Hi friends! I’m here after publishing my Capturing the Devil review (aka the fourth and final book of the SJTR series) and I got a few comments saying people were torn about this series. So I wanted to give my unbiased, objective-as-possibe thoughts on the series as a whole. Although you can always check out my rather…lively reviews if you so choose! So let’s do this!
so, what’s the series about?
Stalking Jack the Ripper. Hunting Prince Dracula. Escapting From Houdini. Capturing the Devil. You know, normal stuff.
okay, be helpful.
I am helpful*. Stalking Jack the Ripper follows a girl named Audrey Rose who studies forensic medicine on dead bodies. That’s pretty freaking awesome. Anyways, she’s drawn into a series of serial killer murders, and she’s forced into a race against time to solve them with her uncle and his new apprentice Thomas Cresswell.
*originally i wasn’t paying attention and wrote unhelpful. even my instincts know the truth.
ooh, sounds interesting! but what exactly is so unique about it?
- Historical fiction + mystery + a sort of slow burn romance. Each installment in this series features notable characters, events, and places in history. It makes for so much potential.
- Because of the extremely sexist period these books are set in, it’s so refreshing seeing Audrey Rose defy societal expectations and chase her own dreams, her own passions. And the other female characters that appear throughout the series are great too!
- The romance is fantastic. The love interest is sassy and brilliant. And there are so many incredible moments.
well then, sounds great! is each book this good???
Well. It depends on what you’re looking for!
Stalking Jack The Ripper has great atmosphere, a well-paced plot, and perfect banter. The ending of the mystery can be predictable, even a little far-fetched, but it’s still enjoyable.
Hunting Prince Dracula somehow is even better as a sequel. The setting, while different, is still great. Both Thomas and Audrey Rose grow tremendously as characters, and in their relationships with each other. Surprisingly, the mystery is even better, with more complexity.
Escaping From Houdini has another great setting, and a circus-esque cast of characters. For better or for worse, there is a love triangle. And the mystery is extravagant, atmospheric, and ultimately, disappointing. Without spoiling the details, the third book in this series isn’t bad as an individual installment. It simply lacks any importance in the growth of the series as a whole.
Capturing the Devil is the culmination of the series. There’s more great banter, atmosphere, and complex characters. However, the romance overtakes the mystery in importance. The character development and plot pace stalls, and ultimately suffers all for the sake of the romance.
There’s a chasm, deep and wide, between the first and second halves of this series. Neither half is better or worse than the other. In fact, the series is overall enjoyable. Where this series suffers is execution, with balancing plot and romance. I think Maniscalco’s decision to write a fantasy romance after finishing this series does more or less reflect some of the fourth book’s more controversial content. I hope this helped you decide somewhat on whether this series is worth it! Tell me your thoughts!