Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Published September 19th 2017 by Little, Brown & Company.
In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut 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. (Goodreads)
Have you ever picked up the second book in a series without reading the first and felt so confused until you realized your mistake? Don’t think for one minute Maniscalco is going to let that happen to her readers! She constantly reminds you (at least once a page) of the first book. With how much the first book was discussed in this second book I probably could have saved myself the pain of actually reading Stalking Jack the Ripper. Let me be frank, I did not like these books, but they are also not something I would have ordinarily picked up were it not for the YA BookTube Awards. With that being said these books are wildly popular and I just could not find the appeal.
Let me start off with the things I liked. Oddly enough I did enjoy Hunting Prince Dracula a 1/2 star more than Stalking Jack the Ripper.
- Audrey Rose Wadsworth (the main character).
- Thomas Cresswell! This guy is the best.
- The setting.
- The ending (partly because #swoon and partly because it was over).
Although Wadsworth can be quite annoying (more on that in a bit) I don’t mind being inside her head. She’s quite brave and I like that she is trying to do things she loves to do despite them being looked down upon during the times in which these stories take place. At times she can be scientific and others feminist and those bits make my heart sing! Cresswell is the best. He is smart and considerate and extremely flirtatious. He is Wadsworth’s crime solving partner and companion to the school of forensic medicine in Romania. They make a great team but I wish I could read the stories from Cresswell’s perspective. In Hunting Prince Dracula Wadsworth and Cresswell find themselves in a competition to determine which two of the nine students will be offered places at the academy. As bodies start piling up the two investigate —some drained of blood like a vampire kill, others staked like a killed vampire.
Other things to note: Audrey is biracial (her father a white British noble and her mother of Indian descent) although from the narrative and the book covers you would never be able to tell. However it is mentioned at least once per book. There’s a larger cast of female characters including a lesbian (not started on page) with a female/female romance. There is also a very small role of an African-American male.
Now let’s jump into what I did not like. First off the title and book cover alone bother me. As previously stated the main character is biracial. If you’re looking at these book covers I see a white woman with brown hair. What a missed opportunity for biracial representation on a cover. The title is complete click bait. Jack the Ripper and Dracula are infamous. You can’t just pop their names on a novel and have readers not expect something. The next book expected later this year is Escaping from Houdini another name that many, many readers know. These are not Jack the Ripper/Dracula stories. These are retellings at best, but not marketed that way from my perspective. I was expecting more of a Gothic historical mystery. Next let’s discuss the things that make Audrey annoying. First she is supposed to be scientific and smart yet she makes so many dumb/thoughtless decisions it counteracts her brilliance. Secondly as a budding feminist she whines and complains far too much. In those moments I just want to slap her. Lastly this book just dragged on far too long. I felt he same way about the first book. If there were 100 fewer pages the plot could have moved at a more desirable pace and might have been a bit more enjoyable.
The next tale in this series is Escaping from Houdini and I’m not 100% counting it out. In this third installment in the #1 bestselling Stalking Jack the Ripper series, a luxurious ocean liner becomes a floating prison of scandal, madness, and horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer.
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.
But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale? (Goodreads)
Stalking Jack the Ripper ★★
Hunting Prince Dracula ★★.5
Escaping from Houdini – set to release Sept 2018