A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson is a new reimagining and retelling of the story of Dracula’s vampire brides. I received an early review copy from the published through NetGalley. The story follows Constanta, Dracula’s first bride, through her transformation, new brides Madalena and Alexi arriving, and the end of her relationship with Dracula himself. The story is told through a long letter Constanta is writing to Dracula though he is never named in the text. Constanta tells her story and the story of the other brides and how Dracula changed them.
Personally, I felt the letter format to weaken the story being told. There is often more telling of events then seeing the events unfold and the growth of the relationships feel very abrupt. There are several time jumps through out the story to save on length and the time the story encompasses but this caused me to feel like I didn’t know the characters enough and progresses the feelings of the characters faster then is realistic.
My biggest disappointment with the story came about two thirds through the book. At this point I believed that this was a Dracula retelling that didn’t have anything to due with the original Dracula story. Due to the fact that Dracula dies at the end of the novel Bram Stoker wrote and the time periods referenced this felt Dracula inspired but not Dracula. However, the Harkers are mentioned in a throw away line that I feel is the biggest missed opportunity of this book. After reading that line all I wanted was to have read Constanta’s story and point of view during the events that took place during Dracula. Even with this disappointment I loved how right the ending felt.
Ultimately, this is a story about toxic and codependent relationship told through vampires. I feel like this will be a very polarizing book where your either going to love it or hate it. I’m in the middle as Dracula is my favorite classic and I like the ideas just not the execution.