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.
Warnings: self-mutilation, plane crash
The Lady Rogue is full of adventure and mystery, with the heroine Theodora searching for her father across Romania, while being chased by a secret society. Theodora Fox is the daughter of a treasure hunter, Richard Fox, and she has had an interesting childhood in that she has followed her father on his trips everywhere – only thing being, she is never allowed to participate in his hunts, and instead it is her best friend/crush/foster brother (Theo can argue but that’s what it is!) Huck who gets to accompany her father. At the start of the book, we only know that Huck had left a year ago, Theo was hurting and currently her father is lost, while Huck is back to supposedly escort her to the next stop on their trip. Things between them are rocky, obviously, but they have to get along, especially when its clear they are in danger, being chased by goons of some secret society and the only clues being her father’s journal and a prior trip where he was hunting down Vlad Tepes’ cursed ring.
The story has good pacing, and a brilliantly written protagonist. Theo is smart, witty, passionate and ready to step into danger for those she loves. Huck, meanwhile, is basically the comic relief, and is sweet, but also prone to complaining (he cautioned more than a worried grandmother, through the trip). Their bickering is common ground for them to restart their thing on. While through the book they rekindle their relationship, their romance is already developed and just waiting for them to step back into it. Aside from these two, the other characters are mostly a blip, as would be the case in a travel-based story. Richard Fox, though, was a character you don’t really see in the book but is written out through his journal entries. I gotta say, though – his reaction to them being a couple was a bit too far; I honestly thought it was much worse (like half-siblings worse) than just him being overprotective of his daughter, and not liking that his foster son might become his son-in-law. Considering that his approval was such a thorn in their relationship, it was resolved much easily.
Finally, to the trip itself – it is amazing! It starts in Istanbul, then goes over to Romania, where it goes off-track (literally, ha!) to shake off pursuers and them finding their way back to the places where her father might have been. The secret/twist/whatever was easy enough to spot early on, but I liked how it progressed to the reveal. The magic is low-key, but lends to an air of mystique, as does the co-opting of local legends into the story, making the Eastern European setting quite atmospheric. I did, at times, gets hit with a wave of anachronism, because I kept feeling like the setting was half a century or more earlier but then something a character would say would sound so modern (like FYI) that I would have to like shake myself and remember it is 1937.
Overall, though, this book is an exciting adventure, with a lovable couple and a good mystery at its core.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Simon Pulse, via Netgalley.
Releases on September 3, 2019