Hi bookish friends! I hope that your day has been as chilly as mine! (I like the cold, and that is why I am wishing you cold weather.) And if you are somewhere where it is 60 degrees or over, than I am severely sorry for you. My condolences on your loss.
I’m sure that many of you in the ya book community have heard of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco. If you haven’t, you are wrong. If you are not in the wrong, then you should know how wonderful these books are. (Again, if you disagree, you are wrong.) I happen to love them – surprise, surprise – and am here today to share with you my review for the third book, Escpaing from Houdini (furthermore, it shall be referred to as EFH).
Warning ya, guys and gals, this review is a long one. (It also includes “highlight” spoilers … only read if you have read this book! I think that they are pretty spoilery, so please take that into account!)
(today’s gifs are courtesy of the brilliant movie Victor Frankenstein. you should watch it.)
So this is the third book – as I had already said – in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. I’ll admit, after reading the first book and hearing that there would be more, I was skeptical. I mean, how conveniently placed could one character be to run into all of these famous murders/mysteries?
The second book both strengthened and alleviated my fears. I didn’t love it, but it had its redeeming qualities (read my review for more info *wink wink*). So, of course, I was just as skeptical going into this. I WAS BLOWN AWAY. It wasn’t as good as the first one (of course), but aaaaaack!
Escaping From Houdini is placed on a boat and … wait for it … placed in a carnival. Yup. After reading Legendary recently, I have one again been obsessed with magical carnivals. While EFH wasn’t quite magical, it was sooo good.
There’s another Smashing and Dashing character that I ADORED. Sort of. But it created quite the interesting dynamic between Audrey Rose and Thomas. Lotsa drama. Lotsa deaths. Very good.
I did get annoyed with Audrey Rose, but overall, I could relate to her the most in this book.
As I had just said, Audrey Rose was the most relatable to me in this book. I quite enjoyed her. (Though, c’mon, girl! Appreciate Thomas and his … Thomas-ness more!) She played a somewhat different role in this book than the others. While she has never been one to just hang back, she took the lead in EFH. It was actually kind of refreshing (especially seeing her after her “brilliant” plans failed *maniacal laughter*).
Unfortunately, we missed out a lot of Thomas in this book. (I know – I’m crying, too.) Along with that, the little that we DO see of him, he’s not his normal self (with reason, with reason). He’s a little bit of an emotional wreck – at least, for him. He’s still sassy, thank the lord, and is very intelligent. And I loved how he maturely handled situations, proving that he isn’t just a bundle of good looks and comebacks.
Mephistopheles, however… He’s the new character that we are introduced to. I was constantly tossed back and forth between loving and hating him. I loved him because he was sort of the New and Improved Thomas Cresswell, and he is so dark and mysterious and suave and I loved him. HOWEVER, he was trying to takeover from Thomas, and, um, NO SIR. I DON’T THINK THAT I INVITED YOU HERE.
I wish that we got to see more of Uncle. He was constantly hovering just off-page, but rarely we got to see him, despite his name being constantly mentioned. All of the performers are, like, my new favs. (It was also super fun to see some of Liza again.)
Ahhhhhhh, be still my beating heart. I LOVE Ms Maniscalco’s writing! It is just yes. Super beautiful and gothic (unfortunately, this book was quite as gothic as the others *shrugs*). Just love it. Also, how can she write the witty dialogue???? I am in love.
The plot kept giving my brain whiplash. I was constantly throwing my suspicions from character to character as to who was the guilty party and in the end it turned out that I wasn’t even right! The mystery aspect is written SUPER well. Loved it. (Also, the opening chapter????? Sooo good!)
In the end, not all of the mysteries were wrapped up, which drove me crazy, but in a good way! (I’m hoping that we get to see more of that in the next book…)
This, IMO, felt a little slower than the others. Not quite as gothic. NOT AS MUCH THOMAS CRESSWELL, AHEM.
Putting pettiness aside, there was a large plot thread about Audrey Rose and Thomas vs Mephistopheles. Honestly, this whole part annoyed me. I feel like if it had been written slightly different, I would’ve been fine. Audrey Rose just annoyed me SO MUCH in these regards. Highlight for spoilers -> How Audrey Rose strung both boys along, and how she knew that it was wrong just rubbed me wrong. I’ll be completely honest, as much as I love Thomas (and prefer him over Meph), I would have been fine – after some crying – if she had chosen Meph. If it had been written differently. Audrey Rose only wanted him for his mystery, not out of anything truly romantic.
My biggest pet peeve with the book, however, was how it ended. When I first read it, I thought that I had zoned out or something (which is entirely possible … haha, I was super tired XD ), so I reread it …. and it still didn’t make sense. The tone changed COMPLETELY within two chapters and it didn’t feel in-canon with the characters. I don’t know. I mean, don’t get me wrong! I liked how it ended! But still. Again, highlight for spoilers -> I felt that Thomas’s actions didn’t fit with his personality. I would have much preferred for them to end rockily and for Audrey Rose to chase after him the next book. Back to Thomas: how he was cold and distant fit super well with his character, and I actually loved it! But how he ran back to Audrey Rose? I dunno. It didn’t seem to fit with my image of him, I guess.
Okay, rants are over. 😉
So, while this book still didn’t beat SJtR, it was suuuuper good. Glad I preorder it so that I could creepily stroke its cover while I finished my stack of library books (I also got the tarot cards and hoooly smokes, they’re gorgeous!).
For those of you who have not started the series, hello, read it *smacks you with all three books*, but also, read the whole series!!!! It’s still super good! For those of you who have only read numero uno or dois, KEEP GOING. WHY HATH THOU STOPPED????
Kissing and severed limbs and gruesome deaths and affairs ensue. Be forewarned.
In conclusion, this book made me feel feels and was gorgeous and aaaaaahhhh, I don’t wanna wait a whole ‘nother year!
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Has anyone else watched Victor Frankenstein? It’s been my newest obsession!!! Back to the book – who else is entirely unprepared for the series finale? I’m not! *dies* *dies twice* Srsly, though. If you haven’t read the books, you should!!! What’s YOUR favorite retelling? Let me know down below! 😀