In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?
Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.
But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.
My Rating: 6 Stars
You. Guys. Oh. My. Lanta. I am so insanely in love with this book. I can’t even. I genuinely thought that nothing could de-throne Kendare Blake’s sequel to Three Dark Crowns (get it? Sorry – couldn’t help myself), but I was WRONG. I made up a new rating for this book. I have never in the history of my blog given a book six stars. This book is just that freaking good. Let me explain what warranted the new rating:
The first book in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper was a really fantastic book, definitely a five star read for me. However, in that book, Wadsworth was more shy, more timid, and just overall less of a badass. In Hunting Prince Dracula, Wadsworth’s badassery knows no bounds. First of all, she is a female studying to have an actual profession, in the 1880’s. Second, she is studying Forensics! Third, the girl is literally fearless. Sure, she gets a frazzled on occasion, but she always pushes her fears down and moves past them. She is absolutely a female character for women to look up to. I think what I love the most about her is her refusal to let anyone control her life, even the man she loves. Its honestly such a rare trait in female YA characters and I have to applaud Kerri for writing Wadsworth that way.
Now, onto what really made Hunting Prince Dracula a six star novel for me: Thomas Cresswell. He was a phenomenal character in book one: supportive of Audrey Rose, clever, witty and just enough of a rogue to keep things entertaining. If Stalking Jack the Ripper was Wadsworth’s book, Hunting Prince Dracula is Cresswell’s. It’s so enthralling to learn more about such a mysterious and guarded character. Not only does this book delve further into Cresswell’s history, it shows his insecurities and weaknesses, humanizing him in a way that book one wasn’t able to do. To top it all off, Cresswell’s banter was seriously on-point. I don’t know how Kerri comes up with such fun dialogue, but I laughed out loud more times than I care to admit. Not a reaction you expect to have to a Thriller.
Finally, onto the actual plot of the novel. Though I enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper immensely and absolutely plan to reread it, I guessed who the murderer was about a quarter of the way through the book. Hunting Prince Dracula literally had me guessing until the end. When the murderer was revealed, I reread the page multiple times out of pure shock before moving on. The story moves along at a nice pace, and Kerri’s writing is truly captivating. She is wonderfully descriptive, painting beautiful pictures in her reader’s heads, and her research is so thorough that you really feel as though you’ve been taken back in time. Books like this are why I read.
My Takeaway: Kerri Maniscalco may have just become my all time favorite Author. Big words for a girl with a Six of Crows tattoo on her forearm, I know. I genuinely can’t say enough good things about this book – I added another star to my rating scale for it. I can’t wait to see what adventure Cresswell and Wadsworth embark on next year!