Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | Review

Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
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 liked Stalking Jack the Ripper but I loved Hunting Prince Dracula.

Hunting Prince Dracula picks up right where Stalking Jack the Ripper ended with Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell on the Orient Express their way to Romania where Bran Castle (aka Dracula's Castle), home to the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science. Audrey Rose was still reeling over the events that happened in Stalking Jack the Ripper, but while on the train, right outside her compartment door, she and Thomas were confronted with a murder--a man staked through the heart. And things go from bad to worst when they get to the Academy. With a new murder mystery in their hands, Audrey Rose and Thomas must figure out whether they're dealing with a copycat killer or is Prince Dracula back from the dead on the path to destruction and blood?

To be honest, it took me a long time to get through Stalking Jack the Ripper because while I loved Audrey Rose and Thomas's characters, but I found the pacing to be slow despite all the gruesome murders. Audrey Rose and Thomas's sleuthing in Stalking Jack the Ripper never really amounted to anything in terms of clues that led to the big reveal of the killer. However, in Hunting Prince Dracula the pacing flowed better and I found myself much more invested in the story and the mystery. The writing also felt more polished, which made this novel much more pleasurable to read and I was able to turn the pages much faster.

One of the things I loved in Stalking Jack the Ripper, though was the atmospheric setting of Victorian London. I really felt like I was in foggy, wet, and dark London with Audrey Rose. In Hunting Prince Dracula, the author continues to impress me with her deft hand in being able to take me away from my current setting and making me feel like I was with Audrey Rose, this time in Romania and in Dracula's creepy castle. I love the white, icy mountains, dark forests, and eerie medieval castle setting we were in, along with dealing with strange professors, superstitious villagers, and of course the gruesome and bloody red murders. I also enjoyed learning about the myths and lore surrounding Prince Dracula and Bran Castle.

I continue to love Audrey Rose and Thomas. They are both wonderful individually and together. One of the best parts of the novel is Thomas's the flirtatious, often inappropriate, banter with Audrey Rose. The chemistry and the pent-up tension between these two was pretty hot even though it lacks much physical touching. There were some very swoon-worthy moments between them and I love how their characters are evolving and their friendship and relationship continue to grow.

Overall, Hunting Prince Dracula was a fantastically suspenseful and macabre novel that I very much enjoyed--so much more than Stalking Jack the Ripper. In my opinion, if you missed Stalking Jack the Ripper, you don't really need to read it first to enjoy Hunting Prince Dracula because each novel wraps up nicely in terms of the mystery. However, you probably wouldn't want to miss Audrey Rose and Thomas's character arcs though, so I still highly recommend you read these novels in order. If you like dark mysteries with blood and forensic gore set in an eerie castle with a bit of romance and the best sleuthing couple in historical YA, I highly recommend you pick up Hunting Prince Dracula.

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.

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