I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to post this, but here we are. I didn’t get any reading done this weekend, so there’s that.
I just want to clarify that these are my opinions, not facts, and I still very much enjoyed the book. You may or may not agree, and that’s fine. I needed to vent and talk about the book, and I wrote was could basically be called a journal entry. Since the book has been out for over a month now, I figured I’d share this.
If you want to check out my spoiler free review, you can click here and do that.
Let’s get into the actual post!
On one hand I absolutely loved this book and just want to push these characters at everyone and say, “read it”. For being such a long book – at least longer than the others (I think) it progressed rather quickly. Granted, it could have just been my excitement to finally have this book in my hands that allowed me to read it in a handful of hours across two days. I think I probably spent a total of five hours devouring this? I loved being back in this world, with Audrey Rose and Thomas, watching them solve murders and quipping snarky, cute remarks at each other.
On the other hand, I’m kind of disappointed?
Maybe I’m still mad at Audrey Rose from Escaping from Houdini.
Maybe I wish this book, as the final one, was split between Wadsworth and Cresswell. After reading Becoming the Dark Prince my need for his point of view in these books increased exponentially.
Maybe this book felt too much like fan service? Don’t get me wrong, cute moments between Thomas and Audrey are always wonderful, but the first huge chunk of the book is just that.
Maybe my expectations were too high? I was super excited for the focus of this book to be on H.H. Holmes and his Murder Castle.
Ugh. I just don’t know, and I feel so conflicted – as previously stated.
Honestly, I think it’s a combination of all those things.
I just want to scream, because I can’t find the words, the reasonings to express my feelings right now. Or maybe I want to laugh hysterically? Or cry because I feel like this book didn’t do them justice?
Can you be jealous over a fictional character? That’s like and absurdly ridiculous thing, right? Right?
I know it is. Ugh.
Before Escaping from Houdini, Audrey Rose was one of my favorite female characters. She defied the norms placed on typical Victorian Era ladies, she marched to the beat of her own drum, and faced anything and everything thrown at her with strength and determination.
After Escaping from Houdini, upon reading the Epilogue she was redeemed.
Or, so I thought.
Then I read Becoming the Dark Prince and it brought back the feelings of rage I felt towards her, and how naïve she is. I get needing to figure out who you are and what you want, but damn, you don’t string along the ones you love like that.
Anyways, I digress.
While her character is redeemed…somewhat in Capturing the Devil, I didn’t love her as much as I once did. I found her to be impulsive and willing to take incredibly stupid risks.
And I’m not talking about the risks she takes towards the end of this book when facing H.H. Holmes alone. Because of course she did.
I’m referring to the sheer number of times she and Thomas have sex.
If there is one thing that drives me insane in books, it’s characters who do the dirty without a freaking care in the world to the consequences of not making smart choices.
Yes, this is fiction, yes, it happens in the real world – I get that.
I get that Audrey and Thomas break all the boundaries of the Victorian Era and are very much modern-day people set in the past. But make smart choices! Yes, Liza feeds Audrey a tonic to prevent a pregnancy, but for two scientists, they aren’t very smart. The first part of the book, felt very much like fan service, and yes, while the scenes were romantic and cute (and not at all explicit – if you know what it’s referencing, you’ll understand, otherwise you’re probably too young to be reading this) really nothing happened.
I probably would have dropped the book and stopped reading if Audrey had gotten pregnant early on in the book.
Okay, I would have kept reading, but I would have been pissed and full of rage-y feelings.
I’m not a fan of pregnancy in YA – it’s one of my big turnoffs, so thank you Kerri for not including that.
That was the other thing. The first huge chunk of this book nothing happened. Other than the occasional murder, the scenes consisted of nothing but cutesy Cressworth moments and the inner turmoil of one Audrey Rose Wadsworth.
I get that she’s dealing with a lot. So much has happened to her in the last five months – Nathaniel being killed and convicted as Jack the Ripper, almost dying in Romania, being tricked and stabbed on the Etruria and now finding out that there was clearly someone working with her brother and killing people. I also get that she’s dealing with her own personal struggles and questions about her own moral compass. There’s a lot on her plate and she has to manage. But even knowing that, being in her head constantly was annoying.
I think this stems a lot from my need of a Thomas POV. Becoming the Dark Prince really spoiled me, and I desperately want the whole series from his point of view. Audrey just grew a little tiresome after a while.
As for Thomas – my book boyfriend, because damn I love him – I really wish we’d gotten part of this story from his point of view. So much happens to him in this, namely his shocking betrothal to Miss Whitehall.
Which, can I just mention, was kind of a pointless inclusion? The only purpose it seems to serve is to drive a wedge between Thomas and Audrey – one that doesn’t really work, mind you. Obviously, nothing was going to come of it, because why almost give us a Cressworth wedding, for him to only marry someone else. And to bring Thomas’s father into play – with sudden malicious intentions with blackmailing his children…
I just rolled my eyes. Of course, it created tension, and brought Audrey and Thomas closer…despite Audrey admitting that they shouldn’t carry on, and she wouldn’t be a mistress…I mean, the minute they hit Chicago, they were acting like they were together. It was like they just said “f*ck it” and went about their lives, as if Thomas didn’t have a betrothal contract with someone else. Yes, he didn’t know about it, but for all of Audrey’s “No I will not be the other woman and cause my family shame” she had absolutely no issues with parading around with Thomas.
And yes, Thomas was adamant that he would fix it, and only wanted Audrey and would do anything and everything to be with her, as she would him, but out of sight, out of mind, I guess.
Obviously, I want Cressworth to be end game – I’ve been through too much with these characters to want anything less. I want them to be happy and in love and solving murders together for the rest of their lives. I just – ugh. I know they had to be tested, the wedges had to be shoved between them so we could see just how much they’ve grown and how far they’d go for one another, but his father, really? Audrey having to face H.H. Holmes alone – really??
I’m still conflicted. I thought that maybe writing out all these things – because the book just came out and there aren’t enough people who have read this yet to talk to – would help me clarify my feelings, but it hasn’t helped. Part of me wants to rate this as a five star read – and I probably will, but the other part of me just wants to toss it in a corner and be done with it.
I think I just worked this book up in my head too much. My expectations were too high. Hell, I don’t even know really what my expectations actually were, just that I’m left feel unsatisfied. Unsatisfied, not in the sense that I want more story, more time with these characters, but unsatisfied how the final showdown happened.
I feel like Holmes, unlike Jack the Ripper, or the lure of Dracula and the pageantry of Houdini, isn’t 1) as well known and 2) isn’t as mythical?
I mean, how many people have heard of H.H. Holmes, the Murder Castle, or even the phrase “The Devil in the White City”? And how many people have even heard of the Chicago World’s Fair? Unlike the other “villains” (I use quotes because I still don’t quite get the whole Houdini aspect, but that’s another story), I feel like most people haven’t heard of H.H. Holmes.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know about him until a few years ago – after a few tv shows featuring time travel, featured Murder Castle as one of the situations the MCs had to get out of.
I know Kerri said that this series started with H.H. Holmes and she worked her timeline back from there – and I think that’s so cool! I just don’t think he holds the same weight, as Jack the Ripper, Dracula and Houdini. In that sense, he’s definitely more fantastical/mythical than the other three. But in the sensationalism that surrounds the other three, he’s lost. At least, that’s my opinion.
Ugh, I feel like I have more to say, but I don’t know.
It’s weird, because I did absolutely love this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the world and everything about it. But then I think about everything I just wrote, and then I’m not sure. This is one of those instances where I wish someone could just forcefully tell me what to think and that I’d be able to listen to them.
One last thing before I wrap this up, because honestly, I’m exhausted. It’s taken me almost two hours to write this up, and it’s taken a lot of brain power, emotion and inner turmoil to write it. I will say that, while I was happy that the very end, ended happily and a conclusion, it felt as if it were left open for potentially more. I’m all for reading about the Cresswell and Cresswell Investigative team, adult Audrey and Thomas.
I do think that Capturing the Devil was a fitting conclusion for these characters. It’s been quite a journey, and one that I’ve loved being a part of. Even if Audrey makes me mad, I still love her as a character, and god I wish Thomas were real. Lol
Kerri is an amazing writer and I cannot wait to read her next series. I’m solidly a forever fan and will read anything she publishes.