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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Carole Gill has put her own spin on the infamous serial killer Countess Erzsébet Báthory in I, Bathory, Queen of Blood by tapping into stories about the countess's vampire-like inclinations. I’m sure most readers know the popular tale where she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her beauty. Known as the most prolific female killer from the Báthory family of nobility of Hungary, she was accused of torturing and killing hundreds of young women between the late 16th and early 17th century.
Told from a first person point of view, Erzsebet is a vampire in present day New York. Her lover, Anton, is in a coma due to Erzsebet’s monstrous rage that caused the death of their favorite human performer in their blood club. When Anton awakes with amnesia, the doctor advises her to give him the journal that she wrote, hoping that it would remind him of who she was and the life they had spent together. And so the story returns to Erzsebet’s early life, when she was still human and the beginning of her vampiric existence.
I, Bathory, Queen of Blood might not be for all readers. Personally, I found some parts of the story were hard to read. My general knowledge about the notorious Blood Countess beforehand did help me to at least prepare to read about her sadistic and heinous acts, although with a bit of a struggle. That said, Erzsebet in this story is still able to have regrets and guilt about her uncontrollable monstrous nature, and that made her somewhat bearable. On the whole, it’s a solid gothic horror from Gill.