I knew this book would be an easy read, but I didn’t think I’d read it in one sitting. And yet…here I am. I was lucky enough to be sent an early copy of this book thanks to Nazia from Orbit. I received this a little while ago, but I wanted to save it until closer to the pub date. I’m glad I did, as yeah, this book is going to be perfect for autumn and the spooky season.
You’ve probably heard of this book before, as it was a hit when Gibson self-published it last year. Now Orbit had bought the rights for it, and it’s going to open it up to a lot of new readers.
A Dowry of Blood is a Dracula retelling following his brides. Constanta thought she had been given a second chance when a mysterious man appeared to her at the brink of death and made her his bride. She spends years doing everything he asks and thinking she was lucky. Until her husband brings others into their life. Constanta begins to realise that as much as she loves the others, their husband is capable of terrible things. And now she needs to reveal his dark secrets to save them all.
If you’re looking for something quick to get through, this book could be the one for you. It’s less than 300 pages, with some of that being an extra short story set after the original book. You don’t have to read both, but I recommend you do. It might not sound like many pages, but Gibson packs so much into it.
The writing in this book is stunning. There are so many quotable moments and beautiful lines. If you want a book that reads prettily with content that’s anything but? This is the book for you. There are trigger warnings at the beginning of this book, and I suggest paying attention to them. Nothing about this book upset me, but I can see how it would trigger others. There’s definite abuse in this book, so it’s good to bear in mind if you’re not comfortable reading that.
It’s hard to say how I felt about the characters in this book. I hated Dracula, as you’re supposed to. And you feel the rage Constanta has for him. This book is partially written as a goodbye to him. An explanation as to why she did what she does. You totally understand how this ending came about, and it really draws you in. Constanta and her fellow wives though? I felt sorry for them and was fascinated by them. But not much else. This is a very character focused-novel, but I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to feel about them. I was just…watching everything happen.
I will say that I enjoyed reading a book about a poly relationship though. These are so rare, and you could tell that aside from Dracula…they all loved each other. It was a little strange in places as they refer to each other as a sister or think of Alexi as a son. It made the book feel a little incestuous, but since it wasn’t actually…I can forgive that. It just had me pulling faces every now and then.
This is a book that I think I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come as it’s like nothing I’ve read before.
If you’re looking for a beautifully written Dracula retelling, then this is definitely one you should check out.
Title: A Dowry of Blood
Author: S.T. Gibson
Age Range: Adult
Release Date: 6/10/2022