Huge thanks to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date.
This book was everything I was looking for, which is to say I was looking for a sassy protagonist, a sexy Irish lad, and an Indiana Jones-like adventure. I sure got it.
Theo’s dad is a treasure hunter who suddenly finds himself wrapped up in a mystery and goes missing. Along with the boy named Huck who broke her heart years before and a journal, Theo sets out to find her father, as well as crack the secrets of a ring, reportedly worn by none other than Vlad the Impaler. Or Dracula for you simpletons. What starts as a simple task, their journey takes them deeper and deeper into some shady and dangerous stuff. All while running from a weirdo with a wolf and dodging feelings, Theo and Huck take their travels through Romania and into some creepy places to find both the ring and Theo’s dad.
So, when I said this book was like Indiana Jones, it WAS like Indiana Jones, but for the YA crowd so I was here for it. I mean, I was there before the line even formed. We got an angsty teen and the boy who left her, for reasons we come to know, who have to team up together. I mean, this is GOLD. We’ve got train rides, and boat rides, and camping, and lots of hiding. We have protagonists who bounce dialogue off each other like it’s nothing. I loved it all.
Theo was an unapologetic go-getter; she likes what she likes and she finds a way to get what she doesn’t. Huck was also adorable. They have a tumultuous history which adds to the tension. I probably would have liked a little more about their history as it did seem a little vague, but that wasn’t a deal breaker. I would have liked more of a character arc for both of them, especially Huck. One bug that I kept having to swat was the history with these two and why Huck had left Theo before. For some reason, it was sort of strange seeing as they had lived together and decided to take their relationship a step further, which resulted in Huck’s banishment from the household. There’s some immaturity in the situation, which this is a book about teens, so it’s whatever.
The treasure hunting had a Da Vinci code feel to it, and Bennet did take liberties with some aspects of Vlad The Impaler history, but that was all good.
What I didn’t feel like I was completely sold on was the ending. I felt like Theo’s dad was glossed over a bit, even though he was the main reason (as well as the ring of course) for the journey. I wanted him to have a bigger part. I wanted Huck to hash it out with what her father had done to him as well as to Theo, and I felt it was glossed over a bit. Maybe I’m asking for too much. I don’t know…
Other than those minor issues, I loved reading this book. I love European settings, funny banter, and romance so I give this book 4/5.