Hi friends! I’m back with another review, and before I get down to the nitty-gritty*, I have a question for you guys: should I post more reviews? I’ll let that question simmer and (book) shimmy in your mind while I get on with it!
*courtesy of Scott Rogasasky
In this third installment in the #1 bestselling Stalking Jack the Ripper series, a luxurious ocean liner becomes a floating prison of scandal, madness, and horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer. .
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.
But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?
Okay. So. I binge-read the previous two books in this series earlier this year, and was slightly underwhelmed with the first one??? I enjoyed Hunting Prince Dracula much more though, and was hoping this would only improve.
BRENDAN URIE AS WRONG WHEN HE SAID TO HAVE HIGH HIGH HOPES FOR A LIVING.
Anyway. Let’s start positive! I actually really enjoyed the atmosphere of the Moonlight Carnival. The players, the cards, the evening shows – I was so swept away! Of course me, being a fantasy junkie, was slightly disappointed that there was no real magic (although I knew going into the book that it was not fantasy at all?).
Also, Thomas Cresswell guys. I liked him before this one but oh. Oh. There’s so much good in him, and he’s the perfect Gryffinpuff!
And I didn’t guess the murderer! For the first time in this series! But that was due to one, small, travesty:
Our lovely main character, Audrey Rose. And the um…excuse me…ASDFGHJKL romance!
Because here’s how it played out:
Audrey Rose: Oh my, there’s a murderer aboard the ship, I know exactly what’s I’ll do!
Everyone else, including the readers: Team up with your partner, the love of your life, whom you’ve also solved two notorious crimes with so you can also maintain a respectable distance from the performers who might be murderers?
Audrey Rose, laughing: Of course not! Obviously, the only way to go about this is to cozy up to the ringmaster and play his games (without falling in love with his mysterious, chiseled face DON’T WORRY I KNOW MY FEELINGS) and get reallly close to that group of people who might just be murdering women. Oh! And I will tell NO ONE, not even the person who trusts me the most and I claim I trust the most!
Everyone else: ????
I knew going into this that there would be a love triangle was only slightly disappointed, considering I adore healthy love triangles. This was a donut cheeseburger stacked with onion rings, French Fries, and for some reason maple bacon fried in all the fat*. I’m dreadfully angry about this! Literally, Audrey Rose was so enamored with this mysterious ringmaster that she spent allllllll the time with him for the “purposes of solving the case”. YET let me make a list of my complaints:
- She treated Thomas like dirt.
- She was lying to everyone about everything.
- And finally: the mystery totally lost its interest because Audrey Rose was blinded to all the clues, all the leads, and all the everything.
*sorry, I get really passionate about food
Let me stop in with my rating real quick to break up this rant:
Back to scheduled programming.
I felt that the mystery was so repetitive, and lacked depth. Maybe it was because Audrey Rose was so distracted all the time? I just felt the romance was so pointless as a whole, and took so much away from what made this series good in the first place. Thomas honestly deserves better, because while she was scheming and lying to his face, he still treated her with respect and love. That is goals right there.
Also, that whole sub-plot thing with Houdini was pointless too?! Like, he barely had any time AT ALL and then it just…ended? Excuse me, but I demand some sort of character development.
The epilogue was the one saving point of this entire train-wreck but it only hammered in how freaking pointless the romance was. It honestly ruined the entire plot, the whole character dynamic, and the relationship Kerri Maniscalco so carefully crafted in the previous two books. Although I’m really interested in how the ARC ended, because I know they’re different???
So that’s it! I tried to keep this shorter, and less of a rant, but it still ended up being quite long haha. Maybe it’s more of a 3 star read…Tell me: have you read this book? Anything in this series?