By Elizabeth Kostova
“My dear and unfortunate successor,”OMG…after an entire semester…I finally finish this enormous book. I know, wait a sec, I know I promise you a book club post. Not a, but a lot. I’ll try to organize them all during my up-coming summer vacation. And try to translate all those words into English…if I still remember them all. I haven’t read a nice, long historical fiction for so long! You might not know, or forget…but besides fantasy, historical fiction is my second fav type of genre. They’re just so magnificent, don’t you think?
I love how every tiny details are weaved together and those foreign words and history. It makes me want to become a historian myself. Really, a great historical fiction should have the ability to drive you in like this. The strange thing is, although I don’t particularly like detective novels, I can’t stand all the murders. But I really love the mystery inside historical fiction, although they sometime involved with death as well. Strange.
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.
Dracula!!!! How…thrilling. The classic vampire is back!!! But don’t expect him to appear a lot…I think he only got…like 10 pages? Or perhaps a little bit more or less. Yet, this entire book is about the journey of finding Dracula. No, I’m just kidding. The entire journey is about finding people, following by a creepy vampire…or two. The young lady found her father, Paul’s secret book with a dragon tattoo on it. And his father disappeared. Paul found his professor Rossi’s secret dragon notebook as well, and Rossi disappeared as well. Then the book turns into circle, circle, and lots of circle. It seems, the history has repeated, and no one escapes it. It might not seem as interesting as I describe it, but trust me, it’s fantastic. The only disappointment I have is the ending...too rush, which happened in a lot of book who know what the authors are thinking, leaving the ending like that, unsatisfying.
The interesting things about this book is that I’ve wanted to read as a leisure read when I first saw this book in the bookstore, yet the price is so high that I didn’t get my copy. Then, when I visited NYC, I saw it lying on the book car, sale only for 1 dollar. So how can I miss the chance? Of course I grabbed the book. And then, as you know, my TBR grow extremely “under control,” so I haven’t got the time to read to at all. after my fall semester, now spring, one of my favorite professor said, “hay! The Historian is going to be our next read!” I was like
Come on, I already have my book prepare! How can I miss this chance?
The best thing about attending the book club for department of literature is that…there are so many theories behind the book!!! Every word every sentence might has its own meaning. For example, the lineage of Dracula all passed down to women in this book…and OMG…you can’t believe how far the professor went. And that is just the tiniest question…can you imagine how far a theory can go when mentioned by a bunch of crazy literature graduate students? A theory can go on and on and on and the discussion is so much fun. (BTW…I’m the youngest of them all…which is quiet insane…but it’s so much fun when you hear so much and it’s so great to have so many senior students there to discuss with you!) I know, I’m out of the topic. But…just see how far the discuss goes! How can you say it’s a boring book if the discussion keeps flourishing? I’ve even added The Swan Thieves and The Shadow Land into my TBR list…I definitely need to read them and discuss with the professor.
Now…what happen if you’re not fortunate enough like me to have someone so experience to advise you? Can you enjoy the book? Of course you can! To me, even without all those fantastic discussion, I’ll still love the book and read the other books as well. (Even though it’s not the main point…but I ship Helen and Paul so much!!!!!)
Oh! And remind you…till the last page of this book…you still won’t know the protagonist’s name…even though it was mentioned…like once. It’s crazy, right? The entire book is about Paul and Helen, not the young historian. And it’s an uncanny journey. Weird, weird, weird.
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