I’m back again with another buddy review book review! I buddy read Blood Countess by Lana Popović with my friend Grace and it was kind of a disappointment. But I also liked it?
Blood Countess by Lana Popović
Published: January 28, 2020
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Horror
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.
I had a lot of hope for this book. The premise sounded really cool and I actually knew the historical context of this book before reading.
If you’re not aware, this book is based on a Hungarian Countess who believed that the blood of young virgins would allow someone to remain young and youthful. She is confirmed to have murder over 20 women and bathed in their blood, even rumored to have drank the blood like wine. We’re not sure how many young women she murdered over time, but it was a lot.
So, knowing that, I was really excited to see what this story was going to offer. But once we got to the thick of the plot, it fell flat. The beginning starts off really good. We have a young girl who catches the Countess’ eye as she stumbles across her wedding. Years later, she helps heal the Countess’ secret son and is offered a place in her home as one of the staff. But the Countess is cruel and Anna thinks her husband is behind the cruelty.
I really had high hopes. I wanted them to be evil together, but alas, though there are some wicked moments in the book, Anna is not an anti-hero. This story is short and to the point and I think that was its biggest weakness. So much happens in the story over a short period of time (reading wise) that we get swept up to the end feeling like nothing happened.
And my friend Grace agrees with me. We both thought that the story could have been developed more in order to string out the events and make it more intense. While she does this for certain moments, most of the book is fast paced and if you’re not focused, you’ll miss out on a lot.
Overall, while I like the overall story, it felt underdeveloped and too fast for me to appreciate what was going on. But it’s still a gory, horrific story that any horror fans would like. So it’s a // 5 stars for me.