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Book Review: Blood Countess by Lana Popović

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Blood Countess
by Lana Popović
Rating: ★★★1/2

Published by Amulet Books
Publication Date: 26th of March, 2020
Australian RRP: $23.25

“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.

Blood Countess is the book you’ve been waiting for if you love Young Adult and have had a fascination with the terrible and fearsome Elizabeth Báthory. Elizabeth Báthory is often referred to as the inspiration for Dracula, however, Bram Stoker said his inspiration was taken from Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, who is better known today as Vlad the Impaler. I think it’s possible it was a mixture of both though as Vlad III had a murderous thirst and Elizabeth was entranced with blood and believed it granted youth and power. I think Dracula was a much more unique character created by Stoker that only slightly grabbed inspiration from these two infamous people.

However, Elizabeth herself is one person that has cemented her name in history 460 years later. Her crimes were terrible and perverse but in an ironic way, she does remain enteral because of those crimes. This book is fiction so it takes the terrible woman and puts her as a secondary character in the novel. We follow Anna Darvulia, a town healer  turned scullery maid for Elizabeth after she shows her skills and knowledge. Anna at first believes Elizabeth to  be a beautiful and kind woman taking her under her wing but soon starts to see her impatient and cruel side.

For most of this book Anna doesn’t even realize how far Elizabeth’s crimes go and that is kind of frustrating as a reader with prior knowledge about the character and I kind of wanted to see that gruesome, thriller side of it. Later into the book though as the storyline climaxes Anna gets a very firsthand experience of what Elizabeth treats as a playtime and their differences. I enjoyed the ending because it did give a final epilogue that concluded everything. It was also a really easy reading book and enjoyable enough that younger teens could read it while I also still liked it as a mature reader.

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