Thursday, April 9, 2020

Blood Countess by Lana Popovic Review

Title: Blood Countess
Author: Lana Popovic
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror
Series: Lady Slayers, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

                I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

                Lana Popovic caught my attention a few years ago, when I read her debut novel, Wicked Like a Wildfire, the first book in her Hibiscus Daughter duology. Ever since, I’ve been obsessed with her work. When I found out about Blood Countess, I ordered it at my local library. It’s been sitting at the top of my library stack for a month or so now, and my husband picked my book for me this time. (I’ve been trying to read more of my library books, what with the quarantine and all.) I devoured Blood Countess is less than three days; and when I found out that this book was a series opener, I was so excited! This book gives the reader a front-row seat to the birth of possibly one of the most notorious serial killers in history: Elizabeth Bathory, charming, ruthless, beautiful and terrible. Mixing fact and fiction to create an outstanding tale of bloody, brutal horror, Blood Countess is one of my favorite books of 2020! I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

                In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has caught the eye of the young, beautiful and glamorous Elizabeth Bathory, and accepts a position in her household as a scullery maid. When Elizabeth takes a liking to her, she is suddenly and impossibly promoted to chambermaid. Soon Anna’s life, previously one of hunger and futility, is a blur, more like a dream than real life. More than the countess’s chambermaid, she is soon groomed to be Elizabeth’s closest friend and confidant. But all that glitters isn’t gold, and Anna soon begins to discover that, as charming as her benefactor is, she has a dark side that will test Anna’s heart and soul; isolated from her friends and family, she discovers that she is more captive than friend to the young, sadistic royal. As the body count climbs, Anna must escape from the keep, or she just might be the next person in Elizabeth’s sights…

                I really, really loved this book! I was instantly captivated by Anna’s empathetic and expressive voice. The pacing was breakneck; I finished this book in less than three days! I love historical fiction, but I adored the added element of the bloodshed and terror. I’ve been fascinated by Elizabeth Bathory for years; in fact, an episode of Deadly Women with her as one of the main focuses marked my deep-dive into true crime again. Her brutality, even still, so many years later, stuns me. So, this fictional front-row seat to the terror she inflicted was so cool! I loved Anna, who transformed from an innocent, na├»ve little girl into a brutal survivor who did everything in her power to escape the compelling, alluring Elizabeth. But my favorite part of this book was watching Elizabeth turn into an awful, gruesome monster; even as I was rooting for it, I was still dreading it. This whole book was imbibed with a sick, awful sense of dread, and it will stay with me for a long time! To this day, there is very little known about the real Elizabeth Bathory, aside from the bloodshed she wrought. Regardless, I definitely feel that I learned about her! (One of my favorite things about historical fiction is how much you can learn from it!) This book was pretty much perfect; one of my favorite books of 2020, Blood Countess was incredible! The bottom line: Dark, bloody, and horrific, I loved Blood Countess! I can’t wait for the next book in this awesome series! Next on deck: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng!

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