Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Dates Read: August 26-September 8, 2019
Format: eARC provided by NetGalley and publisher
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My Goodreads Review
“The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.
Some legends never die…
Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.
Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.
Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.”
This was okay?
I requested this book for one reason, and that is the author. I’m a big fan of Bennett’s contemporaries, so when I saw a YA Historical Fiction from her, I was excited.
This book was a literal chore for me to read. I pushed through it, but it was a pain and just went so so slow. I kept waiting for something in the story to spark something, or to connect with, but it just never came. I think the best thing I can give for this review is a bullet point list of what I like and don’t like. I just don’t have much to say about this one, unfortunately.
What I liked:
• The setting. It was unique and I never see Romania as a setting.
• The dialogue and banter. Theo and Huck were fun together and I loved how they bantered together. It was fun to read because I love humor with my action in any case.
• Action started right away. Basically, you’re tossed into the story. I didn’t feel like we got info dumped either.
What I didn’t like:
• Although I loved their dialogue/banter, I didn’t really like the romance. I didn’t love Huck and Theo’s story and all the sex-shaming that her dad did. The drama felt unnecessary and pointless in that regard. I just didn’t love the romance which is a shame.
• The plot. It started off quite interesting, but after a while, it dulled and I wasn’t able to get into it. The Vlad the Impaler plot/mystery ended up being kind of pointless? I’m not really sure what happened there.
• The pacing. It moved SO SO SLOWLY!
• The ending didn’t work for me. It felt like it was too much at once and wrapped up too quickly.
• The characters. Like I said, I was never much for Huck and Theo. I was not at all invested in them or what might happen to them.
• The writing. I usually love Bennett’s writing style, but this story just felt like a very different author, fell flat, and didn’t resonate with me.
Anyway, overall I thought the book was just an okay read. Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. It may be some other people’s cup of tea, but it just didn’t work for me. I don’t think this is a series…? But even if it was… I wouldn’t be reading on.
** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the in exchange for an honest review. **