ARC Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: YA Historical
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson 
Publication Date:  September 19th, 2017
Page Count: 448 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher


Summary:
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. 
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*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 5/5 stars
.This review can also be found on YA Books Central.

Why do I always feel highly inadequate to correctly express my love and admiration for Kerri Maniscalco and her extraordinary novels? Stalking Jack the Ripper turned out to be my favorite read of 2016 and I dare say that Hunting Prince Dracula might be my favorite of 2017! This is THE sequel we were all hoping for and more, so get ready to be swept away into a slaying mystery set in the Kingdom of Romania!

What I Loved:

It's unusual for me to come across a book that I want to read oh-so-slowly in fear of running out of pages too soon yet that's what happened when I read Hunting Prince Dracula. I dragged my reading experience and forced myself to put it down every few chapters so I could extend mya time with Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell. Their company is far too precious for me and the thought to have to wait another year to read more about them injures my poor heart. However, despite my best effort, I did end up devouring the last few chapters in the blink of an eye (though I certainly don't regret it at all!).

After the horrific events of Stalking Jack the Ripper, in Hunting Prince Dracula we start a new journey en route to Romania to live in Bran Castle, home to the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science. Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell are closer than ever (be still my heart!) and they face off a new set of creepy murders that stem from myths and superstitions of Romanians. We are talking about Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia (also known as Dracula), and the harrowing tales that follow this enigmatic historical character!

Author Kerri Maniscalco has firmly set her place into my list of favorite authors because her characters, writing style, and ability to draw you deep into mysterious historical settings is simply magnificent. Once again I became enraptured by the bloody cases and I spent most of my reading time trying to guess the culprit behind the attacks on students and guests of the Academy. Every second spent exploring the castle and its many hidden passages or reading about the myths and vampire lore would send goosebumps running over my arms. However, just like Kerri Maniscalco is fantastic at raising chills and turning stomachs, she's also great at lessening the tension by adding humor and adorable banter between the characters.

Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell have managed to steal my heart and I love how well they belong together. Sure, I love them as a couple, but one thing to admire about them above everything else is that they are partners in crime. Their friendship and feelings for each other take a step back whenever they have a mystery to solve and seeing them piece clues togetherwhile trapping themselves in unfortunate situationsis spectacularly exciting. 

However, my heart did suffer for Audrey Rose who's still understandably shaken by the case of Jack the Ripper. Reading about her facing her trauma alone is tough because how can one recover after such a terrible ordeal? And yet Audrey Rose is not one to give in to her fears that easily, she fights it head on like the smart and capable young lady that we have grown to admire while proving left and right that she has what it takes to study forensics and solve even the most gruesome cases. No prince (dead or alive), headmaster, or even our Thomas Cresswell can put a damper on who she really is and what she stands for.

Final Verdict:

Hunting Prince Dracula certainly lived up to its predecessor and you won't hear anything but praise from me! Bloody, tenebrous, and more than captivating, readers will eagerly follow the dangerous trail left by the most popular vampire in history in the company of a dynamic duo that give Sherlock Holmes and John Watson a run for their money!

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