The performance of this audiobook is fantastic and the story premise is really interesting, but it is so long its like being stuck in a loop. Over and over they repeat and review the same information. So much explaining of everything. The story loses momentum over and over again because there is just too much exposition. I get that this is historical fiction and learning the history in this book is fascinating, but it reads more like a college thesis at times than a novel. Just too long. You could fast forward through about 1/3 of the middle and barely miss any plot.
I liked it. It is a wonderful book, true to the spirit of Stoker's Dracula, with embellishments. The Stoker's book was all about Victorian middle-class society with intense secret dreads and fears, dark folk tales, wolves in the night, respectable and repressed deep emotions with strict social mores and above all epistles. It was formal and 'correct', and very late 19th century atmosphere (fog, mysterious darkness, creepy cities and lonely villages, full of quasi-scientific and academic quality reasoning and research into vague, barely understood new discoveries. I've read Stoker's book many many times simply because I adore the style. Kostova has captured that tone and voice to perfection. If a book could have progeny, then this is Stoker's book Dracula's grandchild. It is very long, and I loved every word of it. I am aware of the haters, and I concede most of their complaints. I don't care. Even though the book passed through many countries, many types of letters and manuscripts, several point-of-view narrators and many time-lines, I was enthralled and eager to follow the paper trail these brave civilian academics set down in true historian/librarian professional research methodology as they heroically sought the most dastardly evil monster that walked for 500 years! (sound of heart beating slowly and darkly, which come to think of it, actually should be the short description of this book) : ) But seriously, I really liked this book. While it is obviously a copy of Stoker's style (in my opinion, a virtuoso performance by the writer), it veers into the world of university professors, specifically history scholars, who use librarian research methods and scientific doctrines in order to discover and solve mysteries from centuries in the past. This particular search is given horror-driven impetus due to Dracula being its subject, and as the story progresses, severe danger to our heroes. The horrors of living under Communism, which is clearly a noir existence even when benign, is touched upon in passing, but the horrors of the Ottoman Empire in warfare as well as of the eastern European autocrat leadership are equally exposed. Eastern European Communism had rather horrific parentage too.
Suspence, Travel, Mystery
The beginning, when the girl finds the diary, as it starts the whole plot line.
They all Fit the book so well. They make you feel it. I felt the characters come alive, and came to know them well.
I would have, but it was too long. I didn't want to put it down, yet I didn't want it to end either.
I highly recomend this book. I would not have normally been interested in the topic, so don't let that dissuade you. This book is now one of my favorites, and I will listen to it again, and again!
This is a captivating story. The book is sometimes difficult to follow, because first-time author Kostova wrote each and every character in the same exact voice. The performance of this audiobook helps to differentiate the characters and increased my enjoyment of the story immensely. That being said, I can't rate the performance five stars because I have to believe an erudite, well traveled narrator would be able to correctly pronounce the word for a rented, short-term accommodation as Pen-see-OHN, not "pension." Seriously, the first time it happened I actually thought the narrator was discussing something financial . . . and then it just kept occurring.
The story is excellent and keeps you interested. Mind you this isn't an action packed book and despite that it manages to be pretty terrifying. The pace isn't too quick nor too slow.
There are absolutely tons of historical tidbits in this book and the author manages to bring them all together culminating in a very interesting and fascinating book. Its completely believable and at the same time amazingly elaborate. I love when authors don't hand feed you the storyline,and the author in this book treats the reader as intelligent.
Lastly the narrators are simply perfect for the tone of this book. The female has sort of a mild sadness to her reading which makes the story come alive. There isn't any monotone reading. As for the male reader he is excellent at accents and really brings his characters to life
I loved this book and normally don't write reviews but I feel I've found one of the best books on audible and had to review
I basically hate vampire stories and would not have chosen this if I'd realized this involved vampires. That is really the reason I only give two stars for the story: I think vampires are HUGELY overdone these days and I'm sick of them. Nevertheless, the story was worth listening to; it was interesting to follow the trail of clues back and forth in time and from one source and journey to the next. The narrators vary, and I found one woman disconcerting because she sounds about 12 years old, but as she's portraying a teen, I got used to it once I realized the other female voices were done by others. All narrators have a good command of the many accents required for the cast of characters: not perhaps pitch-perfect accuracy--I can't judge the Romanian or Turkish ones for example--but basically credible and consistent. A long story but an engrossing one, and if I can say that getting beyond my dislike of the current fad for vampires, that's saying something.
I listened to the whole thing and did enjoy it, but the plot felt contrived right from the start and never improved. The writing, too, was too forced and unnatural. I was looking for something similar to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and this was *definitely* not it.
While it wasn't outright bad, this book fell rather short of the mark. The writer has an unfortunate tendency to get lost in detail. She uses an impressive list of synonyms to describe a meal, or a dance, or a song. Then we get into the song's age and the origin of the song. And whose great grandmother brought the song to the village, and then we discuss possible text mutations of the song through the ages... Get the idea? None of this bearing any real importance to the story. I often found myself wishing, as my finger hovered over the forward button on my i pod, that she'd get to the point. There were also a few incongruities i found annoying; such as an English history professor using American colloquialisms. And Hungarian, Turkish, or Romanian characters who have an excellent handle on the english language, who suddenly mispronounce simple words, or "how you say'' mangle a popular expression. This was perhaps meant to endear the characters to the reader, but only succeeded in making them seem silly. On the plus side, the male narrator did a very respectable job. His accents were all very good.and if you are a fan of medieval history, there is some interesting stuff here. While the book seems to have been reasonably well researched, you do have to sift through a lot of chaff to get to the good stuff. I never really thought much of condensed books, but in this case, an abridged version would almost certainly be a better version.
It seems that my review will echo that of many others. The ending was a bit of a let down. The other thing that brought my rating down were some inconsistencies.
One I will mention is that at the beginning of the novel, the young heroine had travelled to a city. She gave the city a ficticious name to protect it from thrill seeking tourists. It was an obvious reference to the effect that The Divinci Code had on people who thronged to see the landmarks in the book. I thought both - a ficticious name for the city and the nod to The Divinci Code - totally irrelevant. It seemed to stick out as a sore thumb when other cities and landmarks were not similarily treated.
What I loved about the book was the attention to detail in the historical research. It had me searching maps and articles online for more information. The other thing I loved was the narration of Paul Michaels. I see that Audibles has another version narrated by Joanne Whalley, Dennis Bourtsikaris, and others. I would highly recommend that you get the version with Paul Michaels. He is masterful at accents. Each character that he speaks for has their own unique sound.
It was a pleasure to read a book about Dracula that didn't follow the Romeo & Juliet theme of the Twilight series and the plethora of its ilk that is the fad of teenage girls everywhere. It returns Dracula and vampires back to the evil, cruel creatures of Bram Stoker's day.