04 August 2009

Book Banter -- The Historian

Title: The Historian
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Length: 676 pages
Genre: Literary horror
Plot Basics: A girl grows up under the shadow of her father's research in Vlad Tepes, the man behind the Vlad the Impaler/Vlad Dracula legends. When her father disappears one night, she takes off after him in a mad-cap pursuit to find him before Dracula does. As she travels, she reads her father's diaries and letters about his hunt for the Dracula years early, through eastern Europe during the height of the Cold War.
Banter Points: This was a refreshing break from the current pop culture vampire fiction. Even though Kostova's tome is only a few years old, it reads like Stoker's Dracula, with letters and diaries and documents providing the foundation for the story. And, like Stoker, Dracula is a bad guy... not the book's love interest. Additionally, Kostova's own historical research figures in prominently and smoothly to this book -- it's hard to tell where the legend leaves off and her imagination begins.
Bummer Points: The only drawback to this book is its length. Because it's so long, it takes the plot a little while to really ramp up and get going. Additionally, there are parts of it that read almost more like a history book than a novel when the background gets really thick.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you like quiet horror, and history this is a must-read. This is another top contender for Word Nerd's top ten books list this year.

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