Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Blood Confession by Alisa M. Libby


Even though this was originally marketed as a YA title, I think this book will appeal to adults who enjoyed books such as A DOWRY OF BLOOD. It's written in the same lush, gothic style, and has a story driven by the development of the characters it contains rather than any real semblance of plot. Erzebet Bizecka is an imaginary stand-in for Elizabeth Bathory, although the author takes a lot of liberties with her character-- in this book, Erzebet doesn't marry or give birth and I believe, historically, Bathory did.

THE BLOOD CONFESSION is a slow tale of corruption and madness. Erzebet grows up neglected by both her parents: her mother is vain and mad, her father is a corrupt and indifferent philanderer. While roaming around the castle, Erzebet encounters strange and supernatural happenings, and witnesses an innate cruelty in the land and its people that warps her ideas of youth, womanhood, and spiritualism. When she inevitably starts attacking the peasant girls of Hungary, it feels almost inevitable.

As a gothic tale, I think this is a decent story. It certainly would have appealed to my 2000s-era goth girly aesthetics, when I spent most of my days camped out on Quizilla reading Anne Rice fanfics riddled with frilly lace shirts and pick-me girls. I'm actually surprised it hasn't seen a revival, since Erzebet's sapphic inclinations, the 16th century murder shenanigans, and all of that ornate writing, really fit the trend for what I've seen trickling out of BookTok. Plus, there's a hot supernatural dude named Sinestra who might or might not be in her imagination. The only reason I'm not giving it a higher rating is because it takes a while to get moving and then it takes a while to end.

P.S. She spends way too much time fantasizing about a statue she calls "Athenus," because she thinks it's a male version of Athena. When she's not lusting after the statue, she's pining over her straight best friend, and thinking of ways to DIY blood facials and blood cosmetics. The wtfery in this book is honestly worth a read alone. How did the author come up with this stuff? I LOVE HER.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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