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.
I’m a huge fan of Jenn Bennett books. She was written amazing contemporaries and I have loved her stories and her characters. This one is definitely more on the fantasy side, and I was looking forward to seeing how she writes a different genre! Plus, Theodora sounded amazing and I love treasure hunting books
I’m not sure what to make of my feelings for this book. I know I’m saying this more and more often about books haha. It has the same feel as Bennett’s other books. The characters and the writing definitely seem like her style, but the plot was very different. Which isn’t a bad thing, I just had a few issues with it.
I loved Theodora. I loved her strength, her personality, her interests, and pretty much everything else about her. She’s unapologetic in what she wants; she just goes for the things she wants. She gets herself into precarious situations all the time and is fascinated with everything strange and paranormal. She knows who she is and she likes it.
I also really liked Huck! I didn’t think I would be as invested in their relationship as I was. They have a lot of history before the book starts, which is hit or miss for me. But, it worked out really well here. How they interacted with each other was so entertained and they were both adorable. It was really cool to see them have animosity towards each other and work through that while also running across the country.
Theo and Huck were both amazing characters that had a lot of depth and were really amazing. But, I also would have liked for them to both have more development and for more focus to be on them. Their backstories are touched on, but it’s more glossed over in favor of moving on to other things. I was able to connect with them a lot, but I think it would have been a lot deeper if more focus was put on their development. It was more like they figured things out at the end, then really went through a change. Which isn’t a bad thing! But I think certain aspects could have been worked out more.
There was less treasure hunting in this book than I thought. It’s more trekking across the country with treasure hunting slipped in. I enjoyed reading it and I think overall it was well done, but I was kind of hoping for more. More digging up artifacts, more supernatural, more intense dangerous situations. There were also a few clues dropped throughout that never quite led anywhere. It seemed weird to mention them so specifically and then sort of leave them hanging?
Nevertheless, what treasure hunting there was and what mystery did take place was fascinating to read. I liked learning about the ring and how it traveled and why people wanted it so badly.
There were was also an emotional piece of this story that I felt wasn’t worked through at all. It sort of just ended, with the hope that everything would work out. It feels like some of the emotional development was pushed to the side in favor of the plot and the romantic relationship. I usually wouldn’t mind, but it feels like all three of them weren’t as strong as they could have been. Because of this, part of the ending feels frustrating to me. I want more out of it and I wish more could have happened between some of the characters. It could have been brought together more.
All in all, this book was enjoyable. I really liked the characters and the road trip they went on was interesting to read, if not what I expected. The core mystery was really well done and the high stakes scenes that did happen, were really awesome. This is a really solid book and hopefully Bennett writes another fantasy book in the future, cause I think it will be amazing!
Thank you for reading!