Ed note: This review was originally written in 2007 for a now long defunct livejournal account.
A retelling of the Dracula story, this time by a pretentious writer looking to hit it big with a “literary thriller”. Generally, this is the kind of book I cannot resist. I love nothing more than a page turner with literary aspirations . But this book is neither literature, nor a thriller. Its overwrought, confusing, and poorly executed. Kostova can write better than your average thriller writer, but the plot drags, and the characters are uninspired.
I am told years of research went into this, which explains the mind numbing cultural detail, but does not explain why a better job wasn’t done getting me to care about the protagonist, . Apparently, not only can you write about vampires and exotic locales in a totally tepid and uninteresting style, but you can also become a bestseller by doing it.