Both Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula had been on my TBR for ages. I mean, historical YA fiction? Forensics and science? Creepy stories? Sign me the frick up.
I’d heard amazing things about both of these books, and even better things about listening to them on audio. So I decided to listen to Stalking Jack the Ripper on audio and read Hunting Prince Dracula and I can 100% say that both reading experiences were different but equally as exciting. These two books were just so spine-tingling and captivating, and I’m so pleased I finally got around to reading them! I need more books by Kerri Maniscalco.
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.
WOW. Two words: THIS BOOK. And now I’ll proceed to write 500 more words about just how phenomenal Stalking Jack the Ripper was. What I loved most about it was the Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein vibes it gave me. It sent shivers down my spine, made me feel like I couldn’t trust anyone, and I was desperate to reach the end to find out whether my suspicions would be confirmed. I listed to Stalking Jack the Ripper on audio and it was such a great listening experience, and if you’re yet to read this book, I highly recommend checking out the audiobook. It’s atmospheric and creepy, and just plain delightful.
While it did take a little while for me to really get into this novel, once I did, I didn’t want to put it down. Well… pause the audio, because I was listening to it. I loved how every little detail that was revealed made me question who I thought was behind it, and although I did end up picking who Jack the Ripper was early on, I didn’t feel that my discovery affected how much I enjoyed this novel. It was dark and twisted, and there were some really unsettling scenes, but this isn’t a scary book as such. I think it’s the perfect read for a cold wintery night when you’re wrapped up in a blanket in your darkened room, shadows dancing from the candlelight. I’ll definitely be listening to it again soon.
I also loved how accurate the science and forensic aspects of this novel were, which was evidenced by the author’s note at the end of the novel. I didn’t know anything about Jack the Ripper before reading this novel, and although Stalking Jack the Ripper is a work of fiction, its deeply entrenched in the real occurrences of the past. To me, that was both brilliant and terrifying. The scenes where our protagonist cut open cadavers or spoke of blood trickling across the floor were unsettling yet fantastically well-written, and I had no trouble picturing the gruesome things going on, despite having very little knowledge of science or forensic examinations.
Audrey Rose was my kind of protagonist. As a young woman living in the Victorian era and from a wealthy family meant that her interest in science and her uncle’s practices was constantly questioned by those around her and some of the male characters attempted to ‘protect’ her. I loved her feminist attitudes and how she questioned why she wasn’t allowed to do things her male counterparts could do without having to ask permission. She fought against the misogyny ingrained in society and the sexism that was so prevalent during that time, and she was such a badass, strong woman, and I loved getting to know her. We need more characters like Audrey Rose in historical YA fiction.
Ultimately, Stalking Jack the Ripper is a chilling and twisted story about science, high society in the Victorian era, and family. It was a book that kept me wanting to read on, and I loved how atmospheric and creepy it was. If you’re a fan of historical YA fiction and like stories such as Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein, then I can’t recommend this book enough!
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.
I thought it was going to be pretty hard to top Stalking Jack the Ripper, but Hunting Prince Dracula really surprised me in that it was even better than what I expected. This book. Was. Phenomenal. I was hooked from the very beginning and what I loved most about it was that we already knew Audrey and Thomas so well from the previous book that we could just launch straight into the action. AND OH GOODNESS. It was just as dark and twisted as Stalking Jack the Ripper except this time, I had even less of an idea about how it was going to end. WOW.
This book was so delightful and atmospheric. Set in a Romanian castle, it was everything I could have hoped for. The medical scenes were unsettling, the descriptions of the castle itself meant that I could almost see the flickering candlelight against the worn stone and brick, and the eery quality that settled over this narrative made it one that was equally captivating and creepy. Hunting Prince Dracula was suspenseful, morbid, and macabre, and I’m already looking forward to getting my hands on the next instalment.
As I listened to Stalking Jack the Ripper on audio, it was a completely different experience to be able to read it and see all the case files and letters that were inserted. It added a whole new dimension to the experience. I felt like I was just there, collecting clues alongside Audrey Rose and trying to work out the identity of Prince Dracula. However, it’s clear that Audrey is the Sherlock Holmes in this situation, because I was completely baffled about who was responsible right up until everything was revealed. AND THAT TWIST. I’m still shook.
And ahh, Audrey and Thomas. ALL THE HEART-EYE EMOJIS. I fell in love with them as a duo in Stalking Jack the Ripper, but wow, my love for them soared to new heights in this one. Like with the previous book, there was a bit of mystery surrounding Thomas, and that made him even more irresistible. There’s nothing I love more than a boy who’s hiding something. And Audrey was just as much as a badass feminist as she as in the first book, and I just loved these two together. If I got murdered, I’d want these two to find my killer and avenge me – as long as I got to be a ghost and watched them solve the crime together. If you’ve read Stalking Jack the Ripper and love YA crime with a side-serve of romance, then Hunting Price Dracula is a sequel not to be missed.
Have you read these two yet? What are some of your favourite historical fiction YA novels? Does this sound like something you’d be interested in reading? I’d love to know!
Thanks to Hachette Australia for providing me with Hunting Prince Dracula in exchange for an honest review!