30 Before 30 || The Historian

Welcome to the 30 Books Before 30 Challenge! I have concucted a list of 30 books to read before I turn 30 in my last year of my 20s. There’s some classics, some fiction literature, some fantasy titles I must read and more. It’ll be a fun time and I’m curious to see how I like each title. I’ll be posting my reviews for all of them under the 30 Before 30 page so you can follow along. If you’ve read any of them I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Check out all my thoughts on The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova!

“As you know, human history is full of evil deeds, and maybe we ought to think of them with tears, not fascination.”

Title: The Historian
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Page Count: 704 pages
Genre: Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: June 1, 2005
Buy It: Chapters Indigo

SYNOPSIS

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. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself–to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler’s dark reign and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.

MY THOUGHTS

What book has been sitting on your shelves for the longest time? For me one of those books is definitely The Historian. I purchased this book back in 2009 when I first started working at Indigo. I picked it up with a copy of Shadow of the Wind. I read Shadow of the wind immediately but I put The Historian off… for the next 11 years. Why? Who knows. But I’d like to believe that the universe was telling me to wait to read this book because the universe knew that 11 years later I’d find a friend who would enjoy this book as much as I would. Liz (@lizkowal) and I buddy read this title and wow, we were both so enthralled the entire time. It took a bit longer because this book is dense and those pages are mighty thin but we loved the journey through it.

There was a sense of beauty with every word this author wrote. I felt like I was wading through a warm pool of salt water. Reading this book was utterly relaxing while at the same time it kept me on my toes. Every chapter I anticipated what would happen next. I loved the different jumps between the storylines and how each storyline followed its own path but connected through time and characters.

I am overjoyed with this book!

The reason I couldn’t give this book a complete 5 stars but instead gave it a 4.5 is because something the book builds up for takes the entire book to get to. The last 50 pages reveal something and I just wished it had happened sooner. I felt the author could’ve built upon said reveal and really dived into it more. But what do I know! She’s an incredible author and she chose to write the book in this way.

I could write about this book forever that’s how wonderful it was.

I’m so very curious to read more about Kostova and see how her writing has evolved from this title. The Historian will be one of those books I’ll look at fondly on my shelf. So glad I read this as part of my 30 Before 30 list.

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