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The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova It has been some time since I read this, so my recollections may not be that accurate. I tend to make these decisions (do I like or not like a book?) viscerally, rather than by formula. But I figured that any book that merited my little used "pissed me off" category, deserved an explanation. The Historian:Kostova sets her book partly in the 70s, partly in history, and she tries to write in a flowery language, like the great masters of novel from the 19th century- but to me, she really just comes off sounding pretentious, overwrought and juvenile. Yes, her character is supposed to be young, but the writing can be elegant, even with a young and immature subject. In addition, everyone in the whole story speaks with the same voice. Many times I had to backtrack because I'd lost the thread of who was speaking. Then, she writes about Vlad, Dracula, attempting to add new lore to the story, but never really gives us any surprises. At the most "suspenseful" moments, I often found myself feeling irritatingly amused at the author's attempt to create tension. One moment she is in fear of her life, and the next, she's what? sipping tea? And I don't recall that Kostova mixes her scenes well. She creates tension, but then breaks it too soon, or holds back from stretching it out, or drops into the completely mundane, instead of just pulling back a little. Even her main character doesn't seem to be driven by anything except one-upmanship, the desire to solve this mystery that her father couldn't, not for anyone's sake except proving that she's a better historian? Lastly, the stories of Dracula are supposed to be horrific, but also reluctantly romantic. She rarely rises above twittering, and it was never at any junction a book that I devoured. Mostly I just got through it, only to discover at the very end, when everything is supposedly wrapped up, with no foreshadowing, she tacks on a "oh by the way, he could still be alive! muahahaha!" Okay then. To comment specifically, I'd probably have to reread, or at least review, the book, which I'm not willing to do when there are still so many thousands of brilliantly written stories out there that I haven't discovered yet.