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.
Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)Featured
What I Loved:
It's unusual for me to come across a book that I want to read oh-so-slowly in fear of running out of pages too soon yet that's what happened when I read Hunting Prince Dracula. I dragged my reading experience and forced myself to put it down every few chapters so I could extend my time with Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell. Their company is far too precious for me and the thought to have to wait another year to read more about them injures my poor heart. However, despite my best effort, I did end up devouring the last few chapters in the blink of an eye (though I certainly don't regret it at all!).
After the horrific events of Stalking Jack the Ripper, in Hunting Prince Dracula we start a new journey en route to Romania to live in Bran Castle, home to the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science. Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell are closer than ever (be still my heart!) and they face off a new set of creepy murders that stem from myths and superstitions of Romanians. We are talking about Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia (also known as Dracula), and the harrowing tales that follow this enigmatic historical character!
Author Kerri Maniscalco has firmly set her place into my list of favorite authors because her characters, writing style, and ability to draw you deep into mysterious historical settings is simply magnificent. Once again I became enraptured by the bloody cases and I spent most of my reading time trying to guess the culprit behind the attacks on students and guests of the Academy. Every second spent exploring the castle and its many hidden passages or reading about the myths and vampire lore would send goosebumps running over my arms. However, just like Kerri Maniscalco is fantastic at raising chills and turning stomachs, she's also great at lessening the tension by adding humor and adorable banter between the characters.
Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell have managed to steal my heart and I love how well they belong together. Sure, I love them as a couple, but one thing to admire about them above everything else is that they are partners in crime. Their friendship and feelings for each other take a step back whenever they have a mystery to solve and seeing them piece clues together—while trapping themselves in unfortunate situations—is spectacularly exciting.
However, my heart did suffer for Audrey Rose who's still understandably shaken by the case of Jack the Ripper. Reading about her facing her trauma alone is tough because how can one recover after such a terrible ordeal? And yet Audrey Rose is not one to give in to her fears that easily, she fights it head on like the smart and capable young lady that we have grown to admire while proving left and right that she has what it takes to study forensics and solve even the most gruesome cases. No prince (dead or alive), headmaster, or even our Thomas Cresswell can put a damper on who she really is and what she stands for.
Hunting Prince Dracula certainly lived up to its predecessor and you won't hear anything but praise from me! Bloody, tenebrous, and more than captivating, readers will eagerly follow the dangerous trail left by the most popular vampire in history in the company of a dynamic duo that give Sherlock Holmes and John Watson a run for their money!
Audrey Rose is back and just as amazing as she was in the first book. I just love her. She and Thomas have become some of my favorite book characters. Audrey Rose is so ahead of her time. While most girls her age are just trying to find a husband, she is determined to do everything on her own. While she has strong feelings for Thomas, her fear is having a man treat her as less than an equal. She studies forensics, prefers to figure things out of her own, and is extremely intelligent. Just a total badass, no matter the time period.
And then there's Thomas. Holy swoon. I've missed him so much. Thomas is the perfect mix or sarcastic, flirty, intelligent, and sweet. He is an all time favorite for me.
"I have a feeling you haven't invited me here for kissing. Though it never hurts to ask." He grinned at my ensemble and rubbed his hands together, mischief sparking like fireworks around him. "You're dressed for sneaking about Dracula's castle. Be still my thawing dark heart. You certainly know how to make a young man feel alive, Wadsworth."
Audrey Rose and Thomas travel together for a forensics program being held at Bran Castle in Romania. While heading there on train, there is a strange murder. The locals are afraid that Dracula has returned. They have a lot of myths and legends about the area that include Vlad, Strigoi, and wolves. There has already been a woman missing from the village and now this death on the train. And since trouble seems to follow them around, bodies start showing up at the castle, too.
Classes still continue and the students not only work on autopsies and anatomy, but also local folklore. They might not have liked those classes, but I found those parts of the book fascinating. The Order of the Dragon was covered quite a bit.
"For those who may be unaware, they were a secret society made up of selected nobility. Often called Societas Draconistrarum, or, roughly translated, Society of the Dragonistas. They fought to uphold certain values during times of war and invasion. Sigismund, King of Hungary, used the Crusaders as a model when he founded the group."
Thomas' sister arrives at the castle and there is a secret relationship with another young woman. It was refreshing to see that both Thomas and Audrey Rose accepted this and saw the love between the two. Daciana is very similar to Thomas and I liked her right away.
Kerri does a wonderful job with the mystery and suspense throughout the book. The writing is somewhat spooky and adds to the setting. Thomas and Audrey Rose get into a lot of trouble while trying to figure out the mystery behind the recent murders. I was actually a bit surprised by the ending, too.
Overall, it was just the perfect book for me and I'm so glad I read it in October. It sets the mood perfectly for Halloween next week.
5 stars and one of my favorite books of the year.
hard to put down