Why I recommend this — 6 years ago
I highly recommend this book, because unlike most books that deal with vampire lore and mystery thrillers, it is not very predictable, and it is actually very smart.
It develops through 3 story lines that go back and forth to create an image of a past long gone, but that is still affecting the characters to “present.”
Kostova delicately mixes the storyline with lots of historical facts to depict a Dracula that makes more sense than Bram Stoker’s, as she brings him to life in the context of his history as “Vlad The Impaler.”
The story is very well written, and while it is abundant in detail, it makes you want to learn more about the history of the era – 1477, soon after the fall of Constantinople. It also brings up folklore and traditions from different regions and religions, making the story more complete. And if you are familiar with some of the folklore and some of the religious traditions that are talked about here, it makes you connect concepts and ideas that are but vaguely related to this book.
In addition, it also has a somewhat romantic storyline – for those who enjoy some romance – but that it NEVER overshadows the main storyline.
There are parts of the book that seem at first a little unrelated to the story, and they make you wonder why the plot is not advancing any more. But these are few and far between, and you should not let them discourage you from reading the rest of it.
It is a very brilliant book, with which you will learn about Europe – which having had the opportunity to recently visit these places just made it all the more real to me, the Fall of Constantinople, The Ottoman Empire, The rule of Vlad The Impaler, and vampire lore, among other things.
It’s a book about relationships – scholar to scholar, teacher and student, daughter and father, mother and daughter, lover to lover, historian and history – and the strong ties that bond them.
This book is worth reading, if anything, because it is very alive, inspite of dealing with the undead.