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.
Review: 3 Stars
I was pretty excited for this book, but it wasn’t as incredible as I had anticipated it to be. I picked this up because I really loved one of Jenn Bennett’s previous novels, Starry Eyes (read my review here), even though I’m not a big fan of contemporary romance novels. When I heard that she was writing a fantasy novel I was absolutely thrilled. But I feel like this book was more of a historical romance with some fantasy elements. I found it to be pretty similar to Starry Eyes actually, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. In both books a girl and her ex lover/boyfriend go on an adventure where absolutely everything goes wrong and they wind up reconnecting. While it was full of banter and an enjoyable read, I had just expected it to have more fantasy elements to it.
The plot felt kind of slow paced and drawn out for me. There were a lot of filler chapters that focused more on the romance than the adventure. I also didn’t even realize that this wasn’t set in modern day until about a quarter way through the book. It just felt like a modern read to me, the only thing that felt historical was the research about the original Dracula. At about 45% in the fantasy elements finally showed up and I found myself getting more invested in the story. Even though the book was under 400 pages it just felt really long and drawn out to me. I think the slow paced romance just wasn’t for me.
I found Theodora and Huck to be fun characters to read about. There was lots of banter between them and they felt like real people. Jenn Bennett has a talent bringing her characters to life by sharing their interests and hobbies with the reader. I also really enjoyed how Huck always messed up proverbs, it added a humorous element to the book during heavier scenes. All of these little things that Jenn Bennett includes in her books makes her characters stronger and feel like real people. While I didn’t really love the romance between Theo and Huck I loved both of them individually.
Overall I am a little disappointed because after I loved Starry Eyes so much I thought that I would love Jenn Bennett writing fantasy even more. If you are looking for a fantasy adventure novel I might look elsewhere, but if you enjoy romance or are a big fan of Jenn Bennett I would totally give this one a shot.