Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolution: 1

I've made a number of resolutions this year but only one of them is relevant to this blog; I have decided to push myself to read 50 books this year and write some sort of review for each of them. I think the best place I have to that is here though I may cross post some reviews over at To start the year off right I woke up early and finished this lovely book: The Historian; by Elizabeth Kostova.

This book was a best-seller and received tons of praise from critics and readers alike. I picked it up through and I was not disappointed. It was not at all a quick read for me, not one of those "can't put it down" books that I must devour as quickly as I can. It was a meditative book that I put aside frequently for other books. Nonetheless; I kept going back to it. It tells a meandering story that wanders back and forth through medieval and modern history in almost a dreamlike way. It is the story of a young girl who hears many stories from her father, stories that drag her into the past and lead her on a strange and dangerous journey; a journey her father shares and one she discovers is something of a family tradition. It is also the story of a man, the girl's father, and how his life, and later his daughter's life, came to be connected to that of Vlad the Impaler; the rumored vampire, Dracula.

Although this book is clearly a work of fiction; it is rich in detail of time and place, the descriptions of old and modern Europe made me want even more to travel there some day. The supernatural aspects of the story are handled very well and do not disrupt the flow of the story nor distract from it by straining one's imagination. The supernatural in this book is a spice that adds the subtle flavor of danger and mystery. At times it is a wonderfully creepy read; suspenseful and compelling. The author did her research and forced me to pause several times in order to look up dates, places and unfamiliar words; just as I love to. That said, it was not an overly demanding read but, as I said before, a meditative one.

I recommend this book to lovers of history, suspense and to those who like their vampires the way vampires ought to be.

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