The Deathless Girls is exquisitely written, as we have come to expect from Millwood Hargrave, but it is also riveting, intoxicating, and utterly unputdownable.
A wonderful idea, brilliantly told, about the girls who end up being Dracula's brides. I literally could not put it down; in fact, I resorted to stirring porridge with one hand while holding Kiran's novel in the other.
Kiran's book goes beyond just being a good old Transylvanian romp with Count Dracula and his brides. It is a multi-layered book about age- long divisions, whether expressed through Travellers and Settlers, wolves and bears, colour of skin, trust between friends, and even sisters. It is a story about loss and survival: the survival of love, loyalty, sisterhood, and hope. Kiran holds up a mirror into the world of Dracula, but in which we see our own world reflected back.
Hargrave is a deceptively modern writer who finally invests Dracula's beleaguered brides with some feminist clout
Darkly atmospheric, it addresses desire, sexual awakening, prejudice, loyalty and sisterly love
This beautifully written gothic story had me gripped from the very start. I have loved Stoker's Dracula for many years and this is the perfect, feminist, reimagining of the 'dark sisters'. The female characters are strong and multi-faceted and their story is intoxicating. Millwood Hargrave has certainly achieved 'Bellatrix's admirable aims and gifted these women a life beyond Dracula's lines'. I highly recommend you sink your teeth into this captivating tale of bravery, passion, love and loss; you won't be able to put it down.
The Deathless Girls tells the origin story for the 'Brides of Dracula' from a more feminist perspective. As always, Kiran Millwood Hargrave's writing is breathtaking. She writes the most sumptuous, beautifully-crafted children's books right now, so it's a thrill to see her move into YA. Her lyrical style contrasts wonderfully with the brutality now allowed to her with an older audience...Millwood Hargrave's tale sweeps way beyond the legend, taking on themes of difference, sisterhood and an LGBT romance
'A chilling and breathlessly paced thriller...Feminism, spirituality, legend and desire are beautifully interwoven in this mesmerising tale of independence and resistance.'
'a modern gothic classic, complete with vampires, myths, folklore and a beautifully written F/F romance...Merging myth with fantasy, The Deathless Girls is unique...The Deathless Girls is an immersive and richly imagined YA novel, beautifully brought to life by Kiran Millwood Hargrave's exquisitely poetic writing'
Award-winning children's writer Kiran Millwood Hargrave makes her young adult debut in The Deathless Girls (Orion). It's a prequel, of sorts, to Bram Stoker's Dracula, the untold backstory of his brides, depicted here as sisters who are stolen from their traveller community. This isn't a bloodthirsty horror book - indeed, Dracula himself makes only a cameo appearance - but a feminist origin story of sisterhood, fate and survival certain to bewitch teenage readers and beyond.
'Kiran Millwood Hargrave's lyrical novels have made her the darling of children's literary fiction. The Girl of Ink & Stars (2016), published when she was 26 and nominated for the Carnegie, is now a fixture on school reading lists. For her fourth novel, however, she leaves her primary school fans behind and plunges into the realms of teenage vampire fiction. The Deathless Girls tells the story of Dracula's brides, who are mentioned in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel but never individually named, and their origins are left unexplained. In Stoker's version, they are seductive vampire "sisters" who reside with the Count in his castle in Transylvania, repulsed by sunlight, entrancing men with their beauty and charm. It takes a bold author to pick up where Stoker left off, but Hargrave confidently claims the narrative for her own. The "brides" in her story are Lil and Kizzy, twin sisters from a band of Transylvanian travellers, who are brutally kidnapped on the eve of their 17th birthday and enslaved in the castle of the cruel Boyar Valcar. Lil initially finds comfort in her mysterious affinity with Mira, her fellow kitchen maid; but when Kizzy disappears - sent as a gift to the Voivode, as feudal lord who demands blood sacrifices from each Boyar - she must set out on a perilous quest to save her. Hargrave is an entrancing writer, who gets full mileage out of her Gothic milieu. Castle yards are "red with slaughtered pigs"; and behind every mountain lurks a nightmarish villain: "They call him the Dragon, because he razes whole villages that disobey his command. He is an evil man, with a black heart. Some say he's worse than a man, has no heart at all." But this is no mere pastiche. Hargrave is a deceptively modern writer, who finally invests Dracula's beleaguered brides with some feminist clout.