Sunday, December 17, 2023

REVIEW: A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

A Dowry of Blood
My Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

The tale of the three brides of Dracula... as told by his first wife Constanta.

It's during the 15th century when he first approaches her on a battlefield. Left for dead, the dark stranger offers her eternal life by his side. They spend several centuries traveling the globe... happy and blissful for a while until the magic eventually wears off. Eventually, two more are drawn into their little family. But as jealousy and obsession turns to overbearing cruelty, the three consorts seek solace in each another in an attempt to put an end to their suffocating confinement and end regain their freedom.

The book is written in the second person epistolary format, with Constanta addressing her words to her vampire master, a full account of their life together. I found this was a threw me off at times as I'm not really used to reading fiction in the second person, especially when the YOU refers to a third person and not yourself as the reader. Dracula's name was not mentioned at all throughout the novel as Constanta decided to strip him of his name, and thus strip him of his power, so the reader is left to intuit whom Constanta is addressing. If you didn't read the description, you might assume it's just some random vamp.

The story was interesting though admittedly not a favorite. Throughout the tale, Constanta recollects the events of her lifetime beginning with when she first met and was turned by him, up until his fatal end and beyond. We also meet Magdalena and Alexi, an aristocrat and an artist respectively, who are later invited to join their family and are sired by Dracula, all of which greatly affects the dynamics of the group. She claims that she needs to put this account in writing in order to convince herself that all of it really happened. While the writing itself was poetic and emotional, there wasn't really a plot, which is why I think it didn't really hook me.

I'll be reading the ARC of An Education in Malice next, (pub date Feb 2024 - pre-order on Amazon here) so I wanted to read this first. Even though it's not a direct sequel, it looks like at least one of the characters from this book, Magdalena, makes an appearance as a minor character there.

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