The Teen Reader

Your source for reviews and ratings on every type of YA fiction.

The Historian

Posted by Rachel on January 7, 2009

Author: Elizabeth Kostova

Genre: Fantasy, general fiction

Reading Level: Advanced

Rating: PG-13 for occasionally graphic vampiric themes and suspense

Summary: ” ‘To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history….’ Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of—a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history. The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known—and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula.”

Rachel’s Review: I was enchanted by this heavy tome (plus, for $5, it was a steal and I just couldn’t resist) from the moment I set eyes on it in the store. It looked like an epic adventure, tracking the truth of Dracula across the amazing continent of Europe. And it didn’t let me down. Kostova had beautiful descriptions of the places the characters traveled to and it made me want to go there (gah). Throughout, it felt like I was standing next to the characters, experiencing everything they were experiencing.

There’s a dabble of mystery and intrigue and romance and adventure (oh, who am I kidding, there’s loads of all that stuff). Plus the book is liberally soaked in history. I learned more about Dracula and Turkey and Romania from this book than I have in my lifetime (not that I study any of the above, though, I guess, but still!).

While this book was occasionally dry because of all the discussions the characters have about what they’re going to do next and what they’ve done so far, it’s an altogether interesting read.

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