It’s another adventure with my favorite duo, and Maniscalo’s sophomore novel bursts all notions of the second book syndrome!
About the Book
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson | Release Date: September 19, 2017 | Pages: 434
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Mystery | Format: eBook/Audiobook | Source: Borrowed from Library
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.
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It is rare that I love the second book more than the first, but Hunting Prince Dracula is one of those instances! The writing is beautiful, engaging, and fast-paced… I devoured this book in one sitting on a hot afternoon. I read along with the audiobook, and I have to say that the narrator (Nicola Barber) is incredible – highly recommend the audio for this series!
“Flesh-and-blood men were the real monsters, and they could be cut down easily enough.”
Audrey Rose and Thomas are off to Romania for a prestigious opportunity to study, but some bizarre murders in the region mean that our duo has another case to solve. The superstitious villagers think the Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, has risen from the grave, but surely there is another explanation. Right?
“Time passed in frozen minutes and darkening skies.”
Maniscalo’s writing is beautiful, bewitching, and fast-paced. I found myself drinking up the beautiful sentences that Maniscalo crafted. The plot itself is gripping and it kept me guessing, which was a welcome contrast to the first book’s predictability!
I was equally enthralled by the plot and the characters I fell for in the first book. I appreciated that Audrey Rose grappled with the events of the first book. She went through HELL and it makes sense that she would be haunted by her grief. Thomas’ misguided attempts at helping her confront her fears added another layer of complexity to their relationship, resulting in compelling character growth for both of them.
“Science gave me a purpose. It was something to lose myself in other than my own mad thoughts.”
Our characters are just as vivid, vivacious, and sarcastic as in the first book. The banter between Audrey Rose and Thomas brings me to life. Even though they shared the kiss in the first book, tension and propriety between them carries into this book, and their relationship continues to develop slowly. It feels more realistic to me in that regard, but it also gives me the tension of “OH MY GOD KISS HiM!” There is also a f/f side relationship that is honestly beautiful.
“Monsters were in the eye of the beholder. And no one wanted to discover their hero was the true villain of the story.”
I loved how this book marries urban legend, history, and fiction together to weave a truly creepy mystery. Radu’s myth lessons were among my favorite and I loved wondering if the murders were being conducted by a supernatural being or not.
Overall, I absolutely adored this book and recommend it highly! The book is fast-paced, feminist, and beautifully written, and the whodunit is executed infinitely better than in the first book. I cannot wait to see what is in store for their next adventure in Escaping from Houdini!
REPRESENTATION: biracial rep (Audrey Rose is half Indian/half English), f/f romance, PTSD
CONTENT WARNINGS: death, referenced drug abuse, gore, murder, sexism