Book Review: The Progeny (Descendents of the Blood Countess #1) by Tosca Lee

BR-TL-TPFinally finished the book and made time to type up a review for it! Phew…

This ARC was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I had previously studied a little about Elizabeth Bathory back when I was in college, for my literature class, so imagine my excitement when I was provided an advance copy of the book, it was also my first time requesting and receiving a book on NetGalley. So lets get to the review!dividerGoodreads Synopsis
27221614Emily Jacobs is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.

She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. A story about the search for self filled with centuries-old intrigues against the backdrop of atrocity and hope.dividerTouted to be “a modern twist to an ancient mystery surrounding the most notorious female serial killer of all time. A fast-paced thriller for fans of Ted Dekker’s The Books of Mortals, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and BBC America’s hit series Orphan Black by New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee. While I’ve not read Ted Dekker’s work, I’ve read Dan Brown’s work and this read was definitely not on the same scale.

I had originally requested the book due to its interesting blurb, and my interest in the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory, but I ended up somewhat disappointed by it.The pace of the book is definitely quick, and it felt more like it was written for the big screen or maybe even the television, it was definitely action packed.

“I’ve been chased, drugged, fallen from a window, almost crashed upside down, passed out, and haven’t slept more than two hours at a time in days.”

How fast are we talking about? Everything in the above quote happened by the 25% mark, it is also by this point I’ve had my own sets of frustrating questions (which never gets answered throughout the whole book) and they were not questions regarding to the storyline, but rather to the world building and the abilities of those who are hunting her. The story telling is basically filled with a lot of expositions and I am more of a “show rather than tell” type person when it comes to story telling; and here the information just thrown out there in a matter of fact way and we’re just suppose to accept it because the heroine does; in some ways its baffling how she is able to just accept some of the outlandish concepts. It’s not just her, some of the other lies told in the story are accepted just as easily by others, even when things start to go haywire, no one suspects how the others are just accepting it.

“…it’s hard to trust anyone you don’t know. Especially when that person is you.”

We have a heroine who has no memories and is suddenly thrown into chaos with people hunting her and trying to kill her; it does make it rather hard to trust anyone. As readers we are usually informed or shown through the eyes of the characters we read, whom to trust and whom to suspect, information are usually presented to us through the characters, though there was an effort to keep up the suspense here, there was no real surprise. Especially since we’re not given much time to dwell on it, for it is quickly established as to who were friends and who were foes. I assumed that a selling point of the story was that we as the reader were suppose to feel as lost and suspicious of those who align themselves with the heroine, but at some point I stopped caring and wanted to just get through the book.

“We like to think we learn people. We really only learn their stories.”

And stories are really all we have to go by, especially in this story, where characters are all introduced through what other people know of them. In regards to Emily, we are continuously told, by others around her that she is smart, audacious, fearless, determined, and is basically the most special snowflake there is of her kind. Yet, I never really got that from her; her character just fell flat, predictable and formulaic. Basically there was no depth to her. And that was the problem with most of the characters in the story, most of them just fell flat – they did not incite much interest and I didn’t get the chance to know them better; many just past through the book quickly and were quite forgettable, some stay awhile and are briefly introduced and we’re suddenly suppose to feel something for them, but I never form those bonds with any of the characters.

Another issue I had was that we’re told that the characters are supposed to be in their late teens to early 20s; but they definitely do not act that way. In fact, I kept wondering if I was mistaken that the book was a YA, and would double check if I got their ages right, but if I wasn’t informed I would have thought all the characters were in their late 20s and 30s, this included the heroine and her main love interest.

The second half of the book grew boring and repetitive. A line which represented how the book went would be:

“Dressing up and raving myself into a stupor each night and making love to my former hunter”

That was basically it…for awhile, while they were running about Europe. Then as we approach the last stretch there was a small but predictable twist, but sadly it did nothing to ignite my interest. And of course to keep readers hanging on and interested in reading the next installment the book ended in a cliff hanger.


Overall this book was not for me. While I was really excited for this book, and I wanted so much to love it, I ended up pretty disappointed and did not enjoy it. Although I can see it being popular, from some of the more positive reviews I’ve seen on Goodreads. It didn’t manage to hold my attention and I had struggled to finish it; there were many times I just wanted to put the book down and dnf it. I won’t be picking up the next book in this series.dividerWould I recommend this book? Not really. The plot was interesting, but somewhere down the line it just didn’t do it for me. But if you’re not a hardcore suspense/triller reader this could be a sort of gateway. The book will be out in May 2016.dividerFor today’s banner, I had found an image of a page from Elizabeth Bathory’s Diary and thought since the book was about being hunted some blood spatter would be a pretty good touch. I do have something to gripe about aside from the story, which is the book cover! The ARC cover was actually a lot better than the to be published one, I really do not like this cover and prefer the prior one, which was red with a Venetian masquerade mask. So I’m actually quite disappointed with the final cover.


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