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Tuesday, January 16

Book Talk | Hunting Prince Dracula

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Page Count: 434
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, YA
Goodreads Rating: 4.44
My Rating: 5.0
Book Cover Rating: 5.0
Bad Book Review: Sherlock Homes meets Indiana Jones: the novel
Review Type: Spoiler free
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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.

The story
Have you ever heard of books a thing in YA books called 'second book syndrome'? Yeah, this book was the complete opposite of that. As you all probably know by now: Stalking Jack the Ripper is one of my all time favorite books, so I had very high hopes going into this book, which can be dangerous. But let me just say: I was NOT disappointed

SJTR had me hooked from the first page, this book took about 50-60 pages for me to really get into, but once the story really kicked off I was hooked. The first thing I loved about this book was definitely the setting and it really added to the scary vibe of the story. It takes place in a very old castle in Romania where Dracula himself once lived. It's full of scary hallways and secret passages that make it feel like you are save nowhere you go.

As I already mentioned in my review of SJTR as well, I can't help but try and solve the case during these books and let my inner Sherlock Holmes come to life. Turns out I would make a terrible detective, because I keep being so wrong about these cases. But that's probably because of the amazing way Kerri has set up this story. Sometimes she drops these tiny hints that you don't realise are hints until you actually know who committed the murders and I think that makes these books so great.

''Monsters could wear the smiles of friends while secreting away the rotten soul of the Devil in the darkest crevices of themselves.''

The characters
This book definitely wouldn't be the same without its main character and her arrogant yet amazing companion. Audrey Rose and Thomas add so much life to this story. Their characters have a lot of depth to them, which is nice because if there is something I absolutely hate in books it's flat characters.
In this novel Audrey Rose really struggles with the outcome of the Jack the Ripper case and suffers from a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is written in such an incredible way. Kerri doesn't try to romanticize it and shows PTSD the ugly way it really is. Audrey Rose is not herself and keeps seeing things that aren't there to the point where she actually thinks she's going insane.
But despite that she still managed to keep her head up and be her intelligent and feminist self, even when she is surrounded by men who think a woman should not be cutting into corpses. Every time she sassed a male character in this book I couldn't help but going 'yaaaaaaas girl you go'. I really admired that aspect of her.
Now let's talk about my beautiful babe Thomas Cresswell. We got to spend so much time with him in this book and got to know a lot about his past and his character. He comes across as the perfect and arrogant guy who can never do anything wrong, but in this book we discover that that is not true at all. Even he struggles with the things that happened during the Jack the Ripper case and has changed because of it. His deduction skills seem less good as in the previous book and he obviously keeps a lot of things stuffed away inside of him. I love characters who aren't perfect, it makes them feel so much more real.

I love romance in books, but I don't like it when it takes over the entire story and it's the only thing that matters (a big reason why I don't read that many YA contemporary books). The romance in this book was so well done, because it was definitely there, but than again not really. I loved the snarky conversations between Audrey Rose and Thomas, they really brightened up such a grim and dark book. Throughout the entire novel I was just craving another kissing scene like in SJTR or at least for something adorable to happen between the two main characters.

''For there are no limits to the stars, their numbers infinite. Which is precisely why I measure my love for you by the stars. An amount too boundless to count.'' 

Lesbian romance
This is just something I really quickly have to talk about as well. There is a great lesbian romance in this book and I couldn't help but love it. In so many YA books (that I read at least) that contain some kind of LGBTQ+ romance it either feels so forced into the story or the entire story evolves around it. This romance did not feel forced at all. It was especially refreshing since back in the late 1800s it was definitely not okay to be gay and the characters were so afraid that Audrey Rose would look down upon them for being who they are. It made me feel kinda sad to know that there were so many gay people in history who just couldn't be themself and had to either keep their relationship secret or just had to be with a person of the opposite sex to protect themselves. That was such a great add to this already great book.

I feel like this review is kinda all over the place, but there are so many things I love about this book, but if I went into all my opinions, this review would have been a full novel in itself.

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