Published: 1st November 2010 by Pan Macmillan AU
Format: Paperback, 389 pages
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Pandora English is no ordinary small town orphan. When she's invited to live with her mysterious Great-Aunt Celia in New York City, she seizes the opportunity to escape her stifling hometown break from her tragic past and make it as a writer.
Things, however, are not what she is expecting. For starters, her great-aunt's gothic mansion is in a mist-wreathed Manhattan suburb that doesn't appear on maps. And then there's Celia herself - a former designer to the stars of Hollywood's Golden Age - who is elegant, unnaturally young and always wearing a veil.
Pandora lands a job at a fashion magazine and her first assignment is covering the A-list launch of the latest miracle cream, BloodofYouth. But something is not right about the product, nor Athanasia, the drop-dead beautiful face of the brand. It seems there may be a secret ingredient in BloodofYouth, a secret worth killing for...
The Blood Countess is a clever, intense and delightful read that blends the glamourous world of fashion with the shadowy paranormal would that lies within to ours. I can’t get over how much I loved this, and can’t wait to continue Pandora’s adventures in the next books.
The story sucks you right in with Pandora’s unique and vivacious narration, and very soon you’re immersed in her life. She’s a great character: spunky, nervous but brave, courageous and intelligent, all the things I love in my protagonists. I love that Moss didn’t feel the need to imbue Pandora with a closed off attitude, feelings of inferiority or clumsiness to make her accessible to readers, I think it will be easy for anyone to relate with her character because Moss focusses more on Pandora’s situation, a small town person now living in New York, rather than on traits to make her seem normal. She has her fatal flaw: insatiable curiosity, but it is tempered by her cleverness.
The world Tara Moss creates in this book is sumptuous and vivid, perfectly balancing the mystique and glamour of working in a fashion magazine with the peculiar and arcane happenings of the paranormal world. I love the glitz of the fashion runways, the travel in expensive cars, luxuriated in the expensive clothes vicariously through Pandora. Since I rarely read blurbs, I was surprised when it turned out Pandora started working at a fashion magazine and I had The Devil Wears Prada flashbacks, but I think it’s cleverly done and enjoyable. I also liked how Moss recreates the paranormal aspects, and how it’s emphasised how dangerous the creatures are, rather than romanticising them.
I really liked The Blood Countess, and believe anyone looking for a light, quirky paranormal read will enjoy it. It has something for everyone: romance, adventure, vampires, fashion, and is a great example of awesome, Australian writing. I’ve added the next two books, The Spider Goddess and The Skeleton Key, to my pile of holiday reading!