* I received an ARC of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *
I’ve been interested in Princess Dracula for a very long time so when I saw Not Everything Dies by John Patrick Kennedy on NetGalley, I jumped on it. I was lucky enough that this second book in the series is about Ruxandra suffering from amnesia, so even if I was new to the series, I could still read it starting with the second one.
Ruxandra, an amnesiac vampire, is fighting for control against the Beast within. She finds herself locked up in Countess Elizabeth Bathory’s castle. Ruxandra needs to learn the ways of royalty and help Bathory, her odd mentor, keep her lands. But in the end, is the countess friend or foe? Romance, magic, and supernatural elements are all part of this intriguing tale.
I must say this book about vampires did not disappoint me! The cover is simply mesmerizing and well-chosen. It is eerie, gorgeous, and true to the story. The author uses a good vocabulary throughout the book, which makes it pleasant to read. The battles are rough and realistic, just like his depiction of fear. The author makes it all believable. He writes an interesting transition between the Beast to Ruxandra, then back. We can feel the Beast’s anger and its ache for food. The descriptions of settings and characters are precise. There is also a clear difference in characters – I like that! Realism (even though there are supernatural elements) plays an important role in this book. I particularly enjoyed that the novel was divided in short chapters because it made for a quick yet entertaining read. Plus, everything that can go wrong does! There was a lot of conflict, which made it even more enjoyable. I liked how the author describes trivial matters – it’s marvelous to discover such things as soap through Ruxandra’s eyes. It’s as though everything is magnified and impressive.
The friendship between Ruxandra and Elizabeth Bathory was sweet to read. Speaking of the countess Bathory, I thought this was an interesting take on her character. I’ve read a good deal about her as a teenager and seeing her being used in a vampire story makes perfect sense. The character is weird and sensual – a good move from the author, I must admit. This book is true to the vampires’ sensuality. It is also worthy of original, bloody (no pun intended!) vampires with a remnant of a human side. Their cruelty is faithful to folklore with the harsh reality of deaths and tortures. The author is quite respectful of their powers too. Plus, there must have been a good deal of research involved to get the eras and settings well done along with the characters (mostly the countess Bathory), but the author aced it in my opinion.
Everything is logically put into place like pieces of a puzzle. The author pulled it off brilliantly. Let’s talk about dialogue… it was (thank God!) believable. The characters said just enough things to leave us wondering, yet they gave us the necessary information at the right time. Moreover, the way Ruxandra recovers her memories, how she learns of things past, and the way she discovers her powers is interesting and well-written. Finally, the ending was awesome! It was quite thrilling and intriguing, as well as gory and dark. The very end surprised me and I usually figure out the plot twists well in advance!
As for the negative points, the description of the action and fights and the drinking of blood could be expanded. It is quite short compared to the other descriptions. Or when it’s long, it’s because the description is mostly of sexual nature. I understand vampires are usually sensual, but I want to know more about the fights and how it feels to drink blood to survive! In general, more detailed descriptions are needed. Also, they were loads of typos and words that should have been erased. I really hope the book will go through another round of thorough editing because this novel deserves to be read without confusion. Moreover, there are a few inconsistencies in the wording, like in the beginning when Bathory tells her people to use the pronouns ‘’she’’ for the Beast, yet in the next line the countess uses ‘’it’’ too. Lastly, one thing that bothered me was Ruxandra’s lack of motives and goals while the Beast does not. She doesn’t decide anything for the most part of the story… Events just happen to her.
This book (and I bet the series too) is perfect for fans of Anne Rice’s vampires and the Vampire Diaries series and for those who love the sensuality of vampires and their gory life. Even though one hasn’t read the first one, they can jump into Not Everything Dies without any problem for we learn little by little of Ruxandra’s backstory just as she does (of course, reading the first one once you’re hooked to the series is probably a good idea). I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5 because of how true to the vampire’s myths it was and how much of a captivating time I had reading it.
I will definitely read the rest of the series. In fact, I cannot wait for the third book to come out! I highly recommend Not Everything Dies by John Patrick Kennedy – if you love vampires and action, you’ll probably love it just like I do.
Tagged: author, bloody, Countess Bathory, Elizabeth Bathory, fantasy, fiction, gore, John Patrick Kennedy, Not Everything Dies, novel, Princess Dracula, Princess Dracula 2, Ruxandra, supernatural, vampire, vampires, writing