“She walks with grace upon the clouds, and the stars know her by name.”
A web of passions, ancient bloodlines, looming war, allies, traitors, and vengeance…
Aside from the obvious cover lust that I have for this book…. I really, really wanted to love this book, but by no means do I think it is terrible. I absolutely love the tight knit community of characters and how intricate the world that Ross has woven is. Interesting and original where things are not quite as they appear, I felt like I was taken back to a fantasy version of renaissance France with the threat of a an ancient magical realm holding all the secrets.
While Brienna is trying to earn her passion cloak, I loved the comradeship that grows between the girls during their schooling at the House of Magnalia. Magnalia itself seemed like a whimsical place that had a magic of it’s own within its walls where girls learn their passions through Art, Music, Drama, Wit, and Knowledge. And though romance was not the focal point of this story, the ship is real between Brienna and Cartier! The bond that Brienna makes with her patron was my favorite part of her journey. We can see and feel her becoming who she is meant to be.
Ross’ writing is poetic and visually stunning, but I struggled through the plot which felt lost in between the passion and magic system as well as Brienna’s struggle within herself. It became confusing at times. Though the ending was not what I had anticipated being and not engaging for me, I do recommend this to readers who love complex magic systems and historical fantasy lore. I am hopeful for a more confident and daring Brienna in book two!
Original Title: The Queen’s Rising
Audience: YA readers, ages 14+
I found this book to be a refreshing take on Victorian London in 1888. We are introduced to Miss Audrey Rose Wadsworth, the daughter of an upper class family whose life’s work is performing autopsies on the dead. Considered to be very unladylike to society, Audrey Rose does not let modern standards define her gender role through tea parties and engagements. Through her voice and her eyes Audrey takes us on a thrilling adventure with dead body’s at every turn leaving more questions than answers as Jack the Ripper hunts the streets of London. With an almost Sherlock and Watson companionship, her associate, Mr. Thomas Cresswell, is with her every step of the way offering us flirtatious and wicked humor all the while keeping a mysterious presence that raises even more questions with Audrey Rose. With time running out, Audrey Rose must stop Jack the Ripper before he gets too close, but could The Ripper be closer than she thinks?
After being in a reading slump for quite some time, Stalking Jack the Ripper quickly got my attention with the first line. I absolutely love Audrey Rose’s voice and her story has risen to becoming one of my favorites. Kerri Maniscalaco wrote Audrey Rose to be a woman ahead of her time with no care for the modern standard of how a lady should be spending her time in society and that her unique passion should not hinder her from becoming whoever she wants. I love how Maniscalaco wrote her to be strong willed and with a strong point of view as her quick wit and banter is deliciously addicting! Stalking Jack the Ripper is thrilling in a world of gothic London with just the right amount of suspense that will keep you asking who did it!
I feel that this book is aimed at the YA audience of ages 14 and over and I would highly recommend this book to fans of the classic Sherlock Holmes and horror stories such as Frankenstein. This book is also recommended to someone looking for a light read with elements of science fiction and historical fiction mixed in. Fans of Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices Series will also enjoy the tone and setting of this book. I am excited to see what is next for Audrey Rose in her next adventure of Hunting Prince Dracula.