Saturday, March 18, 2023

Black Ambrosia by Elizabeth Engstrom


DNF @ 12%

I LOVE that all of these vintage horror novels are getting the reprints they deserve. Seriously. As someone in the vintage romance community, I really empathize with the horror aficionados trying to track down prized copies of cult classics. I despair of ever getting my hands on a copy of THE SILVER DEVIL, so I feel you. That's why I was so excited when I found out that Grady Hendrix's PAPERBACKS FROM HELL led to a publisher acquiring the rights to and then republishing some of the best of the best of previously out-of-print classics. Under a Paperbacks from Hell series via Valencourt! GENIUS. Someone please do this for romance.

At first I was kind of into BLACK AMBROSIA. It's narrated in first person, which I love, and the heroine is kind of a weird creepy Wednesday Addams type of girl, with a lot of unpleasantness in her life. But the pacing is very slow and kind of plodding. I think it's more character-driven than I typically like my horror novels to be and the take on vampirism is very unusual and strange and I wasn't sure I liked it. The author also does a mixed media style of format, through oral history, where the end of every chapter has an interview with one of the side characters about how they met the heroine. It's unusual and different, and I liked that, but after a while, it also wore thin.

I'd actually recommend this book to people who really enjoyed A DOWRY OF BLOOD, because I feel like they have similar styles. I wouldn't be surprised if the author of ADoB actually came across a copy of this book long ago and was inspired by it, because I feel like this book walked so other female-fronted vampire books could fly. It's well written but just not particularly interesting to me. I got bored.

2 out of 5 stars

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