Title: The Deathless Girls
Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Category: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Star
Gothic, intoxicating, feminist and romantic – this is the breathtakingly imagined untold story of the brides of Dracula, by bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave in her much-anticipated YA debut.
They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.
On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.
Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.
They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…
Simply stunning! Everything about this book draws you in and holds you captivated until the last page.
I’m what some people may call a vampire groupie, navigating towards books, films, and television shows about the undead in their various creations. When I read the blurb of The Deathless Girls, I was excited to see a storyline centred on Dracula’s brides. We all know them as part of Dracula’s story ‘two dark, one fair’, but we’ve never before heard their tale.
Told from one sister’s point of view, Lil guides us through the journey she and her twin, Kizzy take as Traveller’s crossing the land. They are free people, connected to the spirits and nature around them. Their lives are lived on their terms in peace and tranquillity, ‘take only what you need, and leave enough for the next.’ The Settled see them as sorcerers and turn away from them, shunning them, and avoiding their gaze. Everything changes for the sisters one fateful day when they are ripped away from the life they love.
The author knows how to write compelling characters. The sisters may look alike, but the author gifts them with powerful differences that drive the story forward. Lil is more reserved and watchful. She’s careful with her words and guarded with her thoughts. Kizzy is strong in every sense; she speaks her mind with a confidence that Lil longs to possess. Reading their interaction is like being part of a melody. The small touches that show the bond of being a twin are sprinkled throughout the book, building to become the final crescendo.
The Deathless Girls is a magnificent YA debut filled with untold horrors, heart-warming love and affection, family bonds, and plenty of terrifying action. I read it in one sitting as I was unable to put it down. If you don’t mind getting a book hangover (that disorientating moment when you close the book and have to return to reality!), then this is the book for you — a perfect choice for any reader, young or old.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning the incredible cover art. It’s my favourite book cover of the year!
Should Netflix ever come knocking then this is the type of story that would transfer perfectly to a movie or series. I can’t recommend it enough.
I purchased an exclusive signed edition hardback copy. Order yours HERE.
About the Author:
Kiran Millwood Hargrave (b. Surrey 1990) is a poet, playwright, and author. Her books include the bestselling The Girl of Ink & Stars, and The Island at the End of Everything. The Way Past Winter was published in October 2018.
Her YA debut, The Deathless Girls, an imagining of the origin story of the ‘brides’ of Dracula, is forthcoming from Orion in September 2019. Her first book for adults, The Mercies, was ‘unquestionably the book of the 2018 London Book Fair’ according to The Bookseller, and is forthcoming from Picador in 2020.
The Girl of Ink & Stars won Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017, and was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Jhalak Prize, the Little Rebels Prize, and the Branford Boase Award. The Island at the End of Everything was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Best Story Award, and for Costa Children’s Book of the Year. The Way Past Winter won the Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Year Award.
Kiran lives in Oxford with her husband, the artist Tom de Freston, and their rescue cat, Luna.