Book Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (3.5/5)

33784373In this sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper, forensic prodigy Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her dashing friend Thomas have traveled to Bran Castle to attend a forensic academy. However, there is trouble afoot. First, a murder in the paper. Second, a murder on the train. Third, a dead classmate. It seems as if the immortal prince has returned from the dead.

First – this isn’t fantasy-fantasy. It’s historical fiction, so there’s no actual vampires.

I loved Stalking Jack the Ripper, so of course I grabbed the next book in the series. I loved Audrey Rose and her forward thinking mind; I loved 1888 London; and I loved the whodunit plot involving the infamous Jack the Ripper.


My biggest complaint with book 1 was that Audrey Rose’s introspective narration intruded on the sense of scene and weighed the plot down. Hunting Prince Dracula is WORSE. So much of her internal dialog could have been edited out. The book felt so dense at times, like reading something from the 1888s (not a compliment). While I adore that sense of setting withing the writing itself, it was too much. Audrey’s narrative repeated itself from chapter to chapter, like how much grief she felt at her brother’s loss and tragedy and how she worried about not being able to “fit in” as the only female student at the academy, and how the indecency of naughty thoughts about boys!

And then there’s the feminist side of this book. I liked that aspect of the first book, how Audrey was fighting to be seen as an equal, not as woman who couldn’t do anything. This is another thing that book 2 blew out of the water. It seemed like every other scene involved her being put down because of her sex, or thinking about how she was being put down or how she might be – it got old and fast.

And, just like the first book, I called the murderer when they first appeared. Now, I admit, there were plot twists that made me think twice about that character. I enjoyed that. Kept me thinking and guessing. But, without spoiling too much – the plot at the end of book 2 is very repetitive of the ending of book 1.

Audrey’s constant feminist attitude and thoughts coupled with the f/f relationship felt too much like the author’s attempts to shove her thoughts on those topics at the reader. Not that I think the f/f relationship was poorly done or shouldn’t have been there. That’s not what I mean. I mean that the way it was presented, how it was described, what was described – it felt as if the author was very heavily pushing her ideas, suggesting that she was informing the reader that any other way of thinking was wrong. That is what rubbed me the wrong way.Both the feminist and f/f views felt too modern for the 1888s.

You have girls that like girls in your book? Cool. Don’t make it a big deal. Let them be them, and don’t try to showcase it as a “look, I have gay people in my novel so I’m being inclusive!” thing.

I loved the gothic atmosphere, but urgh, the plot felt buried. So much detail about the castle. So much oddly insightful details about other people that Audrey just happen to think of while doing something else that probably should have taken her whole attention. So much everything but plot.

About the 4/5 mark of this book, I was ready for it to be over. I just wanted it to be done. I started skimming, and I skimmed a lot. I don’t feel like I missed anything but unnecessary narration.

What I think happened is that Stalking Jack the Ripper did so well, they pushed Hunting Prince Dracula out before it was ready. It need more attention, stricter editing, and a sharp eye. That’s not the author’s fault. It’s the editor and publisher.

So, I give Hunting Prince Dracula a 3.5 out of 4. It was boring. It got old. The plot was buried. Will I be picking up book 3? Maybe. Not right now, though.

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