Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Also in this series: Metaltown, Stalking Jack the Ripper
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mysteries, Thrillers
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Death & some gore)
Bone white. Blood red. Along this path, you’ll soon be dead.
Following the horrifying revelation of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth flees her home in Victorian London to enroll as the only female student in Europe’s most prestigious forensics school. But it’s impossible to find peace in the dark, unsettling Romanian castle that houses the school—and was also once home to the depraved Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Prince Dracula.
When a series of troubling deaths brings whispers of Vlad’s bloodthirsty return from the grave, Audrey Rose and her sharp-witted companion, Thomas Cresswell, must unravel the cryptic clues that will lead them to the shadowlike killer—living or dead.
This second installment in the series is just as creepy as Stalking Jack the Ripper. These books could probably be read as standalones since each one contains its own complete story, but of course, you’ll understand a lot more of the context if you’ve read the first book too.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Audrey’s demons. Audrey isn’t nearly as sure of herself as she was in the last book. She’s haunted by memories of what happened with her family in that book (which I won’t spoil, in case you haven’t read it), and she’s even occasionally seeing visions of things that aren’t there. It’s awfully hard to work on dead bodies when you’re scared to death of them. And yet, Audrey isn’t a timid girl who’s content to let the men around her protect her. She’s very ahead of her time—an independent woman—and she fights to get herself under control so that she can continue doing what she loves and what she’s good at.
- Thomas. It’s hard not to love Thomas, even though he occasionally shows his lack of common sense when it comes to wooing Audrey. (This causes some very realistic tension between the two.) And the banter between these two is so much fun. An example:
“Men enjoy the hunt. You now have proven you aren’t easily won, which makes you an interesting challenge. Why do you think so many heads are mounted on the walls? Displaying trophies of our accomplishments is like saying ‘I’m strong and virile. Just look at that stag head on the wall. I not only hunted it, I set the trap, and coaxed it into my lair. Here’s some brandy, let’s pound our chests and shoot something.'”
“You’re saying you’d like to trap me and hang my severed head above the mantle, then? That’s so utterly romantic. Do tell me more.”
- Paranormal or real? This book is incredibly spooky and dark, and it skirts the line between paranormal and real life rather well. The murders seem to follow the legends of Dracula well, but of course, Dracula has been dead for centuries. And while Audrey is never convinced that legend is real and she’s sure there’s a logical explanation for everything, that doesn’t make the circumstances any less interesting for someone like me, who’s a fan of paranormal. Oh, and if you enjoyed the macabre aspect of the first book, there’s plenty of it to satisfy you in this book as well!
- The setting and mystery. Typically, in a book like this, the least interesting aspect for me is the actual mystery. But this book kept my attention because the mystery skirted that paranormal territory. I thought that the spooky Romanian castle was a perfect setting for the book as well—full of secret passages and surrounded by wolf-filled wolves. These elements were used well to set up the suspense in the book! And then there was the ending—I was taken completely by surprise and loved some of the revelations!
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Audrey is way ahead of her time. Okay, so occasionally, I found myself realizing that while I LOVE Audrey, this is one of those historicals where the main character is way ahead of her time as far as her independence and progressiveness goes (when a character turns out to gay, neither she nor Thomas bat an eye). Of course, as modern readers, we love this, but I couldn’t help the little creeping thought that it’s not particularly realistic that she’s so independent (and so are all of the other female characters). I can’t really bring myself to complain much, though. As a YA book I’d rather see that than have a book that reinforces old stereotypes.
This book is a stupendously creepy historical read that skirts the line between the paranormal and the just plain abnormal really well. I give it 4.5/5 Stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via ALA Annual in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.
Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.
Two sets of Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula (US/Can Only)
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