Tuesday, October 15, 2013
RIP Read-along: The Historian
I am really thankful to The Estella Society for hosting a read-along of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It's a book that I remembered really liking but, because of its size, I was hesitant to pick it back up for a reread. So, did it live up to my sparse but positive memories? Briefly, yes.
If you still haven't read it but are curious, this book is a weaving of the stories of three generations and their experiences while researching the ultimate fate of Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula. As they discover each other's stories through journals, letters and narrative, a full picture develops of a legacy of evil that might be impossible to destroy.
Despite one or two places where the history felt too much like a lesson, this was still a very compelling tale and the sense of peril was palpable. I enjoyed the black and white, good versus evil nature of the story and the characters. It was easy to know where one stood with each character, whom to trust and which to avoid at all costs. This is something that seems to have been lost in modern vampire mythology, with recent tales of romantic and far-too-human (and sparkly) holders of the eternal curse. More believable is a vampire who is self-serving and cruel, one who toys with people of interest to him like a cat with a mouse. He is also powerful and manipulative and he uses knowledge and history to his advantage. This is what you would expect from a creature who has lived for centuries, hiding and murdering and getting away with it all time and time again.
With awe and horror,