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Fairest Flesh

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  16 reviews
In 16th century Hungary, Countess Erszébet Báthory commits acts of legendary bloodshed, but she is not working alone, and the reality is worse than anyone dare imagine. Part fairytale, part historical novel, and steeped in an atmosphere of horrific dread, Fairest Flesh is the debut novel from author K.P. Kulski. Lady Báthory by way of Brothers Grimm, a notorious monster is ...more
Paperback, 227 pages
Published November 28th 2020 by Strangehouse Books
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  42 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Sara Tantlinger
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A stunning debut! In K.P. Kulski’s Fairest Flesh, historical horror and blood-soaked fairy tales coalesce to form a world entirely its own. If you think you know the story of Countess Elizabeth Báthory, wait until you see what Kulski has in store. This book holds nothing back, and once you fall into the dark clutches of Kulski’s writing, you won’t be able to stop reading. Each dynamic character is full of sins and humanity alike; their desires will bleed into your soul, refusing to set you free ...more
Suz Jay
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Poor Persephone, she had a season too. Hades only wanted her dewy. Everyone thinks the queen of the underworld ate the seeds. Wasn’t so. She was the food and Hades the greedy one who ate and ate before plucking another...Persephone gave Hades a stomachache and afterward—she was all needles.”

FAIREST FLESH turns this tale of Erszébet Báthory into a fairytale that would give the Grimm brothers the shivers. All the elements from the countess who needs to be the fairest, a witch who covets beauty, p
Janelle Janson
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Review to come for Night Worms
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Weaving together historical fiction and gruesome fairytale, Fairest Flesh is a deft reimagining of the Bathory story, threaded with themes of power, helplessness and rage. And blood. Lots of blood.

A tense, gripping read, the book simmers with violence throughout, punctuated by explosive moments when it tears through to the surface, much in the way of the Countess Bathory herself. Kulski’s writing is dark and lush, her characters complex and flawed in ways that emphasise their humanity as much as
Hailey Piper
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Through a lens of witchcraft and folklore, Fairest Flesh takes the vanity-focused mainstream narrative on Bathory and shifts it to focus on pain. Alleviating trauma, alleviating physical torment. These become desperate reasons to kill, elevated toward need, as the novel follows through Bathory's life from childhood and, maybe more importantly, the woman she meets who gives her means toward bloody ends. Quick-paced and decades-spanning, Fairest Flesh takes you on a lifelong journey, with horrors ...more
Juha Heikkilä
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating fictionalized retelling for the Erzsébet Báthory story. Highly recommended.
Jessica Laguna
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: january-2021
The Fairest Flesh was part of the December Nightworms box. I would classify this as historical horror fiction (something I didn’t realize existed!) and part dark fairy tale and feminist literature. These elements create a story that is a beautifully crafted page turner.

The Fairest Flesh is based on Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who supposedly bathed in the blood of young women in an attempt to stay young and beautiful. From reading the author’s note I have learned that part of the legen
Tracy Robinson
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to come in Rue Morgue magazine.
Kevin L
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an accomplishment for a first novel! The writing is exquisite — “Girls have poisoned themselves in the pursuit of beauty, drowned in the need for perfection. Just to obtain some worth, because even a little worth is everything.”

The threads and themes create an amazing tapestry of fear, suffering, and depravity all while bringing in history and folklore to create one of the best treatments of Bathory I’ve read. Very, very highly recommended.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.

This book meant well.

At the very least, it certainly had a lot on its mind. An uneasy, not-at-all successful blend of historical fiction, slasher novel, and fairy tale, Fairest Flesh sort of exists as a weird inverse of Garth Risk Hallberg’s mammoth City on Fire. Where Hallberg’s book really needed to be cut in half to streamline its narrative, K.P. Kulski instead tries to cram so much into Fairest Flesh’s 200 pages that she asks the reader to take a series of unsupported leaps in logi
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at a real life monster, this book has many memorable moments. The gruesome parts stick with you, sure, but the characters and the path they almost all take to complete evil is almost just as bad compelling.

I’m not particularly a fan of historical fiction, so there were parts of the story that were not exactly for me, however, to the author’s credit, I was never bored or uninterested.

The final section of the book is hard to put down with more and more gore and disturbing image
Juliette Martin
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What beautiful, lurid darkness Kulski has spun in this book! Fairest Flesh takes on the retelling if Erszébet Bathory's famed killing spree with evocative, poetic style, framing even the goriest of moments with beauty. Weaving these together along with a healthy dollop of fairy tale creates a beautiful examination of what women are driven to do to themselves and each other in pursuit of fairest flesh. ...more
Nancy Drew
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This thoroughly exceeded my expectations! 👍🏼It was a very interesting take on the story of Erzebet Bathory. I really enjoyed it and had a hard time putting it down.
Emma Giles (
Dark, gory and beautifully written. The broken way the timelines and characters perspectives fit together is perfect. Truly scary.
Rich Rosell
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Kulski melds 16th century Hungarian history, demented real-life characters, and a dash of fairy tale darkness into a wildly unexpected novel that is as bleak as it is horrifying.

What more do you need? This is some grim stuff.

Highly recommended.

Christina Becker
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Dec 27, 2020
Sarah Rollins
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Jan 02, 2021
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