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The Deathless Girls

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They say the thirst of blood is like a madness - they must sate it. Even with their own kin. On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil They say the thirst of blood is like a madness - they must sate it. Even with their own kin. On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn't understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts. They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate...


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They say the thirst of blood is like a madness - they must sate it. Even with their own kin. On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil They say the thirst of blood is like a madness - they must sate it. Even with their own kin. On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn't understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts. They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate...

30 review for The Deathless Girls

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    3.5 stars. The Deathless Girls is part of a series from Bellatrix focussing on the girls forgotten to literature. Those female characters that have been sidelined in epic stories to allow others to shine, and have been lost in the background. But more than that, this is a story about female love and relationships. It’s full of sisterly love, a sapphic romance, the brutality of life and to top it all off - vampires. Kizzy and Lil are 17 year old traveller twins who are captured and sold into 3.5 stars. The Deathless Girls is part of a series from Bellatrix focussing on the girls forgotten to literature. Those female characters that have been sidelined in epic stories to allow others to shine, and have been lost in the background. But more than that, this is a story about female love and relationships. It’s full of sisterly love, a sapphic romance, the brutality of life and to top it all off - vampires. Kizzy and Lil are 17 year old traveller twins who are captured and sold into slavery. Kizzy is the beautiful twin, who soon attracts the attention of the local Lord. Full of fire and light, she refuses to succumb to her fate. Lil sees herself as the more dowdy twin. Always in her sister’s shadow. But when Kizzy catches the eye of the wrong man, it’s left to Lil to fight for her. It’s Kizzy and Lil’s relationship that pulls the story along, and holds everything together. Their love feels genuine, all consuming and entirely reliant upon the other. Kizzy isn’t whole without Lil, despite their obvious differences. All the other characters pale into insignificance compared to them, including the various love interests- which both feel rather sudden and slightly underdeveloped. That said, the sapphic relationship is sweet and delicately portrayed. The villains are also very one dimensional, although I came to deeply loathe them, without any ambiguity to them. The overall plot is good, and is well written and fast paced. This is a relatively short book, sitting at just over 300 pages, and the story is quick to read. Because of this however, the plot feels like it’s missing any real depth to it - as though we’re really jut skirting around the edges of what could have been a more epic adventure. I wanted more substance to really get to grips with the sister’s story. The ending is also rather rushed, with our main antagonist only really showing his face for the final act. A good story of female love, but I wanted (pardon the pun), more bite.

  2. 5 out of 5

    anna grace 🌈

    this sounds gay and dark and amazing and if it isn’t actually gay I will be very upset

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Gorgeous cover, but The Deathless Girls doesn’t deliver until it’s final pages.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    OK, here's the thing: I like traditional vampires. I like them dark and sinister, charming their way from meal to meal while being true and unapologetic monsters. Not the "vegetarian" variety full of existential angst and bullshit like that. Nevertheless, since I usually can't resist anything vampiristic, I thought a take on the brides could be interesting (plus: look at that cover!). We open with a quote from Catherynne Valente so we were off to a very good start indeed. What followed was the OK, here's the thing: I like traditional vampires. I like them dark and sinister, charming their way from meal to meal while being true and unapologetic monsters. Not the "vegetarian" variety full of existential angst and bullshit like that. Nevertheless, since I usually can't resist anything vampiristic, I thought a take on the brides could be interesting (plus: look at that cover!). We open with a quote from Catherynne Valente so we were off to a very good start indeed. What followed was the detailed account of sisters Lil and Kizzy, two gypsy girls growing up at the outskirts of Eastern European society until they are one day kidnapped and enslaved with no hope of rescue or justice. With no power at all, constantly being at the mercy of others and suffering their cruelties, they come to crave power of their own as well as revenge. And, in a way, we know they'll get just that. Because the Dragon they hear about in the kitchens isn't just a local legend - he's very real indeed and he'll make them (along with a third girl that we also meeet here) his brides. I really don't mind a look at people talked about in literary works that never got a whole lot of spotlight before. On the contrary, if I like a certain fictional world, I appreciate that greatly. However, I might be a little sick and tired of people (especially women) always wanting girls to be in the victim role. What if they weren't poor and powerless but spoilt daughters of rich noblemen who just wanted more power? Sure, that would have been a much shorter book but still. Moreover, since this is a tale directly involving THE vampire, I was hoping for / expecting to at least see more of his great influence. After all, we're not just talking about a rich and cruel man but a very persuasive supernatural predator. But I got disappointed there, too, mostly. There was almost no seduction , neither the sexual nor any other kind. It was ... too easy and too quick. After the detailed look at the girls' lives, I wanted an equally detailed look at the decision. You know, since that meant the end of one life and the beginning of another and was equally part of these girls' tales. However, the book's culmination was almost as brief as an afterthought. In fact, I checked if there weren't pages missing in my edition, that's how cut short it felt. Then I read the afterword and thus learned that this book was commissioned as part of a series to "give women more visibility". Hm. I'm not sure women need more visibility in literature, to be honest (and yes, I'm saying that as a woman). Certainly there are books with no or only few women in them and some are represented in a maddening way but there are SO MANY books where there is representation and a good one so I'm not sure what triggered this. It also ties back into what I said earlier about the victim-role for females ... not sure we want to always be seen as victims (I know I don't)? The writing style, equally, was good - and yet nothing excitingly special. The worldbuilding worked for me, just like the characters did come to life in a nice way. And yet, it felt as if the landscape stayed pale(r than the girls); maybe because it was meant to not steal their show so to speak?! And the other characters weren't always fully fleshed out but rather some elaborate background decoration (ironic, considering that that is what the author saw in the brides which is why she wrote this book in the first place since she didn't like it). Anyway, not a bad book at all and I enjoyed this look at a familiar tale from a different angle, but sadly not as thrilling and/or beautiful as I had hoped. 3.5 stars rounded down because I wanted more vampire fun and less victimhood.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    "They came to call us the three sisters - two dark, one fair - and worse. The beautiful damned, the brides of Dracul, the deathless girls." I didn't realise the requirement for a feminist retelling of a classic was to make it boring (I'd like to apologise in advance as it's about to get real frosty in here). A story focusing on the vampire brides of Dracula. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?! ... how about the fact that it was boring, boring; my brain has shut down and gone into hibernation mode; "They came to call us the three sisters - two dark, one fair - and worse. The beautiful damned, the brides of Dracul, the deathless girls." I didn't realise the requirement for a feminist retelling of a classic was to make it boring (I'd like to apologise in advance as it's about to get real frosty in here). A story focusing on the vampire brides of Dracula. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?! ... how about the fact that it was boring, boring; my brain has shut down and gone into hibernation mode; boring. The whole time I was reading I couldn't stop thinking about how bored I was. On one of my lunch breaks I got so bored with it I contemplated putting the book down and just going back to work early. Side note: I didn't actually do this, that would be ridiculous - I just played around on my phone instead #sorrynotsorry Bram Stoker's Dracula is a creepy gothic thriller and a must-read - taking the premise of his brides (who basically get a one line mention in the original tale) and telling readers their story should have been amazing. There's so much freedom to explore their backgrounds and what it was like for them becoming creatures of the night. Kiran Millwood Hargrave has a nice writing style and I suspect she prefers to focus on slow-burn narrative as opposed to action, which is fine for backstory but not so good for keeping readers engaged. But The Deathless Girls gets so caught up in said backstory that by the time the story moves past it it's all over, and those of us who came to see 'Brides of Dracula' are left feeling severely underwhelmed. Vampires aren't even mentioned until page 189 (the ARC I have is 274 pages long) - that's over 50% of the book done before we even get a glimpse of fangs! I mean COME ON. Don't promise me Dracula's brides and then give me nothing to do with Dracula for 70% of the book. The f/f romance was fine - it didn't feel shoe-horned in which was nice. I liked Mira; she was strong in that silent-but-smart kind of way. Lil our protagonist though, I found her to be completely (yep, you guessed it) boring. On the other hand we have Kizzy, Lil's twin. Kizzy is perfect. So perfect that even when she refuses to do something which could potentially endanger the life of someone she considers family, aaaaall the characters smile and nod their heads in agreement because perfect Kizzy is perfect, and beautiful, and strong, and she is always right (because she's perfect), so we mustn't go against perfect Kizzy's wishes and will just go and nearly get ourselves killed because poor Kizzy has morals that must be upheld no matter the cost. *takes deep breathes* This book wasn't for me. I don't really recommend it either (though the majority on goodreads seem to love it, so what do I know? *shrugs*). If you've come here for epic Brides of Dracula shenanigans then you've come to the wrong place. The Deathless Girls is as lifeless as all those bodies Dracula keeps impaled on his castle gates. --->To be released mid September, 2019. I received an ARC through work. <---

  6. 4 out of 5

    christina

    really enjoyed this one, and it was a quick read - perfect for a halloween book in october :) strong sister dynamic positive f/f relationship historical fiction about gypsies travellers dark dracula retelling twist ending really enjoyed this one, and it was a quick read - perfect for a halloween book in october :) ✅ strong sister dynamic ✅ positive f/f relationship ✅ historical fiction about gypsies travellers ✅ dark dracula retelling ✅ twist ending

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    That cover though...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    ‘A vampyre cannot love, only thirst. And that, above all else, is what truly damns us.’ This was an excellent re-imagining of the brides of Dracula, very evocative. 4.5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    julie

    2019/2020 are officially the vampires comeback and i'm loving the hell out of this

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aly (In Wonderland)

    I started this at 5pm and finished it at 02:45am. Needless to say, it's addicting, poetically written, dark and dangerous. If you're a fan of retellings, Dracula and the myths and legends surrounding him, then this book is for you. Full review to come!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lunabookaddict

    I loved it omg but THE ENDING SERIOUSLY? I HOPE WE GOT A SECOND BOOKS BECAUSE I’M CURRENTLY DYING. I'M IN SHOCK. WHERE IS THE MISSING PAGES? THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE What I love the most about this book : The atmosphere gothic and dark without being to hard or bloody. Love the mix with Dracula's bride story. I think I’m so in a mood for vampire. And the things that made me happy f/f made me melt like a marshmallow. I love my girls so badly and I want to protect them. Even if sometimes I felt that was I loved it omg but THE ENDING SERIOUSLY? I HOPE WE GOT A SECOND BOOKS BECAUSE I’M CURRENTLY DYING. I'M IN SHOCK. WHERE IS THE MISSING PAGES? THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE What I love the most about this book : The atmosphere gothic and dark without being to hard or bloody. Love the mix with Dracula's bride story. I think I’m so in a mood for vampire. And the things that made me happy f/f made me melt like a marshmallow. I love my girls so badly and I want to protect them.  Even if sometimes I felt that was to fast for me, gosh I loved it. DID I BECAME A TRASH??? YOU NEED TO READ THIS ONE: A F/F FANTASY GHOTIC SET UP. WHAT ARE U WAITING FOR? also where is the second book lol

  12. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    more of the immortal vampyre brides getting revenge on shitty men pls and thank you Blog • Twitter • Instagram • The Book Depository

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Loves Books and tea

    I was really excited to read this especially as it is an origin story of the three vampire brides in Dracula - so I was pleased to receive a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It started off really well and I really began to care for the two sisters who were the main characters - however as I read more I became a little bit bored with the storyline and it was quite slow in terms of plot and action and not as scary as I was hoping. The villains were also one-dimensional I was really excited to read this especially as it is an origin story of the three vampire brides in Dracula - so I was pleased to receive a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It started off really well and I really began to care for the two sisters who were the main characters - however as I read more I became a little bit bored with the storyline and it was quite slow in terms of plot and action and not as scary as I was hoping. The villains were also one-dimensional caricatures and I could not take the book seriously because of this. The writing was good in parts but the plot and characterisation could have been much better in my opinion. It was however a quick and easy read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janet Brown

    The Deathless Girls is billed as the untold story of the Brides of Dracula, who feature briefly in Bram Stoker's book. Following twins Kizzy and Lil, Romani travellers, who on their 17th birthday are kidnapped and enslaved by the feared local lord, the Boyar Valcar. Taken to his castle and put into service, the girls face adversity together until, on the orders of the Boyar, Kizzy is taken as a gift for Dracul. Although beautifully and evocatively written, I found it puzzling that the focus was The Deathless Girls is billed as the untold story of the Brides of Dracula, who feature briefly in Bram Stoker's book. Following twins Kizzy and Lil, Romani travellers, who on their 17th birthday are kidnapped and enslaved by the feared local lord, the Boyar Valcar. Taken to his castle and put into service, the girls face adversity together until, on the orders of the Boyar, Kizzy is taken as a gift for Dracul. Although beautifully and evocatively written, I found it puzzling that the focus was on their back story (which, yes it's useful to have some back story but so much?). Given the opportunity of telling the story of a pair of vampire sisters endowned with incredible powers and talents, the choice to devote two pages to their life as vampires and the rest of the book to the minutia of kitchen work was unusual to say the least. While the last section, when Lil travels to Dracul's castle to find Kizzy, was pacy and tense, it barely made up for the first 60%. However, judging from other reviews I am very much in the minority here, so it's most likely a question of personal taste.

  15. 5 out of 5

    c, (½ of readsrainbow)

    Rep: Romani wlw mc, Romani characters CWs: murder, violence, implied sexual harrassment, attempted sexual assault • oh god can we talk how badly the author researched Romanian - using a plural form in place of a singular, using a singular form in place of a plural, MAKING UP a singular form for a word, getting the plural form of a word wrong, using a definite noun where an indefinite one is needed, deciding randomly to show that she knows how Romanian definite articles work only to go back to Rep: Romani wlw mc, Romani characters CWs: murder, violence, implied sexual harrassment, attempted sexual assault • oh god can we talk how badly the author researched Romanian - using a plural form in place of a singular, using a singular form in place of a plural, MAKING UP a singular form for a word, getting the plural form of a word wrong, using a definite noun where an indefinite one is needed, deciding randomly to show that she knows how Romanian definite articles work only to go back to using "the [noun]" three pages later - and not to mention the randomness of chucking a few Romanian nouns in when they are IN ROMANIA, they are SPEAKING ROMANIAN, and then ITALICISING THEM (also side note, there are definitely typefaces that can deal with ţ and ş and ă without making them seem like monster letters) • the translations are all ever so slightly off, like they're sort of in the right ballpark, but missing the nuances that the words have (listen, if you can, wordreference >>>>> google translate, and for romanian in particular, vocabular.ro is always useful) • the author's note seems to imply that KMH decided to write Romani characters because her family was from northern India & Romani people originated from there, so yeah. okay.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Hephzibah

    Major disappointment. Lacking plot, poor characterisation, flat and uninspiring "romance". I was led to believe this is a sapphic vampire book; it is not - vampires are only a part of the final ~10%, and barely at that, and while there is a F/F relationship, it is so blandly written with such one-dimensional characters that I wanted to throw the book across the room.

  17. 5 out of 5

    ˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗

    4.5/5 stars I am going through so many emotions right now, oh my god. this book is so beautiful and sad and quiet and soft. I don’t even know how to put into words how much I enjoyed it. this book is a look into kizzy & lil’s journey together through horrors, heartbreak, and love. it’s not for everyone at all. the plot really doesn’t pick up until 100 pages in and we don’t see actual vampires until 200. so this is not necessarily a vampire book but it is a beautiful historical fantasy with 4.5/5 stars I am going through so many emotions right now, oh my god. this book is so beautiful and sad and quiet and soft. I don’t even know how to put into words how much I enjoyed it. this book is a look into kizzy & lil’s journey together through horrors, heartbreak, and love. it’s not for everyone at all. the plot really doesn’t pick up until 100 pages in and we don’t see actual vampires until 200. so this is not necessarily a vampire book but it is a beautiful historical fantasy with themes of sisterhood and power. AND ITS SAPPHIC WHICH MADE MY HEART HAPPY AND SO SO SO SO SAD BY THE END. if you love an atmospheric read that isn’t too plot heavy but really has you invested in the characters than this is for you.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Can you hear the sound of crushing disappointment coming from me? I was looking so forward to this book as soon as I saw it on Goodreads. Dracula is one of my favorite books ever (seriously, I named my cat Mina). This is a book about the vampire brides of Dracula and I could already picture myself devouring this feminist and deliciously gothic retelling. This book should have been amazing, the story of the brides of Dracula should have been amazing. Well, it's not so much a retelling since Can you hear the sound of crushing disappointment coming from me? I was looking so forward to this book as soon as I saw it on Goodreads. Dracula is one of my favorite books ever (seriously, I named my cat Mina). This is a book about the vampire brides of Dracula and I could already picture myself devouring this feminist and deliciously gothic retelling. This book should have been amazing, the story of the brides of Dracula should have been amazing. Well, it's not so much a retelling since they're mentioned... once I think, in Dracula, which gives so many possibilities to write a creepy, gothic tale about them. This isn't even a bad book. I almost wanted to give it 3 stars, because I didn't find it bad, poorly written or anything else: just boring. Which is, in fact, maybe just as bad. How could I possibly be bored by the freakin story of Dracula's brides? How? Well, for one thing, vampires and Dracula aren't even mentioned for a long while (maybe halfway through the book) and Dracula himself makes one poor appearance I already forgot about. How's that even possible, I have no idea. Mira, Lilai and Kizzy are the three future brides of Dracula and they're boring (all right, maybe Mira is not boring, but at this point, not even the one I liked could save it). The f/f romance is not bad, just not very interesting. Its' there (kind of suddenly), it's nice, I just didn't care enough because it didn't really bring anything. It was just there when once again the opportunity was here to make it intense. This book is just a missed opportunity in itself, when it comes to the actual story (although there was some good things, just too little), when it comes to the atmosphere, when it comes to the characters. This take on the story of Dracula's brides could (should) have had a creepy and gothic atmosphere with interesting female characters and it just didn't deliver that at all. If you're looking for this, this book isn't the one. I'm the first one to be truly disappointed to tell you this. Maybe I would have rounded up my rating to 3 stars if I didn't have such high expectations, but you can't promise me brides of Dracula and then have me bored for 80% of the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I don’t really know what to think of this... it felt like a cross over of a few different stories for example: Girls of Paper and Fire and An Ember in the Ashes; that’s just the first thing that popped into my head but I’m pretty sure other books that deal with slavery and doing certain things, mainly picked up on it because of cook... I genuinely really wanted to enjoy this, but for me personally everything felt slightly flat, I couldn’t tell you a lot about the characters, the romance really I don’t really know what to think of this... it felt like a cross over of a few different stories for example: Girls of Paper and Fire and An Ember in the Ashes; that’s just the first thing that popped into my head but I’m pretty sure other books that deal with slavery and doing certain things, mainly picked up on it because of cook... I genuinely really wanted to enjoy this, but for me personally everything felt slightly flat, I couldn’t tell you a lot about the characters, the romance really annoyed me. With that is that there was no build up to it, I genuinely can’t even put together a time that the two characters I’m in about actually spoke, it was just passing looks and then there’s talk of love and I’d had enough by this point. Then there’s the whole situation with “The Dragon” I just don’t think we knew enough about them for me to actually be invested. Overall I was drawn in by the pretty cover, I stayed because I wanted to find out what happened to Kizzy but if this is a series I sadly doubt I’ll be continuing on with this. I really don’t like writing negative reviews, and I just wish I’d of enjoyed this more!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    I don't really know what to think. It's completely different to how I expected from reading blurbs. The ending was strange and completely unexpected.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    note to self: just because this has a quote from one of your favourite books as an epigraph does not mean it will be similarly incredible. I didn't mind The Deathless Girls. I confess I had hoped for a bit more from it, but it was good enough. The pacing was tight, so I read most of it within a few hours, but I also found it lacked a certain depth which would've made it truly good. It just needed to be a bit . . . longer maybe? I was surprised when the heroine only headed to Dracul's castle in note to self: just because this has a quote from one of your favourite books as an epigraph does not mean it will be similarly incredible. I didn't mind The Deathless Girls. I confess I had hoped for a bit more from it, but it was good enough. The pacing was tight, so I read most of it within a few hours, but I also found it lacked a certain depth which would've made it truly good. It just needed to be a bit . . . longer maybe? I was surprised when the heroine only headed to Dracul's castle in the final one hundred pages, when I expected her to arrive there much sooner and had the preconceived belief that a majority of the story was going to be placed there. However, a positive: I was a big fan of Lil and Mira. Their romance was sweet, although the ending did surprise me - there are three brides of Dracula, but Mira did not end up as the third. Before I read the book (and for a majority of the book), I believed she would be. Basically, I had a lot of preconceptions about what this book would be about and not a lot of them turned out to be true/different to what I expected, lol. This is my first Kiran Millwood Hargrave book though, and I will be continuing on with her work - she's pretty big in the UK and I'm glad I've finally read something of her work. TL;DR: The Deathless Girls gives an intriguing backstory to the brides of Dracula. A brief read, it works well enough but might've worked even better with just a few more chapters added at the end to make a slightly more developed ending. > 3.8 stars

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Smith

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. ‘Men never stopped sinning, and we never stopped feeding. But we kept to the shadows. They didn’t exactly forget about Dracul, but truth became rumour, rumour became fable, and so he passed into a legend. We joined him, eventually. They came to call us the three sisters - two dark, one fair - and worse. The beautiful damned, the brides of Dracul, the deathless girls.’ What a wonderful tale. ‘The Deathless Girls’ is an intriguing reimagining of Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ told through the female ‘Men never stopped sinning, and we never stopped feeding. But we kept to the shadows. They didn’t exactly forget about Dracul, but truth became rumour, rumour became fable, and so he passed into a legend. We joined him, eventually. They came to call us the three sisters - two dark, one fair - and worse. The beautiful damned, the brides of Dracul, the deathless girls.’ What a wonderful tale. ‘The Deathless Girls’ is an intriguing reimagining of Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ told through the female perspective of the two Traveller twin sisters. Hargrave uses the original nineteenth century tropes of the original - female sexuality, race and class and has beautifully reworked it into an inspired piece of modern gothic literature. Five well deserved stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  23. 5 out of 5

    Beatrice in Bookland

    "A vampyre cannot love, only thirst. And that, above all else, is what truly damns us." This is quite possibly one of the most boring books I've ever read. It takes ages for the plot to move and when it does it gets nowhere particularly interesting. The book's 300 pages long. The first 200 pages have the protagonist thinking about how beautiful, amazing, intelligent, spectacular, out of this world her identical twin is, whilst our protagonist's average and not worth notice, of course. The following "A vampyre cannot love, only thirst. And that, above all else, is what truly damns us." This is quite possibly one of the most boring books I've ever read. It takes ages for the plot to move and when it does it gets nowhere particularly interesting. The book's 300 pages long. The first 200 pages have the protagonist thinking about how beautiful, amazing, intelligent, spectacular, out of this world her identical twin is, whilst our protagonist's average and not worth notice, of course. The following 80 pages have a relationship based on glances, more or less 7-8 exchanged words, and a whole fucking lot of blushing, so basically based on absolutely nothing. Spare me please. The last 20 pages are the only interesting part of the book and guess what? These are the pages where we actually meet Dracula and the brides. But wasn't the entire book supposed to be about Dracula and the fucking brides?????? Holy fuck this was so bad

  24. 5 out of 5

    Valentine

    "I never knew again what it was to feel my heart quicken in my chest, my blood flood my body at the touch of another. A vampyre cannot love, only thirst. And that, above all else, is what truly damn us." Well, this is a hard review to write. This isn't a bad book at all, on the contrary - and I think you can definitely see that with the 4 stars I gave it. It had a very good premise: Dracula's story is truly one that will never cease to fascinate me, and I was thrilled to see a new adaptation. "I never knew again what it was to feel my heart quicken in my chest, my blood flood my body at the touch of another. A vampyre cannot love, only thirst. And that, above all else, is what truly damn us." Well, this is a hard review to write. This isn't a bad book at all, on the contrary - and I think you can definitely see that with the 4 stars I gave it. It had a very good premise: Dracula's story is truly one that will never cease to fascinate me, and I was thrilled to see a new adaptation. The writing was very beautiful, easy to read but also poetic and emotional. I really loved the characters because, though there were quite a few of them, I didn't lose interest in trying to remember them. Both Lil and Kizzy were really good protagonists and I enjoyed following the story from their point of view. Mira is also a lovely character, I really loved her. The main romance is a queer one, and that truly took me aback - I hadn't seen the book was shelved under LGBT (or even saw it was literally hinted in the summary in the book jacket, I blame it on my usual dumbass self), and it was honestly a really good surprise. It was nice and soft, a well-written addition. Buuuut......this book was also a little disappointment, to my greatest sorrow. Thing is, the summary leads you to believe the story is going to be centered around Lil and Kizzie, and their eventual encounter with Count Dracula. So, naturally, you expect the whole plot to revolve around it, and you begin the book thinking vampires are going to be a big part of the story. That's not the case. It's a lovely book, centered on family bonds and sacrifice, on the condition of women and traveling people at the time, but it's not a book about vampires, not really. Most of the plot (like three quarters of it) is about the life of the sisters in their new home, how they adjust to it, meet new people and just endure everyday servitude. Vampires and Dracula are a very small part of the book that only come near the end: you basically only get a few glimpses of them. Sure, they are well-written, both fascinating and terrifying, especially Dracula - but it wasn't enough to me. I had expected a story about two girls surviving and meeting vampires, but they were such a tiny detail in the novel that I started to believe I had read the summary wrong - and that it would remain realistic until the end. There were not even any fantasy elements until the second half of the book, and most of the story felt very mundane in general. I was ready to give this book 3 stars until the ending, which completely changed my opinion of it. Truly, this was one of the most heartbreaking, epic endings I've ever read. I was very emotional reading it, and I still got teary-eyed when I thought about it afterwards. I really wasn't expecting it AT ALL, and I thought it fitted well with the rest of the story. It was dark and poetic, tragic in an almost Gothic way. Really, it was powerful enough to make me go from being disappointed with the book to have a genuinely positive opinion on it. So yes, I think anyone who wants to read this book should think of it this way: it's a beautifully dark story about two sisters taken as slaves, and the plot is centered around their lives and the condition of women in general, until there is a fantasy twist at the end. I think that, put this way, you probably wouldn't have the same expectations, and so not be as disappointed when you realize the fantasy elements are really in the background, compared to the rest of the more "realistic" plot. But again, this was a good, emotional read and I'm not mad of it, just puzzled by the phrasing of the summary. Also, let's be honest, this is a gorgeous book. The cover is to die for, and you can't even imagine how beautiful the bare book is under the jacket. 10/10 would buy it only because it's so damn pretty.

  25. 5 out of 5

    MariaWitBook

    Nope! Maybe because I’m Romanian, this book didn’t work for me. Sorry. Nevertheless beautiful looking book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aoife

    CW: Threats of sexual assault, some animal cruelty/death. I received this book form the author/publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. What.a.letdown. It's October, it' spookytime, what's better than picking up a beautiful book about the brides of Dracula - especially when Dracula is one of your favourite classics?! Yet, this book was honestly a little bit boring considering it had elements which should have been fun and exciting, and I'm going to say it - it wasn't scary at all. CW: Threats of sexual assault, some animal cruelty/death. I received this book form the author/publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. What.a.letdown. It's October, it' spookytime, what's better than picking up a beautiful book about the brides of Dracula - especially when Dracula is one of your favourite classics?! Yet, this book was honestly a little bit boring considering it had elements which should have been fun and exciting, and I'm going to say it - it wasn't scary at all. Not in the sense I wanted it to be anyways. I was very excited to go into this and see Kiran Millwood Hargrave's take on the brides of Dracula because I think done right, that's a topic that could be truly epic. I did appreciate the ethnic Romani lore in this novel and the fact that Kizzy and Lilai were of a Romani family and culture. Knowing about their background, their beliefs and culture, was really interesting - from their divining day to the talents they wanted to turn into careers. I definitely cringed a bit due to the parts about bear dancing, and stealing bear cubs away from their mothers but the bears were loved and seemed to have a good life so there's that at least. The book did pack some heartwrenching moments too (or tbh, just one when the caravans were burning and family slaughtered), and some of the descriptions were very nice though maybe not 100% my preferred style. One of my main problems with this book is it's suppose to be tied in with the story of Dracula, yet he doesn't get really mentioned until halfway through and he doesn't even appear until almost 80% into the story and that's only for ONE, measly, underwhelming scene. If you're giving me a story about the BRIDES OF DRACULA, I ALSO WANT DRACULA. The strigoi as well only appear again 70% or so into the book. The majority of the book took place in the castle the girls were captured in before they made their way to Dracula, which was fine but it was all just so drawn out and became a bit boring. This book was too short (less than 300 pages) for such a slowly drawn-out story. The scariest parts in this book weren't the strigoi or vampires but the mild threats of sexual assault aimed at the serving girls from the soldiers and the one attempted rape. While I appreciate the true fear in those scenes that are not just fantastical in nature but an everyday horror, I wanted actual supernatural horror and gore and I didn't get any of that. I appreciated the attempt at an f/f romance as well. I liked Mira but I felt the relationship kind of appeared out of nowhere in a way and all of a sudden they were in love. I would have wanted more scenes between the girls before they undertook their journey and things became super intense for them. The end of this book was a massive let down. The epilogue style of 'then we did this and this and this' is just SO lazy. We didn't learn anything about the brides of Dracula - we learned about three girls who through terrible means ended up at his castle. That's it. The story ended when they became the 'brides'. Pfft.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bitchin' Reads

    My heart sings for this book. Love, love, love. Gothic literature always hits me in all the right places.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danni Jervis

    The origin story to 2 of Dracula's brides, a wonderfully dark, novel that successfully achieves a gothic atmosphere without being cringe-worthy. I loved the scope of different relationships explored between the characters, it added so many layers to the plot and really fleshed it out. Finally a lesbian YA too, which is refreshing in a heavily dominated market of male homosexual relationships to have this representation. A perfect femisinist, alternative YA novel that puts a new perspective to The origin story to 2 of Dracula's brides, a wonderfully dark, novel that successfully achieves a gothic atmosphere without being cringe-worthy. I loved the scope of different relationships explored between the characters, it added so many layers to the plot and really fleshed it out. Finally a lesbian YA too, which is refreshing in a heavily dominated market of male homosexual relationships to have this representation. A perfect femisinist, alternative YA novel that puts a new perspective to such a well known classic!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    The language is gorgeous, the imagery is frightening, and the tone is gothic; I liked this story. It fleshes out the “brides” of Dracula, giving them a complicated origin and relationship, while keeping Dracula in the background. The sisters’ path to monsterhood, and the sadness of their choices, particularly Lil’s, was worth the read. And yeah, that book cover!

  30. 5 out of 5

    ThatBookGal

    Sometimes, it really helps to have not read a blurb properly, because I thought this was a story of slave girls earning their freedom, and then suddenly there were vampires, and I had absolutely no idea that was coming! The plot is relatively fast paced, and a lot happens in the short pages. Heartbreaking and shocking at times, there is plenty of horror positioned alongside some beautiful relationships. Kizzy and Lil's is the strongest, their love for each other was truly special to read. Mira Sometimes, it really helps to have not read a blurb properly, because I thought this was a story of slave girls earning their freedom, and then suddenly there were vampires, and I had absolutely no idea that was coming! The plot is relatively fast paced, and a lot happens in the short pages. Heartbreaking and shocking at times, there is plenty of horror positioned alongside some beautiful relationships. Kizzy and Lil's is the strongest, their love for each other was truly special to read. Mira added a little romance, and I most enjoyed the parts that she featured in. For me the most wonderful part of the book was the writing. The author uses words to paint such a beautiful picture of the world that the twins reside in, I felt like I was in the forest at times, or in the depths of a dank castle. I loved the fact that Kizzy and Lil were travellers, allowing for an exploration of a rich culture. I thought the world was creative, diverse, with a sprinkling of magic. The book was exciting right up to the very last page, with the introduction of the vampires towards the end. It was a great read, and I'll definitely be recommending it to anyone looking for something a bit different with a little bite.

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