The Historian

The Historian
by: Elizabeth Kostova

Published: 2005

# of pages: 720

I didn't know what to expect from this book, but I was pleased with what I discovered. This is a great classic vampire book. It isn't filled with sexuality and bad language, it's just a good suspense novel that is also a unique historical fiction book.

The story is crazy with the many different characters and how the time line jumps back and forth. However, the main character and narrator is a 16 year old girl who discovers a strange book in her father's library. After that, her life is never the same as she learns about her father's strange past that includes mystery, love, adventure, and vampires.

The book centers around Dracula and includes a lot of historical facts about the man the character Dracula is based on. The book has several settings - including America, Amsterdam, Britain, Istanbul, Romania, and Bulgaria. I wonder how many of the things mentioned in the book are true (like about the search for Dracula's tomb, historical events, etc). I also wonder how many of the places are real. Maybe they are all real, I'll have to do more research to figure it out.

The book refers to the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker regularly, so that may be worth reading before picking up this novel, but isn't necessary to read first. I also thought it was interesting that the novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy was briefly referred to, but once again, it isn't necessary to read that to understand the reference.

This is a very long book, but it mostly held my attention. I have to admit, in the 3rd quarter of the book I became a little bogged down. However, it may have been because I only had time to read it in short spurts. Maybe it wouldn't have dragged if I could have devoted longer periods of time to reading it. It was definitely worth continuing to read it though and I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and/or the vampire genre.

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The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass
by: Philip Pullman

Series: His Dark Materials Trilogy, Book 1

Challenges: YA Challenge, 1st in a Series Challenge

Published: 2001

# of pages: 368

I read this years ago, when I was in high school, but I had mostly forgot about it until I watched the movie last year. I wasn't all that impressed with the film, but I remembered how much I enjoyed the book, so I decided to re-read it. I thought it was just as good the second time around!

The story follows Lyra, a young orphan who is raised at Oxford until she stumbles upon an adventure that takes her to distant lands. Although Lyra lives in a world that is similar to ours (similar place names, etc), it has several large differences, including the fact that all humans have daemons...their souls living outside their bodies in animal forms. Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, venture out on a quest to save their best friend from the child stealing Gobblers. They come into contact with a variety of characters including an evil golden monkey, a talking bear, witches, a fiery balloon flying Texan, and a band of gypsies.

When the movie came out, it was very controversial in the Christian community. I don't recall why exactly, except that the author has publicly claimed to be an atheist. I don't know why that in itself is upsetting since the majority of books published now are written by atheists. I haven't re-read the next 2 books in the series, so maybe there is something worthy of controversy in those. As far as this one goes, the creation story in Genesis is twisted to include mention of daemons for the story's purposes. The church in the story is also corrupted. Unfortunately, it reminds me of the real world's church history, but I can't be sure that's what the author was basing the fictional church on. Anyway, it's a fantasy, so keep that in mind while reading.

I think this is a great book for adult lovers of fantasy. I don't really feel like this is a great children's book. I don't think it's appropriate for younger young adults because it has some bad language and is kind of dark and intense. Also, it seems like it could be hard for younger readers to follow. Anyway, this is a young adult book that many adults would enjoy, so go check it out!

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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