Hunting Prince Dracula. Kerri Maniscalco. Young adult/Horror/Historical Fiction/Mystery. 2017. 434 pages. 3.25 stars.
Monsters were in the eye of the beholder. And no one wanted to discover their hero was the true villain of the story.
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.
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.
I’m a bit hesitant to review this title because I don’t really know how to feel about it. On the one hand, the plot and writing were interesting enough to keep me reading until the end. On the other hand, I was annoyed the entire time I was reading it and found little satisfaction.
It’s hard to pinpoint as to why I felt the way I did while reading this book, but I can tell you that one of the reasons was the slow burn and sexual tension between Audrey Rose and Thomas in the entire book despite them already acting on their urges in the first book. I understand the setting of this book and their behavior is not out of the ordinary, but I felt like the readers deserved to see more of their romance instead of their constant teasing. Not only does it frustrate the readers, the tactic also got old really fast. Teasing might work for the first 25% of the book, 50% at the most, but to do it for nearly 90% of the book is out of the question. That’s mostly the reason why I stuck until the ending of the book–not because the plot interested me, but because I wanted to know if they were ever going to kiss or if they’ll just die being the conservative English people they are.
Another thing that irked me was the overboard on the use of language. Again, it’s attributed to the setting of the book and I applaud the author for being able to write in such a formally eloquent fashion, but oh my god, at some point it does irk you. These are personal observations and I think the combination of the longest slow burn and the irky language diminished my reading experience.
This book for some reason also has the shortest climax I’ve ever read. After the big reveal, it disappeared just as fast as it arrived. That would’ve been okay if the build up did not take 30 years to manifest itself, but at this point I’m just getting sick of writing this review because I’m annoyed thinking about the book.
“You are not mine to take.” He brushed his lips against mine. Softly, so softly I might have imagined them there. My eyes fluttered shut. He could persuade me to build a steamship to the moon when he kissed me. We could orbit the stars together. “You are yours to give.”
So, sadly, I don’t really have anything good to say aside from Thomas Cresswell’s charm and beauty. This is living proof that I will go through the slowest books for the most beautiful book boys. A tragic flaw on my part, really.
3-3.5 stars? Like I said, I’m at a loss on how to rate this. I hope you enjoyed reading this book more than I did!