Looking at the reviews on Amazon, I appear to be in the minority on this book, but I really hated it. To begin with, it is just way too long. I have no issue with long books per se, but this was about 300 pages of content in 645 pages. This book is an attempt to create a new Dracula mythology (just what we need right??). I wish I could explain to you exactly what such new mythology is, but except for the fact that Dracula apparently collects rare books, Kostova never really explains anything despite the length of the book. For example, does he need blood to live or is he just an asshole? Is he really just attempting to assemble the world’s greatest library? Like, really, that is Dracula’s motivation. Why would one need to be undead and killing people to assemble this collection of books? Why, after having “collected” your great historians to help you on your quest to assemble your library would you kill them? Why would you bite, kidnap, and force your historians to work for you in your crypt (and then kill them) when you have such a treasure trove of rare books that people would literally be clamoring to take the job if you just opened a regular library? I mean, you do not have to kidnap and kill people to find academics who would be interested in one-of-kind first person accounts of major events from hundreds of years ago regarding which there are no other known first person sources. And again, having found someone to help you, why kill them?????
Kostova also thinks she is a lot more clever than she is. Spoiler alert (although if you are smart enough to know how to turn the pages of this book, it’s not a surprise) Helen is the narrator’s mother. The book also mimics Bram Stoker’s Dracula in that it is supposedly composed of letters, journal entries, etc. to allow for multiple first person narratives. Here, it is confusing, does not aide in the story, and requires a ridiculous suspension of disbelief in that the characters randomly find hundreds of pages of unsent letters relevant to their quests. Moreover, the personality/point of view of the different letter writers is exactly the same (as if they were written by the same author!!) If you are going to bother with changing point of view, you really need to have noticeably different points of view.
The only saving grace of this book was that some of the historical insight was interesting in terms of Ottoman occupation and events in Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. Otherwise, too long and stupid, stupid, stupid.