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.
Spoiler free review!
Are you guys ready for some serious fangirling?! This series has utterly bewitched me.
Perhaps it was time for fathers to teach their sons how to behave around young women. They were not born superior, no matter how society falsely conditioned them. We were all equals here.
While we got to see Audrey’s feminist snark come into play a little in SJTR, she is loud, proud, and feminist as hell in this sequel. I am so here for this! Despite struggling with PTSD from the ending of the first book (and her PTSD is represented really solidly!), when she arrives at Bran Castle, Audrey refuses to let the headmaster or any of her male colleagues look down upon her. True to her nature, she claws her way to the top despite her trauma and the scorn of the men around her.
“Mr. Thomas Cresswell would descend into each circle of Hell if you needed him to. You are the beating heart inside his ribcage.”
Really, though, my favorite thing about this book was how much time we get to spend with Thomas and how much his character develops. He is shamelessly head-over-heels for Audrey, and while he occasionally slips up, his intentions are always good. He learns from each mistake along the way and views her as his equal in all ways. In a genre filled with unhealthy and/or unrealistic relationships, Kerri has written a romance that feels authentic, legitimate, exciting, and so sweet.
His eyes were my favorite constellations to gaze at; each fleck of gold surrounding his pupils were new galaxies begging to be discovered.
Audrey develops tremendously as well, and opens her heart to the possibilities of a life filled with more than just cutting open cadavers and chasing down villains. I found it really delightful to watch her come to terms with the idea that she could be a strong, feminist woman without sacrificing her emotions or blossoming romance.
“Society at large is staggeringly obtuse. If one simply looks to others for their opinions, they lose the ability to think critically for themselves. Progress would never be made if everyone all appeared and thought and loved in the same manner.”
Did I mention there’s a queer romance in this book? Because there’s totally a super precious and adorable f/f relationship between a couple of side characters. ❤
If you couldn’t tell already, I loved every freakin’ moment of Hunting Prince Dracula. The setting is incredible – a creepy old castle, what more could I ask for? – and the suspense is on point. I know there were some complaints that SJTR threw out too many red herrings, but I don’t feel that was the case at all with this sequel. I found myself legitimately considering every possible avenue for the culprit, and while the ending didn’t shock me, I loved how everything played out. Plus, we learned some delicious secrets about Mr. Cresswell, which I really hope will come into play in the next book!
If you enjoy YA suspense/thrillers, mysteries, gothic horror, and/or an adorable romance in bloom, I highly encourage you to pick this series up ASAP! You won’t regret it.
Thank you to Jimmy Patterson Books/Little, Brown and Company for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!