Book Reviews

Review: A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

To be honest, before I received my copy of A Dowry of Blood I only knew it would be a Dracula retelling and it was very hyped. All I saw on the internet was excitement but without trending either as just positive or negative. Just hype! So I really had no idea what to think going into it and so if you’re interested, keep reading this book review.


Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.

With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Tw: self harm, alcohol use, depression

I enjoyed A Dowry in the Blood, but not for the reasons I thought I would. So I first heard that it was going to be a reimagining of Dracula. While I have studied it in the past, Gibson certainly takes some liberties. That’s why I think the label of reimagining is very apt. It’s not a retelling in the sense you might expect if you’re a fan of the classic. I did enjoy this aspect of the reimagining because it gives Dracula’s brides a voice and stories. At the same time, it allows us to see a different side of Dracula which doesn’t shy away from the blood and the manipulation, the love and the fear.

The diary journal type entries not only seem like a letter to Dracula – which is a nice twist and homage to the original – but also grounds us in her image and perception of Dracula. Starting off as a story about revenge and love, A Dowry of Blood asks us if power and specifically immortality changes us. With vampire stories, I always find that exploration to the most fascinating to me, but I feel like I was lacking a bit of internal introspection about this specific element. Some other aspects I loved was the queerness and the ways in which A Dowry of Blood is grounded in Constanta’s story.


What she will decide about her own future. If she will recognize her own worth and the toxic nature of their relationship. One aspect I especially loved was the ways in which Constanta needs to recognize that loving someone you can change and mold to fit your desires isn’t love. Additionally, I enjoyed how Gibson briefly explores this idea that you can live forever and never truly live. But in general, some of the elements that really fascinated me, felt a bit shallow.

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I wanted to delve a bit more into these themes and ramifications of immortality. If you’re searching for a queer reimagining of Dracula and want a story that explores toxic relationships and the idea of equality in love, this may be for you! As part of the Dracula body of literature, I do think this adds an interesting take on their lives. Find A Dowry of Blood on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite reimagining?

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