Blood Countess (Lady Slayers)

Blood Countess (Lady Slayers)
Age Range
Release Date
January 28, 2020
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In 17th 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. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

Editor review

1 review
When I saw this book, I immediately said “mine”
(Updated: May 19, 2020)
Overall rating
Writing Style
Visually, this book is a gorgeous work of art, splattered with blood from cover to cover. For those familiar with the Countess Elizabeth Báthory, you can expect a YA appropriate gruesome tale that does the countess justice. For those new to the infamous countess, it might be important to note, this is not a vampire story. Based on the cover and the blurb, I had some expectations of an Elizabeth Báthory, gender reversal Dracula/Vlad mashup, and I was 100% down for that.

However, Blood Countess is a wonderful historical fiction novel that transports us to the rich tapestry of a 17th century Hungarian landscape. We experience the countess’s story through the eyes of Anna Darvulia, daughter of a local midwife and quite versed in the healing arts. When a chance encounter with the countess leads to a position at the castle, Anna jumps at the opportunity to earn the kind of wage her family can only dream of. She begins as a scullery maid and hears the whispers of the deranged behaviors of the young countess, but Anna soon becomes enamored with Elizabeth as she finds herself chambermaid and confidant to the beautiful countess. Over the course of the novel, Anna learns first hand just how sadistic and insane Elizabeth Báthory really is, only now, as the other servants start dropping like flies, is it too late for Anna?

I have mixed feelings about Blood Countess. I enjoyed it, but in many ways was left wanting more. The one thing the countess is most known for is bathing in the blood of her victims. That does happen—it wouldn’t be a book about her if it didn’t—but it wasn’t until very late in the book that we really start to see that level of gruesomeness. I wanted more blood and horror, though, as I said, the horror level is just right for a YA book. I was just a tad underwhelmed in the end. I enjoyed Anna’s journey as a character and I loved the way her story ended, the one thing I really missed from this book was the countess’s motivation. I wanted to get a little deeper into her character to see what made her the way she is, especially in the end when she makes an unexpected sacrifice.

Blood Countess is the first in the Lady Slayer’s Novels. Poison Priestess is scheduled to release in early 2021 and I am excited to see which historical figure this book will be about, or if it is a continuation of Anna and Elizabeth’s story.

I recommend Blood Countess for any historical fiction fans or those with a passion for intriguing figures like Elizabeth Báthory. It has just the right amount of history, mystery and horror for most audiences to sink their teeth into.
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