Today I’m sharing another review, this time for A Dowry of Blood. I had this book on my radar for a really long time, but never had the chance to read it when it was self published, but then it was picked up by Orbit and I was able to get a review copy!
A Dowry of Blood
by S.T. Gibson
Series: A Dowry of Blood #1
Release date: October 6th 2022
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Horror
A lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula’s brides, A DOWRY OF BLOOD is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation.
Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.
With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.
Before reading this, all I had heard was it was about Dracula’s brides and the writing was beautiful. After reading this, I can agree that the writing is exceptionally beautiful, and I have so many highlights! Normally, writing this beautiful can be difficult for me to focus on to really understand the story but that’s not the case with this book. It was so easy to read and didn’t take away my enjoyment of reading the story, and in fact, it enhanced it.
I loved the way this was set up as these letters written by Constanta showing her life and everything that led up to her decision to murder Dracula. I loved how this book explored abusive relationships and how you can easily see abuse as a form of love, and as the characters are vampires you get to see how over their long lives they slowly realize all the little things they’ve forgiven and brushed off really took a toll on them and their relationships with each other.
While I know that this is categorized as horror, I don’t really think that truly fits, despite all the trigger warnings and the fact that this is about vampires there wasn’t anything that was really horrific (at least, to me as someone who has read some extreme horror lately). I think as I was reading it I felt like it was more a discussion on finding your true self and learning to stand up for you and those you love while finding your way out of an abusive situation.
I also adored Constanta, Magdalena and Alexi as characters, and they way that they all fit together and support each other. This ARC also included A Dowry of Blood #1.5 which is called An Encore of Roses and is the epilogue short story from Alexi’s POV, and it made me fall in love with these characters so much more. They’re all so supportive of one another and you can really tell that they care deeply for one another, and the contrast between the three of them together versus their relationship with Dracula just highlights even more how toxic that relationship was.
I highly recommend this book, but definitely take some time to look through the trigger warnings before giving it a go. I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy!
Have you read A Dowry of Blood? What are your thoughts?