The most redeeming quality about Blood Countess is Lana Popovic’s beautiful prose. Her writing is lyrical and romantic, flowing off the page in a rhythmic cadence that lends itself perfectly to the tale needed to spin for Blood Countess to work. It just wasn’t enough to bypass poor execution. Thus the the extraordinary possibilities and expectations I had going into this read went unfulfilled.
A Waste Of Talent And Character
Popovic’s prose could have lulled you into the world of a naive Anna truly being taken in by all the lush extravagance around her, going from her former life to that in the castle and then being entranced by Elizabeth. During that time the second act begins.
In this cross between the horrific acts Anna witnesses, conflicting with that Elizabeth’s strangle hold on Anna’s emotional dependence on Elizabeth, now lulled under her grasp that Popovic can go from that lush prose to a nightmare. The reader could have been taken on a journey with Anna as she battles what she was lured into with the realities of Elizabeth’s cruelty before her.
Thank you to Abrams/Amulet for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Unfortunately, Anna is played out, from the beginning as having constant foreboding about the situation she is walking into. The first 1/3 of the book is slowly paced and provides ample opportunities for Anna to take other routes rather than going to the Countess as her handmaiden. Readers are hand-fed the entire, underlying foreshadowing of what is to come. There isn’t any lulling into a false sense of too good to be true- a little dread? It is historical fiction, after all. But spoon feeding and hand holding? It is overboard and drags.
Pacing And Lack Of Climax
What should be the meatiest, most enthralling and enticing part of the book is the shortest and really off-page part of the book. It is like waiting for the first drop of a roller-coaster that never happens. You get a little bit here and there but never the real thing. The first and last 1/3 of the book is slow paced and quite boring. That small middle chunk that should have been the majority? Is not as spectacular, egregious or captivating as it should have been.
Elizabeth’s hold over Anna is never played-up enough to really make Anna sympathetic or feel like she would be able to excuse these acts as they begin, or for any length of time. There is no sense of true seduction but merely teachings and presents. It takes more than that to make someone overlook bloody torture of others, when you are painted as a naive, good-hearted farm girl.
Not To Beat The Dead Horse… But Since Blood Countess Started It…
From beginning to end, Anna is not likable, sympathetic or interesting. She has so many bad instincts, omens and reactions that anyone with sense would have run for their lives. But she just keeps going, when she had options.
There is no sense in it or her. There is nothing to root for and off base completely from the facts it is rooted in. From beginning to end she makes herself a martyr. When truthfully, she is written to deserve as much blame as Elizabeth for anything that is done.
From pacing, to the characters and which parts of the story is focused on, Blood Countess just doesn’t work. And it is a shame because Popovic’s style was perfect to make this story an enrapturing tale of blood lust.