The Deathless Girls

The Deathless Girls is an intoxicatingly compelling, dark gothic read; written with such exquisite mastery that I couldn’t bear to put it down. 

Seventeen-year-old twins, Lil and Kizzy, are Travellers, a people who are treated with disrespect and disdain, by many of the Settled who are prejudiced towards their way of life.  On the eve of their divining, when they would have found out their future, their family is ripped from them by the careless cruelty of the local Boyar (ruler). 

Although they are enslaved by their captors, they are still determined to be the diviners of their own fate, and fight against their new life.  The girls are sent to work in the castle kitchens, in preparation to become serving girls at the whim of their male master, a master who ‘ … looked, like the worst monsters often do, like a normal man.’

Enduring terrible hardships, they also build bonds with the other kitchen girls, and the Cook, who has her own secret past.  Lil, who has known only familial love, feels drawn to Mira, a Settler slave:  their burgeoning relationship is beautifully portrayed. 

Whilst in the castle, the sisters discover more about the seemingly mythical creature, the Dragon, a creature who strikes abject terror into the population.   The girls’ fates are inextricably linked to each other, and to this cruelly mesmerising creature, a fate which takes them on a final terrible journey.

Throughout, the girls’ emotional states shift between blazing firebrands and smouldering embers, and this dichotomy kept me emotionally invested throughout.  Unwavering fierce sibling love, tempered with disappointment and anger, is a powerful driving force in their story.  It is this endlessly enduring love which leads to heart-breaking sacrifices by both girls.  And their re-awakening as The Deathless Girls, two of the ‘Brides of Dracula’.

The atmosphere is imbued with a sense of fear and threat, building almost unbearable tension, which makes the courage, dignity and strength of the girls, and their friends, all the more excruciatingly awe-inspiring.    There is a real feministic tone throughout as the girls fight against a life they have not chosen to live, fight against the people who exert control over them, and fight to have power in a seemingly powerless situation. The inexorable fate of Lil and Kizzy is all the more tragic and poignant, knowing their story:  their pain, their love, their sacrifices. 

This really is an inspired imagining of the untold story of the ‘brides of Dracul’ by an inspiring author:  a story that will linger with me for a long time.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hachette Children’s Group for an e-ARC of The Deathless Girls.

12 thoughts on “The Deathless Girls

      1. I loved the way of winter and I now own her other published books- the Girl Of Ink and Stars was in a charity shop in Bicester unread in pristine condition and first of all I was like ‘What!! How could someone have donated this unread??’ Then I was like ‘MINE!!’
        The lyrical nature of her writing with the deep immersion in mythology is just wonderful for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I loved The Way Past Winter too – I read it to my class and they loved it – some children even bought their own copies. Kiran tweeted my class to explain ‘The Heart Tree’ – they were very excited to hear from a real author! I wasn’t lucky enough to get TGOIAS in a charity shop – bought it in Waterstones! Still on my TBR – so many fantastic new books are being released, I’m finding it hard to keep up – and I really want to read them all!

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      3. Gosh don’t I feel that too!!! I try to alternate something new something that’s been sitting for a while. I really enjoyed doing that in April reading books that I missed the first time round so have tried to keep it up now!

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      1. Thanks! Have you read her others? GOIAS is one of the books that got me back into reading MG and is a real favourite, and The Island at the End of Everything is spectacular, though you’ll need tissues!

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      2. I’ve got GOIAS in my TBR which is getting ridiculously large, especially as I’ve started buying fantasy/YA again. Going to try reading one MG, one fantasy. And now I’m going to be getting The Island at the End of Everything!

        Liked by 1 person

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