[Click the cover below to check it out! If you don’t see a book cover below it’s probably ad-blocker settings]
[So the ‘library’ cover on this is actually not nearly as cool as the basic hardbound book under it. It’s a dried-blood brown with bleeding lettering on the spine.]
“Born under the omen of a falling star, Erzebet Bizecka is a child of prophecy. The only heir of a powerful Hungarian count, she was predicted to die young or to live forever. Determined to survive despite the grim prophecy, Erzebet becomes obsessed with preserving her youth and beauty. Not even her closest friend, Marianna, can understand her crippling fear of growing older. Only the beautiful stranger, Sinestra, understands Erzebet’s mania. He assures her that there are ways to determine her own destiny, pulling her into a dark world of blood rituals and promising eternal youth in return. Luring her victims to her tower room, Erzebet is determined to thwart God’s plan for her life and create her own. How far will she be willing to go to protect herself?”
[So right up front, if you aren’t familiar, this is a fictional telling of my favorite serial killer [yes, I have a favorite], Elizabeth Bathory. [AKA Elizabeth Badassery] If you aren’t familiar with who she is, go educate yourself; here]
So first I wanted to note: The bottoms of the pages and the base of the book are strained red, like the book was left to sit in a puddle of blood and started to soak in the pages. And random blood splatters for paragraph/chapter separation. Pretty badass:
OKAY ONTO THE REVIEW.
Now of course because this is a fictional story about Elizabeth Bathory, a lot of the facts [that historians at least consider facts] aren’t straight. One of the themes in the book is that Elizabeth refuses to have anything to do with betrothal, and baring children, when in real life, she was betrothed when she was a mere ten years old and had more than one child. There’s a whole slew of fact [with some sprinkles of legend] vs fiction in this book versus the real life story, but as someone who has obsessively researched into Bathory, I genuinely enjoyed this vision of her. [My name is Sabrina, and I approve this Message]
Starting off, I’m still kinda surprised that this book is considered YA. Not just because it’s a rather sturdy book of nearly 400 pages [and average sized font, regular spacing, etc], but there’s a lot going on in the book that I’m not used to seeing in YA. But it was kinda nice, I guess? So as your trigger warning of sorts, this book has everything to do with all kinds of blood. Wound blood, animal blood, death blood, period blood, birthing blood, bleeding to death. Most stuff you can think of about blood, it’s probably in here. That, as well as insanity, rape, dying during childbirth, spousal abuse, sex, religion [and how fucked up/strict it can be] etc etc etc.
The book is pretty good about not holding itself back, Including the mistreatment/misogyny during the 15-1600’s.
Starting off, the story centers around a young ‘Erzebet Bizecka’ [Elizabeth Bathory] who as the description says, was born under a bad omen. She was also born of her repeatedly abused mother who very early on is driven to madness by her said abusive husband, who no longer thinks anything of his wife’s beauty because she has not birthed him a son, a ‘useful’ child that can also be his heir. Because of her mother’s obsession with mirrors, that spurs Erzebet’s vanity and self-obsession from a very young age. It’s this obsession that starts to turn on her, making her irrationally delusional about keeping her youthful appearance and being highly aware of her own mortality. This is only further agitated when she finds the prophesy made about her because the night she was born, there was a meteor shower/falling stars.
She soon meets Sinestra [Not to be confused with Sinestro from the Green Lantern universe, btw. Totally my first thought] who has been watching her all her life. He comes and promises her immortality, if she can realize her own power. Despite her naivety, it’s pretty apparent he’s a demon of sort, if not the Devil himself. She also meets her one and only friend besides Sinestra [who was the only other young girl she had ever met] Marianna.
As the story goes on, it becomes apparent that it’s supposed to be an explanation of how Erzebet became known as the ‘Blood Countess’ and was an infamous serial killer of young girls, particularly virgin maidens, and made beauty treatments, including baths, of their blood in order to keep her beautiful and youthful visage. All of this is originally stemmed from the many excerpts of Leviticus and how blood and flesh is life, and also very holy. As she gets older and potentially closer to death, she is egged on by Sinestra about how using blood in vanity treatments will only get her closer to being an immortal, and never having to worry about Death or becoming ugly. Through all this, Erzebet is constantly faced with internal conflict as her friend Marianna is the face of what is truly good and holy.
Erzebet goes through a lot of loss in the book, pushing along her obsession and failing sanity. The book is rather beautifully written, and I read it in just a few days because I had a hard time putting it down. It always had a good [blood]flow, and I was always curious as to what was going to happen to the characters, and how/when the historical facts were going to come in.
One of my favorite things about the book is that the author was able to convincingly write Erzebet as a sympathetic figure. [Especially if you know of the actual legend which may actually have all been made up for political BS against her]
Despite that she was doing horrible acts and murder, even to her loved ones, her mindset is always given and you almost always feel bad for her – even as she has girl’s bodies suspended upside down up above her bath like gutted animals so that their blood could pour down upon her. [An upgrade to ‘Pulling a Carrie.’]
Overall, there really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about the book and was happy to add it to my permanent collection.
I give The Blood Confession 5/5 Baths of Blood.
“I suppose any life is an eternity if you live it completely alone.”