Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper, Book 2
Hardcover: 448 pages
Source: ALA Annual 2017
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller 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.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher at ALA Annual 2017. This is an honest review.*
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I really enjoyed the first of this series and loved how Maniscalco was able to give a wonderful version of a Jack the Ripper story, so I was interested to see what she would do with a Dracula story. Also, we just had to make a visit to her signing line at ALA, since Stalking Jack the Ripper was such a huge hit with Andrew’s high school students.
This book started off really slow for me, but once I was just about a third of the way in, I started to really enjoy all the intrigue and mystery. The relationship between Thomas and Audrey Rose starts developing into more than just their sniping/flirting attraction bits and starts becoming an actual sort of partnership and friendship, which is quite nice to see. I was worried in the first chapter that it’d be stuck into what it was in the first book, so the development was a relief. We also get to learn more about Thomas’s background and his family, which I thought was a nice way to add complexity in his character.
The story itself is intense and wonderful. Maniscalco has developed an intriguing mystery using Dracula folklore, complete with hidden dungeons in castles, ciphered riddles, and secret orders. I thought that it dragged a bit in places, but it was important for everything to be developed and get set up so that the reveal would be satisfying. There are some moments that are horrifying, but for the most part, I just thought it was good fun and enjoyed myself while reading it. I liked that the mystery wasn’t impossible to solve, so it didn’t seem too far-fetched when the answers revealed themselves, but it was crafty enough to be compelling.
This series is still holding strong and I am definitely looking forward to what theme we’ll be following in book 3. Maniscalco just continues to develop as a writer, and I have no doubt that the third will be even better than the first two. Definitely check this (and its prequel) out if you’re a fan of YA thrillers with a touch of romance thrown it. It’s a fun read!