ARC Review: A DOWRY OF BLOOD by S.T. Gibson (2021)

Genre: Horror Romance
Year Release: January 2021
Buy Links: NYX Publishing

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an ARC courtesy of the author
Content warning: emotional and domestic abuse, blood, violence, mental illness, gaslighting

If you’ve ever been interested in reading a story of Dracula told from the perspective of one of his brides, look no further. Told from Constanta’s POV, we experience her tumultuous relationship with the ubervamp and her relationship with her fellow spouses, spanning literal centuries. It’s romantic, but it also heart-wrenching with all the gothic delights one expects from a vampire story.

Author S.T. Gibson will also be my first author interview of the year so look out for that.

The epistolary second person really worked for me. The book reads a bit more of a confessional with bits of reflection woven in, a delight for anyone looking to read works which function similar to Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House. Except this is undeniably also a vampire story. There’s blood and violence, quandaries about what life is when you’re already dead. There is so much ground covered over not very many pages.

Something I’ve latched onto is Gibson’s use of names as a literary device. The book starts off with Constanta’s transition to vampirism, and we don’t get her name, but the name her husband gives her as a vampire. Not revealing it was such an interesting way to set the tone. It introduced a domestic horror that pales in comparison to the blood showers sprinkled throughout. We also never get the name of her beloved, which works so well to depersonalize the monster (though because of tropes and context, it’s pretty easy to tell who it is)

Riveting and emotional, an excellent entry into vampire canon.

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