I know you do!
Valentine’s Day’s impending arrival put me in the mood for some great queer Gothic vampire fiction. But honestly, I can’t think of a time when queer Gothic vampire stories don’t sound like fun!
This last week I chewed through two Dracula retellings: The Route of Ice and Salt by José Luis Zárate, and A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson.
These are not romance stories in the least, but both focus on queer desire. Oh and how Dracula was a total douche canoe, but I think most of us knew that.
Zárate’s book was originally released in 1998, and re-released this year for the first time in English by Innsmouth Free Press. It’s a beautifully written, lyrical book about possibly the thirstiest ship’s captain ever, as he transports crates of cargo from Romania to England. Something (someone?) is killing his crew, one at a time. Through this dark and rather erotic tale, we find that it’s not being queer or having queer desires that make us monsters, which was revolutionary in 1998, and still relevant today.
A Dowry of Blood follows Constata, Dracula’s first bride, through her tumultuous and abusive relationship with the famed vampire, and the spouses he collects alongside her. He’s never actually named, but we all know. There’s even a good Harker reference! It’s an exploration of love and strength in the face of abuse, and the main story focuses on the poly relationship. Also, everyone is bi. Double win!
Highly recommend both books, especially if you are looking to diversify your shelves.
Do you have a favorite Dracula story?