Book Review: Blood Countess
Rating: 4 Stars
This book starts off by introducing us to Anna Darvulia, a talented healer living in a small village in later 16th century Hungry. Soon into the story, Anna’s notorious healing gifts call the attention of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, and soon Anna becomes deeply entwined into the life of the Countess herself.
I enjoyed this story for what it was. I wouldn’t class it as horror, it certainly told of some atrocities but refrained from too much detailed since its YA. As a historical book it was excellent. The time period felt excellently done, felt very accurate and real. The writing made the setting very tangible and the knowledge of the time period felt very well researched as each character or job done was excellently portrayed.
I enjoyed our main character Anna and watching her as she spiralled deeper in the Countess’s dark web. The majority of the book was mostly about Anna getting close to the Countess and trying to help her as she had a misguided belief that the Countess was merely a victim of her own circumstances. Anna was incredibly naïve and hopelessly determined to bring out the best in the Countess and rid her of her darkness. I enjoyed watching this play out, seeing their interaction and how far Anna would go to help her Countess; however, I would caution not to go into the book expecting the infamous countess’s murders to occur straight away (It takes a while to get into that aspect).
The depictions of the Countess’s actions and how unbalanced and single-minded she was were excellently done; it was very intriguing to watch this serial killer in action in this time period. I was on edge around the countess, much as the characters were, never knowing what would happen or how far her rage would push her. This suspense and the twists had me gripped throughout. I thought the ending was good, if not quite as satisfying as I would have liked as it was quite predictable, but it was good to see how everything turned out later in the epilogue.
Overall, I would recommend this book as a darkly entertaining historical fiction book but would caution that the infamous deeds for which Elizabeth Bathory is known for do not come until late in the book. I still really enjoyed this story and will be reading more from the author.
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.
Title: Blood Countess
Author: Lana Popović
Date Published: January 28th 2020
Genre: YA Historical Horror