The season is upon us: Wrap a shawl round your neck—tightly—and crack open a ebook of undead intrigue.
A Dowry of Blood
A queer, feminist reimagining of Dracula, S.T. Gibson’s A Dowry of Blood begins with its narrator, Constanta, reclaiming a small little bit of energy. She refuses to grant her abuser a reputation, as an alternative referring to him as “you” all through the ebook. Her abuser is a prototypical vampire, susceptible to daylight and silver, who sires new vampires by giving them his blood. He finds Constanta close to loss of life, grants her immortal life and, regardless of calling her his bride, sees her as a possession. Through the years, Constanta is joined by two different consorts—Magdalena, a politically savvy thinker, and Alexi, a sprightly socialite and actor—who develop into her pals, lovers and allies.
A Dowry of Blood focuses on Constanta, her abuser and his different spouses; no different character is current for greater than a handful of pages.This slender focus, together with a number of time jumps and Constanta’s stream-of-consciousness narration, creates a dreamlike haze. As every new consort enters the narrative, the home’s ambiance transitions from cloistered and dank to frenetic with want and simmering insurrection. The story’s specificity ebbs and flows based on Constanta’s reminiscence: Occasions she struggles to recall are blurry, however she hyperfixates on what she remembers in wealthy element.
Within the custom of the perfect vampire tales, Gibson makes use of her characters to discover how centuries of time would have an effect on a once-mortal thoughts. A Dowry of Blood whisks readers by human historical past, arriving on the daybreak of the twentieth century, drenched in blood.
Home of Starvation
Within the fantasy world of Home of Starvation by Alexis Henderson (The Yr of the Witching), an industrial revolution is in full swing, condemning the traditional homes of the Aristocracy to a sluggish decay into irrelevance. The Home of Starvation is one in every of these dying homes, nevertheless it’s nonetheless influential sufficient to proceed indenturing bloodmaids like Marion Shaw, who is keen to just accept the place when it’s supplied to her.
On the Home of Starvation, she might be handled properly, absolutely fed and paid sufficient to maintain herself and her brother afloat earlier than receiving an infinite pension as soon as her service ends. However throughout her time as a bloodmaid, Marian’s blood might be harvested to grant well being and sweetness to the homes’ aristocratic members. In Henderson’s world, blood has magical properties and can be utilized in drugs, steam engines and different scientific endeavors.
Countess Lisavet, head of the Home of Starvation, already has 4 different bloodmaids, and Henderson makes use of them for instance the hazards of Marion’s selection. Cecilia, the countess’ oldest bloodmaid, can be her favourite lover and first blood donor. She is consumed with need for Countess Lisavet and is extraordinarily jealous when the countess’ eye turns towards Marion. Lisavet manipulatively distributes her favors, whether or not they be sexual, emotional or verbal. She makes her bloodmaids’ lives revolve round her till they discover themselves outlined by her consideration.
Home of Starvation begins with darkish secrets and techniques and ends with secrets and techniques darker nonetheless. Readers might be on the sides of their seats as Henderson slowly unveils the grotesque horrors on the coronary heart of her creative, gothic society.