Blood Countess by Lana Popović

43908877Blood Countess by Lana Popović

Lady Slayers #1

Published January 28th 2020 by Harry N. Abrams

293 Pages

Goodreads Summary: 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.

Review: I was so excited to see a historical YA horror novel based on Countess Elizabeth Bathory! I’ve read a few other books and have watched a couple of those ghost hunter shows investigate her castle. There is just something strangely compelling about her. The main character, Anna Darvulia, is actually based on the real life Anna Darvolya. Three of the other servants in the book also seem to be based on real life servants of the countess. I really liked that the author actually used characters based on real people that were connected to the countess. That all makes it so much more real. I’ve read that Anna Darvolya was actually considered to be the one who honed the Countess’s torture skills and instructed the other servants. However, in this novel, the author does a little reimagining. Anna is an innocently naive village girl, trained as a midwife under her mother. She has a chance meeting with Elizabeth and her entire life changes from there.

There were things about this book that I liked but also lots of things that didn’t really click with me. Right off the bat the book seemed to be a little overwritten for my taste. Every noun seemed to have a descriptive word, some words I even had to look up and when I did they didn’t quite seem to fit the context. I also didn’t like how naive Anna was portrayed. She overlooked every single terrible thing Elizabeth had done or that Anna’s fellow scullery maids told her they had heard. It also seemed strange to me how high up Elizabeth ended up putting Anna. A countess throwing a ball for a commoner… maybe it happened, but seems a little far fetched. I know a lot of people were excited about the F/F romance aspect in this book but this one was honestly too much for the story I think. I mean, I guess I could see how a young village girl who had never been anywhere or seen anything could fall hard for a Countess who is lifting her up so high but what I really didn’t like was Anna making excuses for Elizabeth when she started to see what she was truly like. No spoilers so I won’t talk about how the book ended but it felt too easy. In the end I don’t think this even works as a horror story. It felt more like a historical romance gone wrong. Overall this book was just okay for me.

2 Stars

I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 thoughts on “Blood Countess by Lana Popović

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