This is still part of that grouping of posts where I “valiantly” try to catch up with my pile of books I’ve read. We’re nearly to the end of this thank goodness, since I’m going to try to be more on top of my reviews (I really don’t want a repeat of this). Have you guys ever gone a while without reviewing and then try to catch up? How did you get through it? Any tips/recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!
So, to get into what this post is truly about, let’s get into the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, and yes I do mean series (at least what’s published)! True to form I am yet again behind on picking up an amazing series, though hear me out on this one. That first page is a doozy when trying to figure out if this book is for you. There is a nice Gordy picture and the actual description on that page can make you cringe, but that’s what the series revolves around; death and the macabre. I may have been a wee bit desensitized at this point (just a little).
Honestly, I should have just gotten the book after reading the synopsis, that way I would have read these books sooner. Instead, I let the first page scare me off (the shame!!). From here, I’m going to split the review up based on each novel, that way I don’t accidentally spoil/ruin a book for anyone reading this. There are of course still spoilers since this is reviewing my thoughts on each book, so heads up. The first book will be the most in depth, to answer that age old question of whether to read the series or not, but the other books I’ll try to give my reasoning on why I kept inhaling the series, so hopefully this helps anyone on the fence!
Synopsis (Stalking Jack the Ripper)
Besides the whole death and goriness, what is this series about? It’s a five novel series (last book comes out Sept. 10th) following Audrey Rose Wadsworth (I’ll try to keep this strictly to the first book so no one gets spoiled) as she works with her uncle on one of the most infamous police cases of all time; Jack the Ripper. The biggest barrier for her solving the case though isn’t technology or physical evidence, but that she is a woman. In order to work under her uncle, not only does she have to lie to her father but dress as a boy to attend school. The Ripper case though brings her further into harm’s way as she stalks the same dark streets in order to catch the serial killer before his next kill.
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The first novel in the series did a great job of building interest from the very beginning. There was of course the autopsy to get past on the first page, so I got a tiny bit squeamish, but the angle of Audrey Rose being a woman doing a man’s job (Especially in the Victorian era) was incredibly intriguing. Add in her first run in with her uncle’s other pupil and there’s definitely an air of mystery with that darkness and murder that already encompasses the case of Jack the Ripper. Each of the main cast of characters made this book become nearly impossible to put down, and are what compelled me to continue the series since each book covers not only a different locale, but case as well, each one escalating the danger to Audrey and her partner in crime solving, Thomas. There is also a definite Sherlock and Watson vibe that the two give off, especially with Thomas’s knack for noticing those pesky and almost hidden details. This book might have started with making me squeamish, but quickly it evolved into a dramatic and intense rush to stop a killer before another young woman can be targeted.
Hunting Prince Dracula
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
If Stalking Jack the Ripper was a rush of adrenaline as the mystery unfolds then Hunting Prince Dracula is the darker side of that emotion. In this novel Audrey Rose and Thomas go to Romania to the top school for Forensic Medicine; a great opportunity and escape from the trauma of unmasking Audrey’s own brother in the last novel. Still haunted by the sight of her mother’s desecrated corpse, Audrey is doing everything she can to cope and hide it from Thomas, but even new opportunities can darken as bodies are popping up over the country, all hinting at the existence of vampires. Now, Audrey and Thomas must solve a series of murders in order to dispel the rumors of Dracula returning and save themselves from being the next victims.
This book was possibly my favorite of the three as Audrey and Thomas seem to work the most together in this one and do everything possible to stay connected even as they are split up (Victorian etiquette for women). We are far from the majority of the side characters in this one, but are given a much better view into who Thomas is and his past as they become a major part of the investigation. Throw in one of Dracula’s castles, typically sexist Victorian men, Thomas trying to look out for Audrey, and Audrey coping with trauma and this book went by very quickly. I thought I’d only read this one and wait to get the third closer to the final book release, but Hunting Prince Dracula drove me to find out more, and made me tweak that buying plan.
Escaping from Houdini
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
In Escaping from Houdini, Audrey Rose and Thomas join up with her Uncle as he is called to America to assist in a new case. Both have agreed to not disclose their intention to marry, since they haven’t spoken to her father, but their happiness is quickly thrown to the wind as a series of murders occur on the ship and not only is everyone a suspect but in danger. There is also a carnival just starting that promises even more mystery and possibly death as Audrey, Thomas, and her Uncle work as fast as they can to assess the bodies already lining up, and solve who is at the heart of the murders before the ship can reach land.
Honestly, this was my least favorite of the books. It was still really enjoyable and had me glued to what would happen next, but Audrey and Thomas had me nearly up a wall. It felt like one conversation with Mephistopheles starts up a whole slew of drama, a love triangle, and so many communication issues between her and Thomas. The whole time I was repeating to myself multiple solutions she could have taken, but instead of her working to mend the strain in their relationship she is getting attracted to this dude, who she hasn’t even seen the face of. It was all kinds of stressful, frustrating, and perplexing. I still loved reading this, but good lord Audrey was the weak link for me in this one.
Bonus: Becoming the Dark Prince
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
This was the side novella recently released in anticipation of the last novel coming in September. It’s not the shortest novella I’ve read, but it isn’t very long for sure. It was a great side read after the stress of Escaping from Houdini. If you find yourself needing some relief after all the events of the third book then this is definitely a good read to pick up! It follows Thomas’s perspective through parts of Escaping from Houdini, so yay back to the stress, but the last parts were the best part and a stress reliever.