There is nothing more satisfying than reading a solid first book and then being totally blown away by the second. There is that combination of proud because wow I actually stuck with this and then there is all the happiness because ahhhhhh I love this book so much eeee. What is the point of all of April’s word screeching, you ask? Well my friends, the Stalking Jack the Ripper series just got so much better.
Think of the Stalking Jack the Ripper book as vanilla cake. I mean its cake, so it’s not bad. But it is the perfect vessel for something better. It’s a solid base, but it is begging for the zazz, for the flavor. Well, Hunting Prince Dracula was that flavor, coming in strong with the buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles galore. This cake was one of the best mysteries I’ve
eaten read all year. (in case y’all were wondering, this charming cake rambling is what happens when I try to form thoughts after selling my soul during finals week. Update: its been a couple weeks since I wrote this but I find my bad comparison rather charming so I’m keeping it lol.)
Book: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Published September 19th 2017 by Little, Brown & Company
Format: physical copy
TW: Character death, Gore, Hallucinations, Murder, Paranormal creatures, Sexism
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. (from Goodreads)
The slight not-like-other-girls vibe I got from Audrey Rose was gone. The slight Sherlockian vibes I got from Thomas were gone. The character development was thriving in this book, let me tell you. Any tid bit of annoyance I felt with Audrey Rose and Thomas in the first book is gone. They were so much more enjoyable to read about.
I wish some of the classmates had been introduced a bit sooner. They were mentioned in passing, but beyond the initial meeting there wasn’t much depth. So when Audrey Rose started talking to Noah I was thinking I’m sorry, but where did this Noah dude come from?? Apparently he was a classmate that wasn’t important enough to talk to until page 200 something.
Thomas screwed up quite a few times in this book. I honestly don’t know what the guy was thinking half of the time, but that’s not the point. Audrey Rose called him out. Yesss yes yes! She screeched at him and he deserved it. You can’t mess with trauma like that.
I was vibing with the setting. I am such a sucker for boarding schools, but boarding schools with secret passages?? Those hit different. 10/10. It was the perfect setting, spooky and historic for the mystery to unravel. Plus the secret passages were begging to be explored and perfectly set the stakes for an epic end scene.
The final scene had the drama I was craving in the last book. We did not take a tour de madman’s den, observing pickled organs la de da, no, we we confronted the madman head on. It was shocking and suspenseful in every way imaginable. YES! This is what I wanted.
One of my biggest criticisms of Stalking Jack the Ripper was how predictable it was. From page 60 I was able to call the murderer. I had no such luck with Hunting Prince Dracula. I thought I knew who it was to begin, but as I kept reading my suspect list kept growing. There were so many potential suspects and shady people that basically any character mentioned by name made it on to the suspect list. There were a couple times when I thought I had it, but at the next page I was convinced otherwise. The way Kerri was able to throw me off scent so many times— buttercream I tell you!! BUTTERCREAM!
I love this book with every ounce of my being. That’s it. That is my final statement. If you had any doubts about the first book, never fear because Hunting Prince Dracula exceeded my expectations in every way possible.
What is your favorite flavor of cake?? Have you read Hunting Prince Dracula? What did you think about it?