The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

⇒Featuring vampires, sisterhood and lesbian romance

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Oh. My. God. I don’t know where to start with this book. Wow. Just wow. This book was everything I ever asked for and more. I saw “feminist retelling of Dracula” and I got a beautifully gothic retelling of the Brides of Dracula, pushed to the sidelines of history, featuring two sisters whose bond was everything, and a queer main character who falls in love with a beautiful girl. I got a tragic ending, I got a romance, I got adventure, I got vampires, I got feminism, I got queer. And I adored every single word I read.

Of course, I made the mistake of reading this book in July and leaving the review ’til last minute, but The Deathless Girls feels imprinted in my mind. Kiran’s writing is absolutely mesmerising, I could barely tear my eyes away. She tells the story of Lil, a traveller girl and one of a half, and her twin Kizzy when they’re kidnapped from their traveller settling and sold as servants to the local lord.

This book is gorgeously gothic and dark without being too bloody or horror-like. It was so atmospheric and I swear the aesthetic of this book is enough to read it alone – have you SEEN that cover? Yeah? The inside is prettier. It’s also rich with Romanian culture and language which makes it even more luscious.

“They came to call us the three sisters – two dark, one fair – and worse. The beautiful damned, the brides of Dracul, the deathless girls.”

This book is, of course, feminist, so not only does it empower the women pushed to the edges of history, it includes themes of sexual assault and objectification. Not only this, but it also tackles racism and discrimination – Lil and Kizzy are traveller girls, whom the townspeople look upon with scorn and whispers of “Gypsies” and “Witches”, so it’s impactful in that way too. The queer romance in this story was so important to me too. I didn’t know it was going to be f/f until Lil stared for far too long at a beautiful girl and I knew I’d found my new OTP, but it meant so much to me that even though the romance didn’t take the centre stage, these two girls could still be in love. Also, not to brag, but the author bi-fived me, so can I reach a higher place in life.

One thing I adore about retellings is that, sometimes, you know they’re going to end badly. This happened here, and even though I knew how it happened I kept thinking of all the ways just *maybe* everything could be okay. This made The Deathless Girls even more painful, but also made me enjoy it even more – it’s so unique in it’s perfection.

My official pitch for The Deathless Girls is “Bram Stoker’s Dracula meets Girls of Paper and Fire.” and if you’ve ever listened to a recommendation I’ve given, let it be this one. Trust me, you want this beautiful treasure of a book in your life. There’s so much more I want to say about this book, but I don’t have a way to transfer my heart to paper (computer) yet, so you’ll just have to believe on this one.

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