Book Review – A Dowry of Blood

A Dracula retelling from his Bride’s point of view.

A Dowry of Blood is written as a confession/love letter from Dracula’s first bride, Constanta. This story is dark, desperate, abusive, and obsessive. It’s full of pain, suffering, and all the things that make vampires what they are. It is beautifully written and hits on all kinds of emotions.

The characters in this book are few, but they are all memorable. As Constanta continually struggles to separate her seemingly undying love (obsession) for Dracula from the constant overbearing and controlling abuse he inflicts on his brides/husband. We see her grow from a broken girl, dying and ruined, to a powerful vampire woman who musters the courage to save not only herself but her consort siblings as well. Magdalena and Alexi are both brought into the marriage during later years and while being rivals to Constanta, they become extremely close, eventually conspiring together to end the dreadful tyranny of their Sire and Master. Dracula himself is a righteous, abusive, obsessive, controlling, and secretive immortal who wants nothing more than to keep his consorts locked away from the outside world. He rules through intimidation and control and views humans as lesser animals, only to be used for carnal needs.

The story timeline spans from the middle ages to the early 20th century. Dracula and his consorts travel all over Europe during their time together, never staying in one place too long so as not to draw any attention to their never changing ages. The descriptions of the times, places, and people who reside there are well written and inspire the classical feel of their unique atmospheres. We’re taken through plague, to the Opera, into 1919 Russia in the midst of a civil war, along the canals in Venice, and by the end of the story, we find the remaining trio in New York City.

I think either you’re going to fall in love with this story of dangerous desire, obsession, and emancipation, or you’re going to completely hate it. There’s not really any room for an in-between. If you love the tragedy of romance mixed with the deadly impulses of vampires, then you’ll probably enjoy this one. This isn’t really a story of romance between Constanta and Dracula, it’s a story of romance between Constanta finding herself and falling in love with her fellow consorts. What Constanta and Dracula have can only be described as a terrible, toxic, abusive, and forced relationship designed to strip away any freedoms she may have been able to keep, had she been left to die the day she met him, instead of becoming his bride. Dracula chose to ruin the lives of Constanta, Magdalena, and Alexi by turning them into sheltered and coveted dolls for only his own enjoyment, but Constanta breaks them free of their cages, and gives them the freedom to truly live out in the world.

I’ve seen quite a few reviews saying that the prose was garbage, but I disagree. I found the prose to be lyrical, enchanting, and well fit for the narrator’s voice. Please pick this one up and give it a try, you might find that you become enraptured and unable to put it down.

Overall, I give it a 5 out of 5.

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