Before the most well-known vampire novel of all time, Dracula, was written, there was Carmilla, a queer female vampire from the 1800s. In Carmilla: The First Vampire, Carmilla gets a retelling. It’s the 90s in New York City, and the murders of homeless, queer and trans women have been ignored by cops and uncaring civilians. Though the murderer appears to be monstrous, society and structural inequality are as much to blame. Empathetic, flawed Athena is determined to solve the murders and keep other young women safe when she meets the beguiling, disastrous Violet. Spooky, sexy, and suspenseful, the lesbian vampires of the original Carmilla are blended seamlessly with traditional Chinese lore to create a rich, intense story about geungsi, monster hunters, and murder. The art is stunning, the monsters are terrifying, the vampires are lesbian. What more could you want? It’s sucking fangtastic.
Carmilla: The First Vampire by Amy Chu, (List Price: 19.99, Berger Books, 9781506734644, February 2023)
Reviewed by Julia Hirschfield, Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina