My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 320
Publisher - Bantam books
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
WANTED - Bloodmaid of exceptional taste. Must have a keen proclivity for life's finer pleasures. Girls of weak will need not apply.
A young woman is drawn into the upper echelons of a society where blood is power, in this dark and enthralling gothic novel from the author of The Year of the Witching.
Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation is all she knows. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a peculiar listing in the newspaper, seeking a bloodmaid.
Though she knows little about the far north--where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service--Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself the newest bloodmaid at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery--and at the center of it all is her.
Countess Lisavet, who presides over this hedonistic court, is loved and feared in equal measure. She takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, and Marion is eager to please her new mistress. But when her fellow bloodmaids begin to go missing in the night, Marion is thrust into a vicious game of cat and mouse. She'll need to learn the rules of her new home--and fast--or its halls will soon become her grave.
Meet Marion, working for a pittance, scrubbing floors, keeping her addict brother and herself barely making ends meet. When she sees and and advert for a "bloodmaid". The money and conditions is beyond any luxury Marion could dream of but the shame and stigma of such an "occupation". Marion goes for it and is thrust into a world of temptation, debauchery, competitiveness and the letting of blood of course. There is so much to learn, so many dangers and things Marion could not even guess at.
Well this was my first time reading Henderson and I have to say she does write really well and draws you into the atmospheric creepy world inhabited by the rich. Countess Lisavet is rich, beautiful, admired, feared, loved, has her loyal followers and also those who will use and exploit who and what they can.
I felt echos of Caligula/hints of historical figures, the Countess is in need of the maids because of her health issues and we see sparks as we meet the maids and as Marion finds her feet. Gothic, horror veins, spooky, creepy and absolutely not for the easily offended. When a bloodmaid goes missing Marion can't help but poke about, she is smart, inquisitive and we fall down a dark and dangerous rabbit hole with Marion as she questions/explores.
I think this was a good start/introduction to this author, I will check out her other works, 3.5/5 for me this time.