Format: Hardcover, 448 pags
Release Date: September 17, 2017
Publisher: jimmy patterson
Genre: Young Adult \ Horror
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.
Hunting Prince Dracula, by author Kerri Maniscalco, is the followup to Stalking Jack the Ripper. The story takes place between December 1-26, 1888. 17-year old Audrey Rose Wadsworth is back. This time she and Thomas Cresswell are traveling via the Orient Express to Romania where they hope to study in the prestigious Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science. Before they even arrive though, there are headlines screaming about the possibility that Vlad Dracula may very well be alive and on the hunt after a body is found staked through the heart.
Apparently, the centuries dead legend has once again gained the imagination to the point where people truly believe it is possible that Dracula is an immortal. With the Ripper case fresh in her mind, and her imagination playing very cruel games with her, Audrey must find a way to put it all behind her if she is to be chosen as one of only two candidates to be entered into the next session of the school. This is a story that is as foreboding, as it is eerie. From a stunning murder on the Orient Express, to bodies piling up in and around the school, to the dangers that linger behind every corner, and possibly every student, Audrey and Thomas have their work cut out for them if they are to survive.
Historical Fiction is all about creating your own world, while also intermingling factual figures into your story. While this story is once set in the Victoria Era, Maniscalco knocks the walls down by allowing some things to happen between Audrey and Thomas that would probably have been frowned upon. She also uses the Orient Express as means of travel for Audrey Rose and Thomas. She uses the train for romantic means for Audrey and Thomas who grow even closer than before. Something that takes a whole lot for me to admit since I found Thomas a bit of a cad and a bloody bastard at times in both novels.
There's a bit of cooling at one point during the story after Thomas did something quite foolish. One could say that he bit off more than he could chew, and got smacked. But, Audrey gets a bit of clarity from her own cousins letter arrives and they end up in a good place when all is said and done.
Bran Castle was never been a school for forensics, yet the historical and creepy aspects of the school gave the story a Gothic feel to it. Maniscalco's brilliant use of hallways, passageways, and tricky labyrinths that lead to life or death situations for Audrey and Thomas just prove that Maniscalco is not a one hit wonder.
The author also uses a secret society called The Order of the Dragon which really did exist at one point in history. The author twists the Order's membership by adding two female characters, Ileana and Daciana, something that really wouldn't have been possible in this era. Plus, Ileana and Daciana have a love for the other that is not restrained, but passionate and real. I do like the modern effort that allows Audrey to become a strong model for young women in today's society. She says I am strong, I am willing, and I am going to kick down the door on the male dominated world of forensic science, and make it my own.
I am extremely interested in what will play out in the next installment as Audrey and Thomas and Audrey's Uncle travel to America. Will the situation test their romance, or will it survive any circumstances thrown at them? We shall see.