Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1)
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.

Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1) Details

TitleBlood Countess (Lady Slayers #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 28th, 2020
PublisherHarry N. Abrams
ISBN-139781419738869
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Horror, Young Adult, LGBT, Fiction, Retellings, Fantasy, Gothic, Paranormal, Vampires

Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1) Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    Did somebody say “a dark horror book based on Elizabeth Bathory a.k.a. “Blood Countess”? And I’m not dreaming right? This book is on my shelf! My fairy God mothers a.k.a. Amazing NetGalley crew left this special gift for me! (My second favorite fairy godmothers! First one is always Olivia Colman from Fleabag!) So what am I waiting for? Get your hands on it and start flipping pages! I literally danced in the street, singing theme song. And I got a ticket from a police officer (he didn’t get Did somebody say “a dark horror book based on Elizabeth Bathory a.k.a. “Blood Countess”? And I’m not dreaming right? This book is on my shelf! My fairy God mothers a.k.a. Amazing NetGalley crew left this special gift for me! (My second favorite fairy godmothers! First one is always Olivia Colman from Fleabag!) So what am I waiting for? Get your hands on it and start flipping pages! I literally danced in the street, singing theme song. And I got a ticket from a police officer (he didn’t get jealous off my signature dance moves! I crossed the street at the red light, when I was dancing and he didn’t buy my act that I was tourist and I didn’t know where I am! )So I excitedly began reading but unfortunately I found out this is another Switzerland book for me. But my “I didn’t like it but I also I didn’t hate it” definition about Switzerland kind of staying in the middle stars system worked differently. Because at the beginning I loved the book and first half of it really worked well for me but then pace slowed down and story got dull, long, boring, kept repeated itself. And the ending didn’t reflect the real life events so conclusion of the story was a little dissatisfying for me. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t truly enjoy it, too. So I recently fell out love from the book and sighed slowly because I was expecting so much more.What I liked most:Characterization and writing:In the late 16th century, we’re firstly introduced Anna Darvulia, a talented healer, living in a Hungary village, inherited her skill from her mother, knows how to tend to the ill herbs. Her gift attracted the attention of notorious Countess Bathory. So Anna starts to work for Countess as a maid, sleeping with the rats and spiders and then promoted to be a chambermaid.I loved the naiveness and determination of Anna who is trying so hard to bring out the humanity and goodness the countess hid. But she chose an impossible task because she is a golden hearted lamb dealing with a vicious, dangerous, manipulative wolf, a real serial killer of the history. As she gets closer to the countess, Anna finally realizes she cannot find any concrete excuses for the countess’ cruelty.The depiction of a killer’s psychology and her unbalanced, devious motives are impeccably told.What I didn’t like:Thee entire half of the book seemed like written by another writer because the pace got slower and repeating sequences bored me to death and forced me take a few nap breaks. The story seemed like going nowhere and of course predictable, not so surprising conclusion made me disappointed.As a summary: I loved to read more books of the author and I wished this story could fit with my expectations but naturally it didn’t!Special thanks to NetGalley and Abrams Kids/ Amulet Books to share this ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review.
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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    THIS IS GAY. ALERT ALERT THIS IS F/F. WOW THE GAYS STAY WINNING.
  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    When Anna Darvulia, daughter of a peasant midwife and a healer herself, gets summoned in the night to attend to the Countess Elizabeth Bathory, she learns a dark secret that she promises to keep. In turn, she earns the favor of the Countess, a woman she greatly admires. Although Countess Bathory seems a tad dangerous, she is also glamorous and powerful. A combination young Anna finds irresistible.Before long, due to her strong first impression, Anna is summoned by the Countess again. This time When Anna Darvulia, daughter of a peasant midwife and a healer herself, gets summoned in the night to attend to the Countess Elizabeth Bathory, she learns a dark secret that she promises to keep. In turn, she earns the favor of the Countess, a woman she greatly admires. Although Countess Bathory seems a tad dangerous, she is also glamorous and powerful. A combination young Anna finds irresistible.Before long, due to her strong first impression, Anna is summoned by the Countess again. This time to go and live in the castle as one of her scullery maids.Once there, Anna's relationship with Elizabeth continues to grow. Ultimately, she is selected to be her chambermaid, a huge step up in position and responsibility.As the relationship turns romantic, Anna begins to be swayed to do things for Elizabeth that she would have never guessed herself capable of. The Countess is cruel and hot-headed, but Anna sometimes has a hard time recognizing those flaws within her. In Elizabeth's search for the key to vitality however, she goes too far, and Anna finally sees her for who, or what, she truly is.This book was good, but it was not what I expected it to be. While I feel I was pitched a historical YA horror novel, what I actually got was straight YA historical fiction with a hint of romance. I definitely would not classify this as a horror story, so if that is what you are looking for you may want to look elsewhere.The writing was pleasing, but it was very, very slow. I kept waiting for something big to happen and it just never did. There was nothing mysterious, suspenseful or haunting about this.It felt like a love story gone wrong. Anna fell in love with the wrong person, end of story. Of course we all know Elizabeth Bathory was insane, so really nothing surprising there.I don't know. I think if I had gone into this, thinking gothic historical fiction, as opposed to horror, I may have been less disappointed.It's not a bad book. It's a good story, it just read slow for me and I sort of lost interest. I think this would be a great place for younger readers to start who are looking to get into darker works of fiction however.Thank you so much to the publisher, Amulet Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!
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  • Candace Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    Did someone say blood? Did someone say blood? ❤️
  • christina
    January 1, 1970
    true rating: 3.5 stars I received an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review This story is darkkkk, but very intriguing - and started out really strong! I LOVED the MC Anna’s storyline with her family and apprenticeship under her mother as a midwife and healer. From there tragedy strikes Anna’s family and she winds up working as a scullery maid under the Countess Elizabeth. The Countess was really intriguing and layered, and the budding relationship between the two ★ true rating: 3.5 stars ★★ I received an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ★This story is darkkkk, but very intriguing - and started out really strong! I LOVED the MC Anna’s storyline with her family and apprenticeship under her mother as a midwife and healer. From there tragedy strikes Anna’s family and she winds up working as a scullery maid under the Countess Elizabeth. The Countess was really intriguing and layered, and the budding relationship between the two was really interesting and unique. The two characters are extremely well written and their relationship is beautifully tragic. I also enjoyed the nature vs. nurture aspect of the Countess’ cruelty and the dilemma Anna had to face when coming to terms with the Countess’ true nature. However, towards the second half of the book, the plot simmers down and becomes very bleak. Anna begins to let herself be manipulated by the Countess, even though she had a strong, clear mind through the first half of the book. The scullery maids, having turned on Anna, continue to loath her and call her a witch even after she helps them and tries to protect them. I was hoping for Anna to wake up, and for the maids to join her in taking down the Countess, especially Krisztina or Ilona. However, Anna stands by for much too long and there is no reconciliation between her and the other girls. The ending was good, I just think the climax and resolution could have been more satisfying.
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  • Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like I kept waiting for something big to happen, and it never really did. About halfway through, I thought maybe, but it just kind of "blahed" out. I know this is YA book, but I was expecting more gore, more suspense, more of everything. Decent read
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    This book just really worked for me from start to finish. It was creepy and tense and sexy and dark, and most importantly (to me) well told. I've always been fascinated by Elizabeth Bathory but even so, I couldn't tell exactly where this book was going and that meant the tension pulled me along at a break-neck pace, straight through heaps of sinister atmosphere.If you don't like reading about moral ambiguity, people doing bad things, people making bad decisions, then you probably won't like This book just really worked for me from start to finish. It was creepy and tense and sexy and dark, and most importantly (to me) well told. I've always been fascinated by Elizabeth Bathory but even so, I couldn't tell exactly where this book was going and that meant the tension pulled me along at a break-neck pace, straight through heaps of sinister atmosphere.If you don't like reading about moral ambiguity, people doing bad things, people making bad decisions, then you probably won't like this. Lucky for me, that's the sort of book I can't get enough of.Like a creepy historical YOU, tinted with shades of Jacqueline Carey.A perfect fall read
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  • ☾ h a d e e r ☽
    January 1, 1970
    oh my god, 13 year old me, who was so obsessed with elizabath bathory she wrote an entire report on her for english class (a report that landed her in the guidance counselor's office) is so excited right now
  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Blood Countess by Lana Popovic is a YA horror novel about Elizabeth Bathory, aka history's Blood Countess. Honestly, that's entirely what sold me. I was really into the first perhaps fifty percent of the novel, especially as we meet and follow Anna's journey - and yes, she does some awful things to get what she wants. The second half though became quite boring. I suppose I was expecting more in terms of horror, blood, and guts I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Blood Countess by Lana Popovic is a YA horror novel about Elizabeth Bathory, aka history's Blood Countess. Honestly, that's entirely what sold me. I was really into the first perhaps fifty percent of the novel, especially as we meet and follow Anna's journey - and yes, she does some awful things to get what she wants. The second half though became quite boring. I suppose I was expecting more in terms of horror, blood, and guts than we ended up getting considering that Elizabeth Bathory was a real life mass murderer and probably an inspiration for Dracula along with Vlad the Impaler. Either way, the story is probably not best for the squeamish.
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  • Bitchin' Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Oh the depravity. The wickedness. The gruesome acts of violence. This was quite a bloody read and I enjoyed each page.
  • thi
    January 1, 1970
    2.25/5- the synopsis is soooo interesting .. the contents .. not so much - Guys this is boring - I’m sure you could dig deep, be introspective, and have a whirl with this but just on paper .. I got nothing- This is also bc I couldn’t for the life of me get invested in anything about this - I think a lot of people’s expectations for this are a seductively dark sapphic story and it just isn’t (for me)
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  • Alaina
    January 1, 1970
    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I was honestly really excited to dive into Blood Countess. It was interesting in the beginning, but then I slowly started to lose my interest in it. In this book, you will meet Anna Darvulia. She lives in Hungary as a healer of sorts. On her way home one day, after saving a little kitten from being tortured, she runs into the new Countess - Elizabeth. From this one moment, her life was forever changed.Okay so I had high I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I was honestly really excited to dive into Blood Countess. It was interesting in the beginning, but then I slowly started to lose my interest in it. In this book, you will meet Anna Darvulia. She lives in Hungary as a healer of sorts. On her way home one day, after saving a little kitten from being tortured, she runs into the new Countess - Elizabeth. From this one moment, her life was forever changed.Okay so I had high hopes on this book. I know, I know, I shouldn't do that to myself before diving into anything but I did. I was really psyched to read about the Countess Dracula. However, what I got was boredom. Not a lot happened in this book until the end. Yeah, people feared Elizabeth and at one point Anna is under her spell because she feels "loved". Yet, not a lot happened. So (view spoiler)[a few people died from their "experiments" (hide spoiler)] and that's about it. Even the ending was a smidge predictable because you just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. In the end, I really wanted to enjoy this from start to finish BUT I just wanted this whole thing to end. The last chapter was okay but not a complete shock either.
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  • Melissa (The Reader & The Chef)
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 3.5 stars Thanks to Amulet Books & Pique Beyond for the ARC!This was a quick read and I must say, I was quite invested with the story. The history of the Countess Báthory is... intriguing, but disturbing, and this novel does capture that perfectly.Blood Countess is narrated by a sixteen-year-old healer whose life before working for the Countess was hard thanks to the abusive father who only doted on his sons, and not on his wife or daughters. Living in abuse and the unfairness Actual rating: 3.5 stars Thanks to Amulet Books & Pique Beyond for the ARC!This was a quick read and I must say, I was quite invested with the story. The history of the Countess Báthory is... intriguing, but disturbing, and this novel does capture that perfectly.Blood Countess is narrated by a sixteen-year-old healer whose life before working for the Countess was hard thanks to the abusive father who only doted on his sons, and not on his wife or daughters. Living in abuse and the unfairness that comes of being a women in those times, led Anna to grow up angry at men and never wishing to get married nor have children of her own. So when she catches the eye of the Countess (after saving her illegitimate son), she readily accepts a position at her castle. And enters a nightmare.I really liked Anna’s voice and her personality (referring to her person in the beginning of the book, mostly). She’s bitter at her father for being abusive. Bitter at society only expecting for women to get married and have children. And bitter of never having enough to eat. Reading about her situation made me angry and honestly, it accurately reflects the struggles women have faced and still face. Which is why it is understandable why her own ambition leads her to serve the Countess, though I wish I had a power to step in and just yell at her to run in the opposite direction. Once in her domain, Anna’s naivety and hopefulness are what keep her from seeing the true colors of the Countess and her cruelty/bloodlust. Instead, she gets romantically involved and oversees the signs. The book had me invested in Anna’s story, and once I reached the point that the Countess starts giving in more to her bloodlust, I was quite horrified. Some scenes do get descriptive so, you have been warned.But in all honesty, I was actually expecting a bit more of the second half of the book. The build up was pretty great, but I somehow feel as if the book quickly changes pace just to lead to the ending. It wraps up too quickly and conveniently. And... it just wasn’t satisfying. This is where I’m not sure if it wanted to remain historically accurate or not, but I was hoping for something just... better. It oddly has an HEA ending when this book is just one that should not have strived for something of the sorts based on the main character’s role in it. So all in all, it was interesting and it’s definitely a book that was at parts horrible because of Báthory and her crimes. If you like historical thrillers, this might be of your interest too!(Okay, I was writing a mini review but it got long!)
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  • Amy Imogene Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula???YES. Thank you to Amulet Books via NetGalley for an ARC of this tile in exchange for an honest review.
  • Kristi
    January 1, 1970
    “For all the gold and silver in her coffers, in some ways the countess is just like me. A woman, with a man’s cruel hand around her wrist.” -Lana Popovic, Author of Blood CountessFirst Sentence:Sarvar, Hungary – May 8, 1575 The day our Lord Nadasdy weds the countess, the sky above us is the color of bleached bone. It’s the late 1500’s and Anna Darvulia is a highly skilled healer in her Hungarian village, learning by her mother’s side how to tend to the ill with herbs gathered by moonlight. Anna “For all the gold and silver in her coffers, in some ways the countess is just like me. A woman, with a man’s cruel hand around her wrist.” -Lana Popovic, Author of Blood CountessFirst Sentence:Sarvar, Hungary – May 8, 1575 The day our Lord Nadasdy weds the countess, the sky above us is the color of bleached bone. It’s the late 1500’s and Anna Darvulia is a highly skilled healer in her Hungarian village, learning by her mother’s side how to tend to the ill with herbs gathered by moonlight. Anna has far exceeded even her mother’s great talent and comes to the attention of The Countess Elizabeth Bathory who has the uncanny talent of seeing into another’s soul and playing on their weakness and their secrets. All for her own despicable gain. It’s no secret that Countess Elizabeth Bathory is known for her cruelty and unending quest for youth; she is known as the most vicious female serial killer in recorded history for a reason. Ms. Popovic takes this true account and weaves an emotionally taut story with Anna as the main character and explores a fictional version of one girls experience with the cruel and murderous Countess. Anna is a great protagonist, she is so clever and gifted but most of all, she loves her family beyond all things. The love of her family is what drives her to go work at the castle. At first, she is a lowly scullery maid, sleeping with the spiders and rats but when she strives to become more useful to Elizabeth her rank is elevated to the coveted role of chambermaid. As Anna becomes closer to Elizabeth it becomes harder to make excuses for her harsh and merciless treatment of others. Elizabeth is extremely well written, she is cruel and devious, yes, but there are glimpses of her that made me understand why Anna found it hard to find fault with her in the beginning. The story is one of hope and despair but ultimately, it shows the strength of a young woman and her desire to care for her family and eventually, herself. It is gorgeously written, incredibly rich and descriptive and it was an absolute joy to read. A big thank you to NetGalley, Abrams Kids and Pique Beyond for providing me with Blood Countess by Lana Popovic to read and review!
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Countess Bathory! A new book about Elizabeth Bathory! Do you know how giddy this makes me? Do you know that I NEED to have a copy in my hands now. She was one of my many obsessions. GIMMEEEEEEE!Take my money!!!
  • ax
    January 1, 1970
    ngl i don't have much faith in this, but it's set in my country so i'll be reading it anyways
  • Sabs
    January 1, 1970
    god please let this be gay please let this be gay x100
  • K.S. Marsden
    January 1, 1970
    Fed up with her violent father and lack of prospects, Anna seeks a new kind of freedom, under the employ of Countess Elizabeth Báthory. The two young women will soon make a mark in history.I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Anna is following in the footsteps of her midwife mother, learning all she can about healing and medicine. But Anna has a further gift, and has to ignore the taunts of "witch" behind her back.Her father is the village drink, and has a foul Fed up with her violent father and lack of prospects, Anna seeks a new kind of freedom, under the employ of Countess Elizabeth Báthory. The two young women will soon make a mark in history.I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Anna is following in the footsteps of her midwife mother, learning all she can about healing and medicine. But Anna has a further gift, and has to ignore the taunts of "witch" behind her back.Her father is the village drink, and has a foul temper, beating and starving the women in his home, whilst encouraging his sons to be just as vile.Anna can already see the future she is expected to follow, to become the wife and property of one of the village men, to push out babies and disappear into the shadows. Anna is independent and has never been attracted to any man, so this is an awful fate.She jumps at the chance to escape, when she is offered a decent wage working for the beautiful and enigmatic Countess.I enjoyed the story, how it explores unhealthy relationships, and the lengths people will go to, not to recognise what everyone else sees.Anna is completely enamoured by Elizabeth, so much so, that she ignores all the warnings from everyone around her, of Elizabeth's cruelty. She so wants to believe in the good in her lady's heart, that she excuses the fits of anger, blaming them on the influence of her evil husband.As Anna and Elizabeth become lovers, it is even harder to believe the dark tales. Elizabeth is passionate, but considerate and caring. It is much easier to think that the rest of the castle's occupants are just jealous that Anna is in favour.As to be expected, with a story about Countess Dracula, there is a lot of blood and violence. There are scenes with explicit torture, and painful deaths.I think these are done really well.The not-so-good.Anna isn't a very likable main character. She starts off great, and finishes well; but once she gets involved with Elizabeth it all goes askew. She lies and cheats her way into Elizabeth's service, then becomes very shallow and giggly with her new partner. She doesn't blink an eye at the punishments dished out by her lady, and does some awful things herself.I can understand seeing Anna testing the morals and the idea of being forced to do the lesser evil; and that she is just sixteen when all of this starts; but it lost me a little, as a reader.Despite this, I was still enjoying the story. Until the end.The plot was wrapped up very quickly, via a device that made me snort. There was no way anything they did was going to turn the Countess into an obedient little lamb.Overall, I enjoyed this, and I look forward to reading more of the author's work.
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  • Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
    January 1, 1970
    CW: blood, murder, intimate partner violence, poisoning, and deathThis was my most anticipated book of 2020. I was SO excited for a story that talked about Elizabeth Bathory (sorry for the Anglicized version of her name, but I don't have the keyboard that can do the accents). There's basically nothing about her and, personally, I feel that the charges are largely made up and they were put on her by men who wanted to control her. But that's me! Also, I was super excited that this book is queer CW: blood, murder, intimate partner violence, poisoning, and deathThis was my most anticipated book of 2020. I was SO excited for a story that talked about Elizabeth Bathory (sorry for the Anglicized version of her name, but I don't have the keyboard that can do the accents). There's basically nothing about her and, personally, I feel that the charges are largely made up and they were put on her by men who wanted to control her. But that's me! Also, I was super excited that this book is queer with an F/F relationship.So, what went wrong?The book, overall, felt very amateurish. The writing felt like it was a first-time author. The plotting felt the same. The characters were just off. I did not like how Elizabeth was portrayed at all in this book. It didn't feel realistic with how much she changed and then that poor man's version of psychopathy that was forced on her. And Anna, the MC, was so bland and boring. I would have preferred it from Elizabeth's perspective.The relationship between Anna and Elizabeth also sucked. It was like they were adversaries then, all of the sudden, they were lovers. And then hated each other again. I couldn't follow the characterization of their relationship one bit.Overall, I was so disappointed with this book. I'm very glad that I didn't decide to buy it. I know this is going to have more books in it -- probably about another famous historical woman who's rumored to have killed people -- but I'll likely skip it.
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  • Erin Arkin
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come
  • Sarah Loves Books and tea
    January 1, 1970
    I have long been fascinated by the story of Elizabeth Bathory so I was excited to read this book. In Blood Countess we follow Anna who after a chance meeting with the Countess Bathory becomes her chambermaid, companion and later her lover allowing her to support her mother and siblings. Anna is enthralled by Elizabeth and becomes a little obsessed with her which allows her to turn a blind eye to her cruel ways. But as the story progresses Elizabeth’s behaviour grows even worse and Anna becomes I have long been fascinated by the story of Elizabeth Bathory so I was excited to read this book. In Blood Countess we follow Anna who after a chance meeting with the Countess Bathory becomes her chambermaid, companion and later her lover allowing her to support her mother and siblings. Anna is enthralled by Elizabeth and becomes a little obsessed with her which allows her to turn a blind eye to her cruel ways. But as the story progresses Elizabeth’s behaviour grows even worse and Anna becomes even more enthralled by her and I was engrossed by their story and the intense relationship between them.Anna is an interesting and complex character and it was interesting to see her constantly try to justify and excuse Elizabeth’s actions because of her adoration and obsession with her. The writing is very good and I was enthralled from the very first page and invested in the characters. The book is quite dark in places and very gory and I felt my unease growing from the very first page just as Anna feels her unease growing the longer she is in Elizabeth’s castle. This was a very interesting and well written book but it’s not for the faint hearted!! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review this book.
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  • Kayla Brunson
    January 1, 1970
    I was so excited to see a book about Elizabeth Bathory. She was a person that I couldn’t read enough about back when I was around 15. However, I wasn’t a big fan of this book.It started off great but what made this such a drag for me was the execution of everything. I never liked Elizabeth at any point in this book. I know that she’s a villain and a bad person, but she had nothing to make her seem extraordinary and that’s what I was looking for. Anna was okay, but she was super naive. So many I was so excited to see a book about Elizabeth Bathory. She was a person that I couldn’t read enough about back when I was around 15. However, I wasn’t a big fan of this book.It started off great but what made this such a drag for me was the execution of everything. I never liked Elizabeth at any point in this book. I know that she’s a villain and a bad person, but she had nothing to make her seem extraordinary and that’s what I was looking for. Anna was okay, but she was super naive. So many times I wanted to shake her and yell “Anna open your eyes!”. Throw in a romance that was undeveloped and not really needed, and there you have these two. What also made this story underwhelming was the pacing and the ending. It started off slow, picked up and then became slow again. Once I got to about 65%, I was so ready for this book to end. So much time is spent reading about these two falling in love and their everyday life. I wanted and expected more of her crimes. Also, the ending was way too easy! Everything wrapped up with a pretty bow on top and it irked me. For the horror fan out there, this was gory! I was wincing and also reading with one eye open because I wanted to see how far it would go. Seriously, the gore was the best part of this book. You got to see how far off the hinges Elizabeth really was. She blossomed in the pain and death that she inflicted on people. Overall, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Maybe others will love it but, I can’t say that I will be recommending it or picking it up again. TW: gore; abuse; tortureI received an ARC via NetGalley for an honest review. Blog | Instagram | Twitter
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  • Stacy Fetters
    January 1, 1970
    "You will burn in hell for this, you wicked bitch, you vile abomination. You are even worse than her. If I do, I trust you will be there before me, ready to show me all the sights."Elizabeth Báthory (Countess Dracula) is an intriguing woman. She’s one of the most prolific female serial killers with a purported six hundred and fifty victims. She believed that drinking their blood and bathing in it would help to look and feel younger. She was a woman who knew what she wanted and went after it. "You will burn in hell for this, you wicked bitch, you vile abomination. You are even worse than her. If I do, I trust you will be there before me, ready to show me all the sights."Elizabeth Báthory (Countess Dracula) is an intriguing woman. She’s one of the most prolific female serial killers with a purported six hundred and fifty victims. She believed that drinking their blood and bathing in it would help to look and feel younger. She was a woman who knew what she wanted and went after it. This book was an in-between for me. It started off slow, picked up in the middle, and slowed down in the end. It got interesting once the Countess did her evil doing. It was also a breath of fresh air with the diverse characters. It was a good one time read but will probably never revisit it. Blood Countess is a fictional story about the Countess, her life, her obsessive behavior, and her downfall. It’s an interesting tale but definitely not for the faint of heart. This just goes to show you that women will do anything to look and feel younger.
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Amulet Books. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book.This is one of those books that gets so dark and twisted and messed up sometimes, you start to question yourself if you should really be enjoying it and binge reading it on Thanksgiving instead of that adorable and fluffy contemporary you have next up Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Amulet Books. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. This is one of those books that gets so dark and twisted and messed up sometimes, you start to question yourself if you should really be enjoying it and binge reading it on Thanksgiving instead of that adorable and fluffy contemporary you have next up on your TBR. That being said, this is one of the best psychological horrors I have ever seen done with a brilliant historical backing and tense lead-up - but definitely not for the faint of heart and tbh, not really for the young adult crowd? (y'all, i felt like i just wrote a thesis sentence. i'mma need to take a breath before i start flashing back to my college years and feel the need to rewrite entire paragraphs going in circles to meet a certain word count.)🩸 The moment I saw this mentioned in the Yallfest ARC drops list, I knew I had to get it. In the past few years, I discovered the gruesome history of Elizabeth Bathory from TV shows, and it's just one of those stories that shocks and awes you because it's just so crazy and unbelievable. Bathory is said to have killed anywhere from 60 - 650 people (mostly young women) for sadistic pleasure - and some say as a way for eternal beauty (bathing in their blood to keep her skin looking fresh). It churns your stomach to think about just how depraved people can be. I was intrigued to see what Popovic would do with a YA novel - and it definitely didn't leave me disappointed. 🩸 I think what I loved most about this book was the characterization and deep psychology that went behind it. These characters are incredibly flawed, unlikable at times, and have some dark sides to them - however, you see why they do the things they do and how they can be so likable sometimes. Popovic went so incredibly deep into their psyche, and each nuance was uncovered in realistic and fascinating ways. I understand why this characters did the things they did, and I was continuously impressed by the way Popovic mastered the characterization.  🩸 This book continuously felt like it was drawing breath. With each breath, we would add one more layer to the book and plot. It was a slow build up that allowed us to simmer in the good to reach all the way to the horrifying bad. I felt tense, knowing we were adding up to something, and I was still eager to get there. It has a few big bangs, and the twists and turns are subtle but brilliant. At times, I felt like it did get a little too slow, but it really was so easy to get back into and binge.🩸 The setting and writing were incredibly done as well. This felt lush and gothic in the best way. I felt immersed, and it's just everything that I wanted in this dark historical fiction novel. It feels like it transported me into a whole new macabre world. 🩸 Sometimes, things did feel a little too unbelievable? Like, the ending, I felt, really didn't fit with the rest of the story. And there were a few instances of that as well where it didn't feel authentic. At times, it just didn't click for me. I don't know how to describe it, but I found myself going mmmm not so sure about that. 🩸  I also thought that YA might not have been the exact right fit for this. I mean, the question is always asked what makes YA, YA, but I felt like a lot of this was really dark and far more adult than the regular YA reader. I would honestly put it probably NA (think probably more along the lines of Ninth House) than YA. There are still, for sure, elements of YA, but I think it was just a little too dark? There were parts that I had to skim over because I just couldn't stomach it all. 🩸  The f/f romance was also amazing!! It had so many layers to this, and Anna and Elizabeth had amazing chemistry. It was both sweet and electric at the same time - especially since both characters were so intricate. Their love story was such an important aspect to the story, but it didn't cause the story to dwaddle or anything. Romance and nonromance fans alike will be pleased with it. 🩸  Overall, this was such a bingeworthy and twisted read that was dark historical fiction done so right. Now, I must go cleanse myself with a super fluffy and adorable read.rating: Anna because this was pretty great except for a few small things.representation: f/f romance (one is bi and the other is lesbian), abuse survivor, rape survivorcontent warnings: gore, violence, intense sequences, murder, sexual content (not much shown), abuse, rape (implied), abortion, tortureread this if you: your history dark, twisty, and totally thought out psychologically
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  • Emily (moonlight&moths)
    January 1, 1970
    "And who else could know your desire better then I could? I, who knew what was between us from the moment we first met each other's eyes?" Rep: Lesbian mc, bisexual love interestTW: excessive violence, torture sequences, abuse & death (honestly if serial killers aren't your thing steer clear of this book)Reading this story was like knowing full well a disaster was coming but you just keep watching in case something drastically changes. It was gothic and terrifying; a perfect way to start my "And who else could know your desire better then I could? I, who knew what was between us from the moment we first met each other's eyes?" Rep: Lesbian mc, bisexual love interestTW: excessive violence, torture sequences, abuse & death (honestly if serial killers aren't your thing steer clear of this book)Reading this story was like knowing full well a disaster was coming but you just keep watching in case something drastically changes. It was gothic and terrifying; a perfect way to start my 2020 reading.Check out my full review here!
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  • Toya
    January 1, 1970
    When I first got wind of a retelling of the infamous Countess Elizabeth Báthory, I squealed. I love all things vampire related so anything about Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Báthory, I NEED in my life. Up until now, I hadn’t read any retellings, so I was dying to get my hands on a copy of Blood Countess.Blood Countess follows the story of Anna Darvulia, a poor village girl gifted with healing, who dreams of working for the illustrious Countess Elizabeth following a chance opportunity to assist When I first got wind of a retelling of the infamous Countess Elizabeth Báthory, I squealed. I love all things vampire related so anything about Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Báthory, I NEED in my life. Up until now, I hadn’t read any retellings, so I was dying to get my hands on a copy of Blood Countess.Blood Countess follows the story of Anna Darvulia, a poor village girl gifted with healing, who dreams of working for the illustrious Countess Elizabeth following a chance opportunity to assist Elizabeth in a personal matter. Following the death of her abusive father, Anna leaves home in hopes to work as a chambermaid to Elizabeth so that her salary can keep her family from starvation. Once Anna settles into the palace, she quickly learns of Elizabeth’s sadistic tendencies and torturous punishments for the smallest of offenses. Anna must find a way to stay loyal to Elizabeth and curb her treacherous ways before the body count starts piling up.First thing, if you have trouble with gory scenes, skip this book because Popovic does not shy away from the horrific things that Elizabeth decides to carry out on a whim. To say that Elizabeth is sadistic and disturbed in an absolute understatement. I thought that Popovic did a brilliant job of creating a character that started off as someone you could enjoy, maybe even love (as in the case of Anna) and let that person’s true, treacherous persona seep to the surface until any sense of morality was destroyed. Loved it.I loved that the Anna that you start with in this book is NOT the Anna who ends in this book. Her character arc was definitely my favorite. You see a teenage girl full of hope and innocence who just wants to pursue a life for herself and to please Elizabeth. Anna starts out as so naive and trusting. Every time one of Elizabeth torture games becomes more depraved than the next, a piece inside Anna awakens to the horrific reality that she has shackled herself to.I found this story to be fast past and gripping. Coming in around 300 pages, there’s no filler chapters or extra fluff to propel the story forward. Overall, I think this was a great start to the Lady Slayers series, and I can’t wait to see where Anna’s story ends up next.Thank you to @PiqueBeyond (ABRAMS) for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Jessie Sedai of the Black Ajah🥀🐍
    January 1, 1970
    This was just the kind of book I needed to refresh the palette - succinct, fluid read with engaging linear narrative and a single point of view. There was nothing extraneous to fluff up the chapters. Just pure simple entertainment from start to finish. Anna is a poor village girl whisked away to become a chambermaid to the ruthless Countess Elizabeth Blathory in hopes of making enough money to feed her starving family. The task proves to be more than she bargained for, as she quickly learns of This was just the kind of book I needed to refresh the palette - succinct, fluid read with engaging linear narrative and a single point of view. There was nothing extraneous to fluff up the chapters. Just pure simple entertainment from start to finish. Anna is a poor village girl whisked away to become a chambermaid to the ruthless Countess Elizabeth Blathory in hopes of making enough money to feed her starving family. The task proves to be more than she bargained for, as she quickly learns of her mistress's sadistic tendencies and propensity for violent punishment for the smallest of offenses. Anna navigates the treacherous halls, using her cunning and charm to try to keep her lady's favor and hopefully curb her vicious outbursts. This becomes harder and harder to maintain as the countess's obsession with attaining the perfect beauty image leads her to the brink of madness. It should be be noted that this is an adaptation of the historical figure known later as the Countess Dracula, and is NOT a paranormal vampire story (took me way too long to figure that out.) Also, I would advise not reading the synopsis if you want to be surprised by the how the story unfolds, particularly at the end. The synopsis gave way too much information away and the twist was not a shock at all because I read the synopsis beforehand. I was kicking myself because I normally don't read the summaries and only read it midway through the book because I was wondering when the vampires were going to show up (SIGH).My only other criticism was that the brevity of the writing style left the atmosphere a little monotone. There could have been an extra layer of depth to articulating the setting and the circumstances or how Anna was feeling to generate that extra level of tension that I was craving. Instead it was just very brief and on the nose about what was happening and how it was meant to be felt. Also the ending seemed a tad rushed and buttoned-up too easily. But it all contributed to this idea of it being a quick and easy read, which is exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for at the time, so I didn't mind it as much as I would have with a longer book.Overall, great read, recommended wholeheartedly!
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  • Sheena ☆ Oh, the Sheenanigans!
    January 1, 1970
    From the synopsis to the characters, my expectations for this read was very high. Were they met? Sorta kinda but not really. There were certainly a few elements that could've been improved to make this a worthwhile read such as the ending. The epilogue to some extent was fine (despite me hoping something between Anna and her childhood friend Peter would lead somewhere) but leading up to it, the finale was lackluster and the anticipation of what could happen next quickly diminish. Sadly From the synopsis to the characters, my expectations for this read was very high. Were they met? Sorta kinda but not really. There were certainly a few elements that could've been improved to make this a worthwhile read such as the ending. The epilogue to some extent was fine (despite me hoping something between Anna and her childhood friend Peter would lead somewhere) but leading up to it, the finale was lackluster and the anticipation of what could happen next quickly diminish. Sadly enough the built-up was a lot better than the reward itself. Besides those disappointing aspects to the novel, I did very much enjoy reading the story in Anna POV and what her feelings and thoughts towards one of the most prolific female serial killers of all time were. Sure she was oblivious at times (let’s be real more often than not) and too lovestruck to pay mind to the warning signs of this infamous murderous treacherous ways (one of her many flaws I must say), nevertheless the author was able to showcase impressive writing style and created interesting story content that left me wanting more. Overall the "Blood Countess" is a decent retelling worth checking out.
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  • Nursebookie
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this fascinating Historical Fiction 17th century Young Adult read about the infamous countess Dracula Elizabeth Bathory. The story was written well that describes in rich detail the horrific things that Elizabeth has cruelly done to people for the sake of her youth and beauty. You cannot help but also empathize with her as early in her life Elizabeth can be a generous and kind person especially to Anna and her family. But we know that in years to come you see the awful I really enjoyed this fascinating Historical Fiction 17th century Young Adult read about the infamous countess Dracula Elizabeth Bathory. The story was written well that describes in rich detail the horrific things that Elizabeth has cruelly done to people for the sake of her youth and beauty. You cannot help but also empathize with her as early in her life Elizabeth can be a generous and kind person especially to Anna and her family. But we know that in years to come you see the awful transformation of what Elizabeth has truly become. The writing was exquisite and the writing really transforms the reader into that time in 17th century Hungary. I recommend this to fans of Bathory, Young Adult reads and horror genres.
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