Release Date: January 28th 2020
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars
A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula
In 17th 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.
As soon as I heard the premise of this book I was dying to read it. A YA historical novel about Elizabeth Bathory? Where do I sign up!? Blood Countess is the gripping tale of a young girl named Anna Darvulia, who’s life becomes tangled with that of infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Starting out as a scullery maid in the castle, Anna quickly becomes her chambermaid and friend and as they spend more and more time together Anna finds herself completely under the spell of the countess – but how much of what Anna sees is an act and Anna soon learns Elizabeth will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
This dark, addictive story is one that I completely flew through. It’s a very compelling story one of love, friendship, murder and revenge. Popovic sets quite a quick pace and the story definitely ramps up the tension as the plot thickens. I loved the vivid 17th Century setting, Popovic’s writing really brought the time period to life and I fell in love with the isolated castles and ornate ballrooms of this story.
The thing that really made this story for me is the characters. Anna is a fascinating protagonist, she’s a kind and loyal girl – she’s trying to provide and protect her family and it’s so interesting watching her fall under the spell of the Countess, attempting to justify her actions and understand who she is under the surface. Similarly Elizabeth is a brilliant character, she’s deeply flawed, manipulative and power hungry. Blood Countess really gives you the opportunity to delve deep into the two characters and get to know them. It made for a truly addictive and exciting read, and one I enjoyed from beginning to end.
Blood Countess is a gripping, bloody tale with brilliant characters and plenty of atmosphere. If you’re looking for a binge-worthy story you won’t be able to put down, this is definitely one to pick up.