Rating: 4 Bloody Stars
A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula
In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.
So a historical YA novel that portrays a fictional depiction of a first hand experience in tending to the Blood Countess herself?
Whats not to be intrigued about?
My initial expectation was a gory, horror filled take on the sickening tale that is Elizabeth Bathory’s gruesome lifestyle. What we got instead was so much more.
Although the blood (there was some) and gore was lacking, I was enchanted by this bewitching and brilliantly crafted story of manipulation and trickery at the hands of Elizabeth Bathory, otherwise known as the Blood Countess.
Everything from the point of view to the events that occur to the tone of the novel itself, sets up the most chilling atmosphere filled with so much dark intrigue that I was up reading at all odd hours of the night.
The story is written in a way that reading it felt reminiscent to sitting in a dark room with friends, flashlight on, and someone storytelling the most twisted tale of the Blood Countess’ conquests and her fall. It is disturbing in the best way possible.
The story being written from Anna’s (our protagonist) point of view makes it all the more moving and powerfully told. Seeing Elizabeth from her eyes and noting the events that occur while also progressing into the reveal and seeing Anna’s feelings change as she realizes Elizabeth’s manipulation was so phenomenally executed and enthralling in every way possible.
It is not a plot driven book but rather a highly intriguing, gripping and wickedly alluring story of questionable morals and cunning methods. It is a dark tale of love that blinds and toxicity in relationships at its finest.
I did knock down a star rating because I was expecting a bit more from the climax and resolution. I felt like this story didn’t need a HEA and feel a sense of disappointment in the way it could’ve ended. I would’ve been satisfied with a dark and twisted ending to go with the overall feel of the novel but it still delivered in all the way that matter and I cannot recommend this book enough.