
Mr Terrific


Posts: 1639
Joined: 15/7/2006
The book started off well and showed lots of promise. But then turns into a travelog and many of the chapters drag.
Nothing that happens in the story is that suprising, none of the characters except for  Dracula are that interesting either, hell
the heroines mother, just seems to me irritating, arrogant and vaguely bitchy.
The fact that is written like a Victorian novel also grows tiresome after awhile, and you find yourself wishing for some action.
I was suprised by how much it did'nt really grab me, usually I love stories with this type of subject matter.




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Post #: 22
RE: The Historian - 7/5/2007 12:00:41 AM   
curtain twitcher


Posts: 4816
Joined: 9/4/2007
From: The Hotel California
The history in the book is well researched and i find it fascinating (i'm very passionate about history) but i'm still only at the bit where they are in Budapest and i wish they would get a fucking move on with it! The book is alright but not the best. I know what happens because i just couldn't be arsed waiting so i just looked it up on Wikipedia, i'll still finish it though at some point, i've got about four books on the go right now including this one.

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Post #: 23
RE: The Historian - 28/5/2007 11:26:04 PM   
mafyou


Posts: 2562
Joined: 23/11/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: curtain twitcher

I know what happens because i just couldn't be arsed waiting so i just looked it up on Wikipedia


Haha, that make me chuckle. Thank God for Wikipedia. It's not the most amazing book, but as has already been said if you have any interest in history it is worth it for that. I enjoyed it soley for that reason tbh.

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Post #: 24
RE: The Historian - 14/6/2007 10:48:12 AM   
The Hooded Man


Posts: 2777
Joined: 12/7/2006
An extremely dull read that goes on and on. Hugely disappointing, given the premise, seems almost ashamed to be a vampire novel. If you want a great vampire novel read Already Dead by Charlie Huston.

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Post #: 25
RE: The Historian - 8/7/2007 5:19:13 PM   
bobatim


Posts: 5611
Joined: 8/4/2006
From: The Killbot Factory!
I've just finished this book and have to say, what a let down. I was really enjoying it but until the last five chapters or so when all of a sudden, the book just rushes through everything it has spent so long setting up!

*possible spoiler*

When we finally get to the final confrontation with Dracula, it lasts about a page and a half and any sense of logic is just sent out of the window, and half the questions previously raised are glossed over while a whole new bunch are raised.

Dissappointed to say the least

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