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Both are debut works, richly detailed in historical fact, and feature female protagonists. The first time I read The Historian I truly enjoyed it. I did the second time, but perhaps it was the contrast to such a similar novel that make the differences stand out in stark relief this time around. It is this attention to detail however, that bogs the work down.

Instead I found myself glazing over at the intricate descriptions of Istambul, vampire legends, and maps. There was just too much here without the suspense of the narrative. The second time through, I found myself more interested in the characters and they all felt too much the same. I also noticed the formatting of the novel changes throughout. What begins as a present day, first person contrasted with letters becomes something of a confusing mess. As a new section began, I had to pause because the narrative transition was so awkward.

The letters began to read like just another first person narrative. But when compared to another novel in the same vein, its weaknesses stand out. The Transformation are rich historical novels. The format is unique as we have Elle, a true crime writer, wrapped up in a mystery with a movie producer. There is just enough to create a certain tone, atmosphere, or mood, but he never writes simply to fill the page with facts. He is quite skilled at giving the reader just enough tantalizing history, but then pulling back into the narrative to keep the story flowing. Both novels are great books.

The Historian is a compelling story of Vlad the Impaler and well worth reading. The Transformation is, however, just a cut above. Verland suffers from the same problem as most origin stories. Nothing much that happens to Elle is that surprising or that exciting. The diary story starts and ends strong, but the middle bit meanders. Verland is never in danger. All the vampires we learn of—even the one that is the most blood-thirsty—come off as noble figures. In fact, we completely lose track of the fact that these vampires are murderers.

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The world Scully creates does not allow for subsistence from animals or blood banks. In order to live, the vampires must kill. I was simply unable to reconcile that fact with the way in which Verland and his comrades were portrayed. In the end, Verland: The Transformation is a fine debut effort from a writer to watch. By the end, you will believe. Jun 13, Steven Montano rated it really liked it. With so much of our modern take on vampires being in the "paranormal romance" vein, it's nice to see current authors who make it a point to present vampires in a different light.

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In the case of B. The Transformation", "different" is back to basics, and in a good way. This is very much a traditionalist take on the vampire saga; indeed, this is a work Bram Stoker would be proud of. There are shades of Stoker here, as well as J. Sheridan LeFanu and Anne Rice. Fans of old school With so much of our modern take on vampires being in the "paranormal romance" vein, it's nice to see current authors who make it a point to present vampires in a different light. Fans of old school vampire tales are going to enjoy what they read here.

Scully's writing style is crisp, clear and direct, and her sense of pacing and narrative flow are top-notch. It's very easy to get sucked into "Verland" from the first page, and it can be just as difficult to put it down. Scully's characters are for the most part also very nicely developed, especially our heroine, Ellie, who is as close to a flesh and blood invididual as I've read in a work of fiction in a long time. The dialogue and first-person narrative provided in Verland's diary are also exceptionally well written.

Keeping in mind that reading and reviewing are always subjective, my only issue with "Verland" was that, after Ellie begins to actually read the diary, very little of what transpired from that point took my by surprise. I may be jaded, I may read too many books, or B.

Luckily, the strength of the overall writing was more than enough to allow me to enjoy the rest of B.


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In spite of my largely personal issues with the plot, "Verland: The Transformation" will satisfy fans of the horror and vampire genres, particularly those who are tired of sparkles and want to get back to the core of our favorite fanged creatures of the night. Verland is a Gothic-type vampire story. I hadn't read any vampires books except Anne Rice's vampire series and Nosferatu by G. I've seen Twilight and True Blood on video. So, I thought the concepts pertaining to vampire immortality, loneliness and angst had pretty well been explored.

Given that, Verland is in much the same vein, true to the genre -- with an added twist or two, the choice of its heroine, and the villain. She keeps h Verland is a Gothic-type vampire story. She keeps her integrity during the novel, which is rare when woman meets vampire. The villain is a rich egomaniac who wants immortality and uses people like pawns to have his way. The vampire, Verland is the key to the villain's grandiose plan. There is a cerebral bend of the novel, rather than an over-reliance on gore in most current vampire novels.

I gave the novel three stars because the character and subplots were a bit flat. Lovely touches were added, around hawks for example, which makes the novel good for a debut. There wasn't enough real tension or inner conflict to give the characters depth or any richness of flesh and blood. However, the writing is clear, edited, and didn't get in the way of the story.

That said, I think the basic elements are there for development. The story is certainly complete as written, but E. B, er, I mean B. Mar 31, Robin Smith rated it really liked it. One of the better vampire novels I've read. The author combines two story-lines - one in the present, one starting in the past and marching forward to the present - in a way that also combines two genres - crime mystery and vampire. Oct 23, Rob Allens rated it it was amazing.

I started it immediately after. I'm not sure how to describe this book. Part vampire, part meditation on death, part horror, part evil, part redemption-- all darn brilliant. Having lost my mother a year ago, the philosophical examination of death and the validity of life in spite of its pain was so moving. If you don't like vampires, read this. If you like vampires, read this. If you love literature you MUST read this! May 28, Dave Thomas rated it it was amazing. There are times when a story speaks to me from the first paragraph, calls out in the middle of the night, demanding to be peeled open and heard.

It's also further proof that the horror subgenre of vampiricism is not dead undead? Make no mistake, this is NOT a v There are times when a story speaks to me from the first paragraph, calls out in the middle of the night, demanding to be peeled open and heard. Make no mistake, this is NOT a vampire novel per se--it's much more. The means by which Scully reveals the eponymous protagonist and his transformation is juxtaposed seemlessly with the present-day fear of death, bound together by the noir detective story of a midlist nonfiction author and her fascination obsession?

It's as much a philosophical treatise on the meaning of life and love as it is a suspenseful and emotional tale of what it means to be human and how far we're willing to go to live forever VERLAND is multilayered and meticulous, but it's never tedious or overwhelming, it merely crescendos at a perfect pace, revealing the characters in a natural fluidity, until it comes to a satisfying conclusion that left me wanting more.

Scully has crafted a modern classic of dark fiction. Jul 21, Katie rated it liked it Shelves: Overall this book had a good premise, but it didn't grab me or really engage me the way that I hoped. Unless DogFish Head gave the author money for product placement, she could mention it once and then just call it beer.

Besides, DogFish Head is usually available in the grocery store and Midas Touch is the superior brew. There was a brief mention of absinthe addicts. As an absinthe drinker, I felt that Overall this book had a good premise, but it didn't grab me or really engage me the way that I hoped. As an absinthe drinker, I felt that this was just uninformed.


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  • I think this was a first book from the author, and that the author has done some vampire research, which was nice to see. I think for a first book, it has a lot of good qualities, and also some more to work on. I would not recommend this book to friends, but I would maybe read another book by B. Scully in the future. I think that the author should focus on crime fiction and leave the supernatural out of it. Decent non-romantic vampire tale This was an average vampire tale with very little suspense to speed it along.

    Better than most of the pot boilers out there, with a bit of philosophy, but not much soul. The framing plot was nothing earth shattering, and the embedded vampire tale had no stakes to speak of. Solidly written and a decent read, it still failed to intrigue me. When is someone going to write a scary vampire book again?

    Nov 16, Jessica Bailey rated it liked it. Although the reviews were lavish, I didn't really enjoy this book a whole lot. Verland's journal was pretty interesting, but the story as a whole was kind of dry.

    "Verland: The Transformation" Book Review

    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and Verland: Fiction and non-fiction have crossed my desk, including a debut novel from B. I received a review copy and as I began reading, it reminded me of another recent entry into the vampire lore. In , Elizabeth Kostova released her debut novel called The Historian. Both novels are a new take on the vampire legend. They avoid the Twilight romance, the Vampire Diaries silliness voting rights?

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    Both are debut works, richly detailed in historical fact, and feature female protagonists. The first time I read The Historian I truly enjoyed it.

    Verland: The Transformation by B.E. Scully

    I did the second time, but perhaps it was the contrast to such a similar novel that make the differences stand out in stark relief this time around. It is this attention to detail however, that bogs the work down. Instead I found myself glazing over at the intricate descriptions of Istambul, vampire legends, and maps. There was just too much here without the suspense of the narrative. The second time through, I found myself more interested in the characters and they all felt too much the same.

    I also noticed the formatting of the novel changes throughout. What begins as a present day, first person contrasted with letters becomes something of a confusing mess. As a new section began, I had to pause because the narrative transition was so awkward. The letters began to read like just another first person narrative. But when compared to another novel in the same vein, its weaknesses stand out. The Transformation are rich historical novels. The format is unique as we have Elle, a true crime writer, wrapped up in a mystery with a movie producer. There is just enough to create a certain tone, atmosphere, or mood, but he never writes simply to fill the page with facts.

    He is quite skilled at giving the reader just enough tantalizing history, but then pulling back into the narrative to keep the story flowing. Both novels are great books. The Historian is a compelling story of Vlad the Impaler and well worth reading. The Transformation is, however, just a cut above. Had I not wanted to do a comparison, it would still be on my shelf. The Transformation is a novel that will be retrieved many times over the years. Jul 16, Melinda rated it really liked it. What is it to you? For me, an author has my attention when I find myself casually thinking like and agreeing with the point of view, when that POV is a cold-blooded monster.

    Stephen King's The Shining wonderful book with waaay more than one example of how to horrify a reader when Jack begins to mentally "slip over the edge", I found myself slipping with him. When Jack was thinking it was logical and necessary to kill his wife, I could totally see the sense in it and upon Horror. When Jack was thinking it was logical and necessary to kill his wife, I could totally see the sense in it and upon closing the book realized that for a few seconds, I was as insane as he was.

    Scary stories are fine, but I have been reading horror since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and I'm not exactly a horror-snob, but I do have a high tolerance. Many of the popular books and movies today leave me rolling my eyes, saying, "oh please. This book laid on the bottom of my "to-read" pile for a very long time- and I kept moving it down. I don't get much time to read, so when I do, I really hate to waste time on a mediocre read. If you look at some of my angry reviews, you can see what that does to me! I have just finished Verland, and I really owe the author of this book a great big fat apology for thinking that just because it's another vampire book that I would find it boring.

    THIS, people, is what a vampire book should be like! This is a REAL vampire! I was totally caught up in Verland's mindset, and this book is wonderful at making the reader question what is good and what is evil. It has a wonderful lesson, yet enough darkness to satisfy any horror aficionado. May 11, Staticblaq rated it liked it.