This is my favorite installment in the SJTR series!! I love literally everything about this book: the mystery, the characters, the setting, the history, and Audrey Rose’s struggle after the events of SJTR. After the events of SJTR, Audrey Rose and Thomas are going to Romania to study at the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science.
While en route, a strange murder occurs on the Orient Express and it’s staged to look like a vampire was murdered. A similar murder occurs in the outskirts of the town where the Academy is. Fear is running rampant in the villagers that a strigoi is killing innocent people. While Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their assessment to determine who will remain at the Academy, a fellow classmate of theirs is murdered and has their blood drained. It seems as if whoever is killing people, has followed Audrey Rose and Thomas to the academy.
Audrey Rose has difficulty focusing on her studies with the dead after the shocking events at the conclusion of SJTR. She is grieving, trying to put the case of the Ripper behind her, and having only mediocre success at either. It doesn’t help that while Thomas clearly cares for her, he is doing everything to suffocate Audrey with his protection. I loved the development of their relationship in this installment. We see how they both make mistakes and how they deal with them together.
There’s something about the setting of Vlad Dracula’s castle, plus the history of Romania that’s woven into this tale. It causes the atmosphere to be rife with tension, danger and intrigue. I loved that the Romanian Royal Family was involved. We also get to learn a bit more about Thomas’s past and meet his sister! I loved Daciana and I wish she had been more involved in the story. I can’t wait to set sail with Audrey Rose and Thomas on the RMS Etruria.