The Historian

Here’s another book that has been on my to read list for quite some time. When the 2017 book challenge came out, I noticed I needed a book of letters. Unless I know of a title right off the bat, I head over to Goodreads to search for books that might fit this category. I discovered there aren’t a ton of books of letters, however, this one fit. All I knew about this book before starting was that it was about Dracula.

At over 700 pages, it does take some time to sink into the story. You have a young girl and her father who live in Europe and travel quite a bit for the father’s job and once she is old enough, he begins to tell her a story of his youth. Unlike most stories, this one involves vampires. The father, Paul, spent a good chunk of his early adult days searching for the tomb of Dracula. His mentor, Professor Rossi goes missing, and Paul decides he’s going to find him. Along the way he meets Rossi’s daughter, Helen, and the two of them embark on the quest. All this information is revealed via letters Paul has left for his daughter. You see, Paul has gone missing as well, and his daughter uses the story in the letters to try to find him. So you also have a story within a story going on here.

Once you really get into the meat of the story, it flies by really quickly. And it’s not about vampires really. Sure, Dracula’s tomb is the ultimate quest, but it really is just about solving problems, finding people, and searching for a treasure. I would consider it a quest book more than a vampire book. If you’re looking for vampires, might I recommend The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin. Overall, a really good read and it moved much more quickly than I was expecting it to.

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The Passage

I rarely reread books. Partly because there are just so many books on my “to read” list that I just don’t have time for rereading. I’m too antsy to get to the new ones. Also, because if I loved a book the first time around, I am really nervous to read it again because it might not be as good the second time. There are books that fit into your life exactly in the perfect time and place. Reading Les Miserables was an experience that I could never recreate. The only time I’ve read it, I was teaching and would share the story with my students. Although, I fully believe Les Mis would hold up to a second reading, something would be missing from my joy: my students. So, I’ve never reread it. But there are books that I miss. I want to visit them again. My memories of them have started to fade. So this year, I vowed to reread some of my favorites.

I originally read The Passage when it came out, years and years ago. And then I read The Twelve (review coming soon) when it was published. And I have never revisited either one. But since City of Mirrors is FINALLY coming out this month, and it had been so damn long since I read the first two, I am gladly refreshing my memory of this series.

I loved The Passage. Not your typical vampire story, but really more of a character study. And unlike any story I’ve read, the vampires are humanized, well, as much as death row inmates can be. And you get inside their brains to really understand what life is like for them. The story also follows several formats. It’s not just a narrative, but also emails, journals, documents, etc, which helps break up the 800+ pages. As lengthy as this book is, the story flies. It’s told in a bit of a random order, jumping ahead 100 years in the middle, which was quite surprising when I originally read it, but all is wrapped up fairly well by the end. The Passage isn’t just another “vampire book.” It is unique and one not to pass up.