Monday, 19 October 2020

Review - Black Ambrosia by Elizabeth Engstrom


Today, I'm reviewing 1986's Black Ambrosia by Elizabeth Engstrom. More specifically, it's the Paperbacks from Hell edition by Valancourt Books that has a new introduction by author Grady Hendrix.

Tor Books originally published Black Ambrosia during the horror-craze of the 1980s. After appearing in Grady Hendrix's Paperback from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction in 2017, the nearly forgotten title has come back from the grave, thanks to the 2019 reprint.

Black Ambrosia is a vampire story without vampirism. It's told mostly from the point-of-view of Angelina Watson, a teenager who happens to be a killer. How did she turn into a monster? Well, Dracula never bit her, but instead, she manifested herself into a vampire.


Final Thoughts

Black Ambrosia is an odd but beautifully written vampire tale. The narration is cross between an Anne Rice vampire story and a Gothic thriller by V.C. Andrews (the real V.C. Andrews). When we first meet the protagonist, Angelina, she seems like a typical teenager, but that quickly changes after her mother's death. The teen goes out on her own by hitchhiking across America in the attempt to control her blood-thirsty cravings, and along the way, she meets a variety of people, including her love, Boyd.
Overall, Black Ambrosia is a slow burner that gradually builds up the suspense (and horror). Instead of focusing on gore, Elizabeth Engstrom focuses on developing characters. While it isn't perfect, I did enjoy reading it.

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