The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.
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.
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of young adult books, including: Alex, Approximately; Starry Eyes; and The Lady Rogue. She also writes historical romance and fantasy for adults. Her books have earned multiple starred reviews, won the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award, and been included on Publishers Weekly’s Best Books annual list. She currently lives near Atlanta with one husband and two dogs.
Read an Excerpt
The Lady Rogue
November 24, 1937—Istanbul, Turkey
I STOOD IN STOCKINGED FEET WITH my hands up in the air, like Napoléon surrendering after the Battle of Waterloo. Outside the narrow stockroom—the scene of my current humiliation—the bustle of afternoon shoppers in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar echoed down arched stone corridors perfumed with wisps of fragrant smoke and spices. A crowd was gathering near the jewelry stall. One would think they’d never seen an American girl strip-searched by the merchant’s wife.
Better to be remembered than forgotten, I supposed.
If you’d asked me two weeks ago how I imagined I’d be spending my time in Istanbul, being arrested for shoplifting wouldn’t have been at the top of the list. Yet here I was, accused of stealing a gold ring and close to having a stroke at the tender age of seventeen. A crying shame. I had so much to give this world.
The dark-haired woman kneeling in front of me didn’t care about my impending death in a Turkish prison. She was too busy aggressively patting down every inch of my body, from the neck of my striped top to the hem of my black gored skirt, with the gusto of an angry lover. She’d already looked inside my shoes, emptied my handbag, manhandled my prized Leica camera inside my camera case, and turned out the pockets of my coat.
“I think you missed a spot,” I joked when she brusquely lifted my calf to inspect the bottom of my foot while I hopped on one leg.
Unsatisfied, the merchant’s wife sighed and stood up, giving me another critical once-over as she wiped her hands on the long folds of her billowing red dress. Her eyes fell on the silver charm that hung around my neck: a nearly fifteen-hundred-year-old coin stamped on one side with a crowned, haloed woman: Byzantine Empress Theodora. Daughter of a bear trainer. Renegade. Prostitute. Spy. Queen. Heretic. Saint. All-around-fascinating female. The coin came from a hoard my parents discovered near the Black Sea on the day my mother found out she was pregnant with me, hence the namesake . . . maybe one I subconsciously tried to live up to. It’s good to have goals.
“Not on your life!” I said, covering the coin with my hand. “I told you already, my late mother gave me this. You’ll have to kill me to get it. And I mean that quite seriously.”
The merchant’s wife rolled her eyes at me but lost interest in my coin charm. Hopefully now that she’d found nothing in her humiliating pat-down of my entire body, she also understood that I was not the pickpocket she’d thought I was.
“Bulmaca yüzük?” she said for millionth time, which I believed meant “harem ring” or “wedding ring.” It was a Turkish novelty ring made of interconnected bands, and the story behind it was that if the wife took it off to have a tryst, she wouldn’t be able to reassemble the bands and would be caught by her husband. A flawed concept, if you asked me. One, it assumed the wife couldn’t reassemble the puzzle rings, and two, she needn’t even take the ring off to bed a lover in the first place. Why does the entire world think the female species possesses brains made of cotton candy?
Insulting is what it was. Much like this farcical strip search . . .
“Like I told you a hundred times, I’m not a thief,” I said. She muttered something under her breath that I couldn’t interpret and exited the tiny stockroom, slamming the door shut behind her. A loud clicking noise caused my pulse to rocket.
I jiggled the locked handle vigorously and pounded on the door. “Hey! You can’t lock me in here. I’ve never stolen anything in my life. I was only taking a photograph. You do realize what you’re doing to me now is kidnapping, right? Can someone please call my hotel, as I requested? The woman I’m traveling with—my tutor, Madame Leroux—she speaks Turkish. Is anyone listening? Hello . . . ?”
In frustration, I kicked the door and stubbed my big toe, shouting an unladylike expletive, which briefly halted the muffled squabbling on the other side of the door.
Good profanity is never lost in translation.
But, sadly, it wasn’t getting me out of this stockroom. I quickly slipped my black Mary Janes onto my feet and buckled the thin straps, miserably wishing I’d taken the time to learn more Turkish before this trip. If I had, then I wouldn’t have needed stupid Madame Leroux and could have fully understood what was being said outside. Had they summoned the market’s guards? Or were they going straight to the police? I told them the hotel staff would vouch for me. Hopefully? The concierge wasn’t overly fond of me. Neither was my tutor, frankly. The more I thought about it, the more I worried that there was no one in Istanbul who’d stand up for me. . . .
Things hadn’t always been this miserable. My first week in Istanbul was delightful: palm trees, the Hagia Sophia, the blue water of the Golden Horn. Minarets for days. Endless kepaps and strong Turkish coffee. I’d been having such a good time, I’d almost forgiven my father for leaving me behind with a hired tutor—“for your safety,” his standard tired excuse—while he trekked across Turkey hunting treasure. But as often happened on our trips, things rapidly deteriorated. . . .
First of all, Father was supposed to return from Tokat and collect me three days ago; we were to head to Paris together to see a friend of the family. Not only had Father failed to arrive, but he hadn’t telegrammed to say why he was delayed. And while I worried myself to death, waiting to hear from him, I managed to get food poisoning. Then the rains came—apparently there’s a rainy season here. Who knew. And now, when I was only trying to make the best of things, when I dared escape my stick-in-the-mud tutor and the hotel room in which I’d been cooped up for days, I ended up . . . well, in these dire straits.
I glanced around the tiny stockroom. Too tiny. My breaths quickened.
“Steel spine, chin high,” I whispered to myself, a mantra my mother would repeat to fortify and hearten me when I was upset. If she were here—Elena Vaduva, a woman who’d never been afraid of anything—she wouldn’t be panicking. I lifted the ancient coin around my neck that she’d given me and kissed it for good luck. Then I strapped my brown leather camera case across my body and swept my scattered possessions back into my handbag.
As I slipped into my coat, something changed in the chatter outside. I stilled and listened. After a few moments the lock clicked and the stockroom door flew open. My hired tutor blinked at me in the doorway.
“Thank the gods,” I said, sagging in relief. The merchants must have telephoned my hotel after all.
“Foolish girl!” Madame Leroux scolded in French. Elegant hands trembled beneath the cuffs of her traveling coat. Her pin-straight blond hair was in disarray below her hat, as if she’d rushed here after being woken from a nap. “What did you do this time?”
“Nothing! I was only taking a photograph. I swear. The jewelry market is rumored to be haunted just around the corner of this stall, and there are some strange symbols painted on the wall—”
“Miss Theodora Fox,” she said, voice thick with disappointment.
“I just wanted to photograph it, you know, so that I could study the symbols, and the next thing I knew, I was being accused of stealing a golden harem ring, which is ridiculous, of course, because I don’t have a harem.”
She didn’t find this amusing. “And you broke a lamp?”
“Barely a crack, and that was an accident,” I argued. “I was trying to get a good shot of the wall—that’s where people say they’ve seen jinn. Or ghosts. Either way, it’s supposed to be haunted, and I was only trying to photograph it to see if anything interesting would show up on film.”
Madame Leroux squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head.
“Look, I know you don’t believe in magic or anything supernatural, but I do—” I began to say, but she cut me off with the sharp flick of a hand that motioned for silence.
“They found the ring under one of the display cases,” she said coolly.
Relief surged through my limbs. “Really?”
“Apparently, you knocked it to the floor when you were pretending to be a bull in a china shop, so they’ve agreed to let you go if we pay for the broken lamp.”
That was it? After being treated like a common criminal?
No matter. I’d been proven innocent.
“Come,” she commanded. “Before you embarrass yourself any further.”
Feeling a thousand pounds lighter, I rushed to follow my tutor out of the horrible stockroom, through the cramped jewelry stall, and past the crowd of gawkers who’d gathered in the market corridor with uniformed guards. Madame Leroux said something in halting Turkish to the merchant couple and handed them a signed traveler’s check from the booklet that my father had left in her charge. Satisfied, the merchants accepted the payment and made a shooing gesture in my direction.
Glorious, sweet freedom!
I let out a long breath as the guards dispersed the crowd. Nothing to see here. The humiliation of a teenage girl was now complete; thank you for coming. In mere seconds it was as if nothing had ever happened.
“Whew! What a day!” I said to my tutor. She didn’t answer or acknowledge me. She merely marched away from the glinting gold of the jewelry section of the market. I trotted to keep up, and we merged into the fringes of pedestrians strolling under vaulted ceilings. On either side of us, merchants bargained with locals and tourists alike, selling stacks of patterned cloth, rugs, food, spices, and copperware—just about anything you could want. Unless you were a girl with a camera, apparently.
I tried a second time to break Madame Leroux’s icy silence.
“I’m really, truly sorry you had to come down here,” I told her. “I know you’re probably pretty peeved at me right now—”
She stopped suddenly, swinging around to point a finger in my face. “No. I am furious. And tired of making apologies for you. I was hired to accompany a well-bred, studious lady through Europe. You, Miss Fox, are no lady! You’re a she-demon who attracts anarchy and bedlam.”
“Everyone has a talent?” I said sheepishly with a strained smile.
“You ruined a priceless rug in the middle of the hotel lobby—”
“But I had food poisoning!”
“—and you have the entire Pera Palace staff smuggling newspapers into the hotel for that insatiable habit of yours.”
“Crossword puzzles, Madame Leroux. You’re making me sound like a drug fiend. There’s not a daily crossword in the Cumhuriyet.” And if there were, I couldn’t solve it, because the clues would all be in Turkish.
“You caused that poor maid to have a breakdown, reading those devilish books of yours.”
“It was the Egyptian Book of the Dead—an ancient funerary text. I was practicing writing hieroglyphics.” But to be perfectly honest, I’d also been reading a rare translation of Hammer of the Witches, which detailed a selection of medieval magical spells, a subject I found endlessly fascinating. Had I known the housekeeping staff at the hotel was a gaggle of fainting Victorian ladies in need of smelling salts, I would have been more discreet with my personal reading matter.
Madame Leroux, however, had no sympathy. Right now she was shaking her head, eyes squeezed shut, as if somehow in the few short weeks I’d known her, I’d managed to become the biggest disappointment in her life. Well, I had news for her: it takes years for me to properly disappoint someone. Just ask my father . . . whenever he decided to show up.
“I promise to stay in the hotel until Father returns,” I told Madame Leroux. “Cross my heart, fingers, and toes. Does that make you happy?”
“Do what you want. I cannot stop you. I quit.”
“What?” I glanced around, aware that we were attracting attention.
“You heard me,” she said, long fingers straightening the brim of her hat. “I am done. I quit.”
“You can’t quit. Father has the return train tickets to Europe.”
She tugged down the hem of her jacket. “I’ve been invited to travel through the Middle East.”
I paused, brow wrinkling. “With the hotel’s lounge singer?”
They’d been secretly meeting up after I went to bed. He bragged constantly that he was touring regional hotels, making gobs of money crooning sentimental love songs to drunken tourists.
“Your father will return soon,” she said.
“You’re . . . leaving me? In the middle of a foreign city?”
She shrugged and waved a hand. “You are no little mouse. Have you not traveled the world with your scoundrel of a father?”
“Hey!” I said sharply. No one gets to besmirch my family but me. “He’s a distinguished adventurer and historian. He’s been hired around the world by dukes, sultans, and contessas.”
“Yes, I know,” she said, voice sodden with French sarcasm. “You boast of all the places you’ve been with him. Am I not your ‘hundredth’ tutor, useless and interchangeable, as you so often remind me?”
Yikes. “I don’t think I’ve ever said that.” I had. Yesterday. During our last argument. “And of course I need you. You speak the local language, and—”
She snorted. “Obviously you are comfortable storming through the city alone like a typhoon. And the hotel staff will cater to your every whim, so it’s difficult for me to feel sympathy. Goodbye, Miss Fox. I hope our paths do not cross again. Ever.”
She marched away, blending into throngs of pedestrians ambling down the market’s corridor, while I stood rooted to the floor in shock. It took me several panicked heartbeats to realize that she carried the book of traveler’s checks; all I had was a few bills in my handbag, enough for a taxi back to the hotel and little more. I called out to her, snaking my way through the crowd. “You have all the money!” I shouted.
“Consider it my severance fee,” she shouted back before her head disappeared in a throng of shoppers, leaving me behind.
In a foreign country.
With no money.
And no word from my wayward father as to when he’d return.
What in God’s name was I going to do now?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Lady Rogue is a clever, exciting bit of historical fun. I worry that it will fly under the radar, but pick it up if you’re in the mood for a treat. --- Nerdy teenage Theodora has found herself alone in Istanbul circa 1937. Her adventurer father dumped her at a hotel to finish a dangerous treasure-hunting expedition… and hasn’t returned. Thanks to her ability to effortlessly attract petty chaos, Theodora has lost her tutor, her money, and any idea what to do. But she’s only alone for a few minutes–before long, Huck (her ex…something) has shown up in her hotel room in a towel with news of her father. Within pages, they’re off, running from bad guys and racing to unravel the mystery of Vlad the Impaler’s legendary ring. The Lady Rogue is fast-paced and clever, a YA adventure that actually feels YA. As real history slowly morphed into a magical adventure, I started to get wonderful Indiana Jones and Gilded Wolves vibes. Unfortunately, I don’t see this title getting much traction. This is partly due to the cover and title, which wouldn’t catch my eye on a bookstore shelf. I’m so glad I requested the galley on a whim, because The Lady Rogue was an enormously fun read that I gobbled up in two sittings. If I hadn’t already had it waiting, though, I’m not sure if anything about the cover copy would have hooked me. More than that, though, I don’t see this title getting a lot of buzz because it’s a pretty old-fashioned book in some ways. I don’t think that’s a completely bad thing–there’s a reason that this kind of story has been told over and over. And when you’re reading historical fiction, don’t usually want to detect modern sensibilities. At times, though, the “exploration adventure by Europeans in Eastern Europe” veered into Orientalist territory. It’d be almost impossible not to, since that’s the basic perspective of the characters. With so many YA titles dropping this month, many of which are boundary-pushing, innovative stories with underrepresented perspectives, it’s hard to get too excited about a storyline and structure that could plausibly have been published 50 years ago. But don’t get me wrong; while the basics of the plot seem plucked out of the sixties, this isn’t a book that could have been written decades ago. Bennett’s writing style here feels wonderfully fresh and modern. She does a remarkable job of injecting contemporary rhythm and humor into Theodora’s voice, even when staying true to a 1937 vocabulary. Theodora completely stacks up against any other 2019 YA protagonist. I adored her geekiness, her temper, and her occasional obliviousness. And the romance? Sweet, messy, and just a little bit sexy, the central couple can bicker and banter with the best of them. One final note: I won’t be listing this in the content warnings, but I want to make sure I mention this. The Lady Rogue isn’t a good choice for readers who are very sensitive to or uncomfortable with incest-adjacent romance. Huck and Theodora are not siblings biologically or legally, but they were raised together from about the age of 11. Much is made of their family-like relationship, so if the blending of a sibling-like relationship into a romantic relationship is icky to you (totally understandable), you probably won’t like this one. The publisher provided me with an eARC of this title at no charge in expectation of an honest review. No money changed hands for this review and all opinions are my own.
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.
When it came to this book, it mentioned Vlad and Dracula so I was sold! I've been obsessed since a teen and will not hesitate to pick up a book if their names are in the synopsis. With that said, this book wasn't what I was expecting plot-wise but I did find myself enjoying it. Theodora is a character that I didn't connect with but didn't find myself hating reading about. She is spunky, smart, passionate, loyal and adventurous. Family comes first even when danger, like murder, is involved. As for Huck, he is at times cocky, more cautious than Theo, and loyal. He really tries to look out for her even when it doesn't seem like it. He wasn't my favorite but I still enjoyed his character. Theo and Huck banter throughout and it was fun to see it play out. I have not read any of the author's other books and so I didn't know that a relationship would be a large part of the book. It did make the book more light than I would have liked, but I still didn't find it to be overwhelming. There was history between them and I can get behind that. When it comes to the plot, it was an interesting take on Vlad the Impaler. It was unique and brought in magic. Other famous murderers for blood were also mentioned so overall that was a win for me. As stated before, I thought it would be a bit darker because of the people mentioned. The plot still kept me intrigued so I won't complain. I am glad I was able to read this book as it was exciting, thrilling, and felt like an Indiana Jones kind of adventure! If that is something up your alley, definitely check this one out! eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
"See this? I was named after a great empress. I'm royalty--nay, I'm an independent young lady! You may call me Lady Rogue." Going in to this novel, I was so excited! The cover, the premise--it was right up my alley and I couldn't wait. Overall, it was what I wanted it to be, but alas, it did not live up to my complete expectations. I loved the history, the mythology, the legend behind this book! I think that was definitely the most enjoyable thing about it. Learning about Vlad the Impaler and other people throughout history (even if some liberties with the truth were taken) was super intriguing and I Googled so many people the author mentioned afterward just to learn more about them. As far as characters go, I thought it was strange the father's name was Richard Damn Fox. Is that a real thing, Damn as a middle name? He is an explorer so maybe he self-made that his middle name. The main character Theodora, Theo if you will, was a stubborn but brave and feminist character for her time (1937). That being said, I don't think he voice really matched someone of that time or her upbringing. She very much sounded like a friend of mine now speaking. I like that it made her relatable, but not necessarily that it took away from the accuracy of it. Another thing I was unsure of was the romance aspect between Theo and Huxley Gallagher, Huck for short. First, let me swoon at that very perfect name. Unfortunately, their love did not make me swoon as hard. They were raised together after his parents died, and Theo's dad kind of expected them to fall into a brother-sister relationship. However, they fell for each other and, after her father catches them together, Huck leaves. I liked the dynamic between them after they're reunited after a year of separation. Theo thinks he left her and never thought of her again, so she gives him a very moody teenager reception, which I really enjoyed. I like that enemies-to-lovers kind of concept. I just wish their backstory was a little different. Overall, I enjoyed the rich setting and storytelling that Bennet does in The Lady Rogue. I felt like I was in a race through Europe, mountains, and fairytale towns with them. There's mystery, witty banter, and so much more. I do recommend giving it a try!
The Lady Rogue is the story of a spirited girl, Theodora. After she finds herself stranded in Turkey, an old family friend that she was once in love with shows up, and they find out her dad is missing. On top of that, there are some creepy guys following them that seem to have an interest in killing them. The two travel to Romania, the last place her dad had been seen. As they track him down using clues from his journal, people start ending up dead around them. It's all related to a magical ring that once belonged to Vlad Dracula. This was a great book. I loved Theodora. She cared about saving her dad, and she wasn't about to let a little thing like murderers tracking her down — or running out of money — stand in her way. It turns out that Huck, the boy she once loved, didn't want to leave her when she thought she had been abandoned. I love watching both her and Huck develop their relationship again. I love the setting, and Ms. Bennett does a great job of drawing me into the world of Romania in the 1930s, with the cold countryside, creepy forests, and trains that take you from one country to another. The Lady Rogue is a historical fantasy adventure that I'd highly recommend.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me an ARC of this to review! I’ve only read Jenn Bennett‘s romance books, and I was thrilled to read something different from her. With treasure hunting, romance, and magic, this book has almost everything you could ever want. Backed by mysterious eastern Europe, Bennett set readers up for a wild ride. We’re dropped right in the middle of Theo’s shenanigans at the beginning of the novel, introducing us to her fearless, strong character. She desperately wants to join her father on his treasure hunts, but he always sticks her in hotels while he gets to have the adventure. Though her friend and love interest, Huck, wants to just bring her to safety, Theo’s stubbornness brings them on an absolutely wild adventure. There’s a lot of mythology and folklore behind their adventures, too. Plus the romance! Basically, friends to lovers to enemies to lovers. Their relationship is as wild a ride as the rest of the book. They need each other in order to save Theo’s dad, even if he doesn’t approve of their romance. The romance itself didn’t overtake the rest of the book, which can sometimes happen. It was an enjoyable side plot to the main mystery of the novel. Definitely a great book for fans of Indiana Jones, mysteries, and treasure hunting adventures. You’ll be whisked away through Bennett’s writing style and rooting for Theo and Huck to win.
This is my first book by this author and I found it to be a fun adventure, despite some annoyances with the characters. It took me a little while to warm up to Huck and Theo, partly because as cute as he was, he was also somewhat self-absorbed and annoying. Also, I was expecting more of an adventure/fantasy with a little bit of romance, but for the first half it seemed like their relationship took a greater role than the adventuring. But as the mystery/adventure developed, and they started to grow on me, I started becoming more invested in the story and in fact, read the second half of the book in one sitting. I liked the "history" that the author created about Vlad and his family and I also really enjoyed the incorporation of Romania into the story. The ending was quite satisfying and I'm curious if there will be further stories in the future. In terms of side characters, I really liked Lovena and the Lissu brothers were also pretty interesting. Lupu was very cool and I like to think that she will be okay. Overall, I enjoyed this book enough that I will likely check out other books by this author. As an aside, I like this cover but I don't love this cover. Special thanks to #NetGalley, the author, and the publishers for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Special thanks again go to Netgalley and Simon Pulse for a copy of The Lady Rogue in exchange for an honest review. Jenn Bennett is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I adored Starry Eyes and I am planning to read Alex, Approximately soon as I checked it out of the library a few weeks ago. When I saw The Lady Rogue available on Netgalley, I knew I wanted to read it. I didn't even really read the description honestly. Unfortunately, this just didn't end up being a good fit for me. The Lady Rogue is a great historical fiction book, if you like those. That genre is pretty low on my favorites list, which is partially why I wasn't as drawn to this book. The Lady Rogue follows Theodora Fox, a well off American whose father is an international treasure hunter. He has gone off searching for Vlad the Impaler's infamous bone ring, after being hired to find it by a certain Mr. Rothwild. Theodora is in a hotel in Istanbul, when it is determined that her father is MIA and likely caught up in a dark and dangerous sequence of events. Theo's long lost "brother" and former lover (they are not related, they just grew up together), Huck shows up to break the news and then they begin a long and harrowing adventure to find Richard Fox and solve the mystery of The Impaler's ring. The Lady Rogue features some a magic system that isn't very defined, but having that definition wasn't super important to the plot. Fantasy lovers, there is some witchcraft in this book! Theo and Huck also have a drawn out and intense romance that is as slow a burn as one can find. There is also evidence that the history was well researched and well represented. The historical nature of this book will be very interesting for folks who are drawn to this genre. I have never been very interested in Vlad Dracula and his history, but if you are then this book is for you! Overall, I found this book hard to get through, simply because it isn't a genre I can get into easily. It has Stalking Jack The Ripper/Enchantee/Romanov vibes for you fans out there. I highly recommend this book for those folks who enjoy this genre. It is told very well, with a solid plot line and flow. The writing is great and the characters are well told.
This book was received as an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing - Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Fantasy books are very popular amongst our patrons and this one did not disappoint. A fellow staff member actually inquired about this book and was wondering what this book entailed so I had to preview it and I know she will love it. I was very intrigued by the backstory of Theodora and her love for Huck and sharing the passion her father had for treasure hunting little did she know she was already on a treasure hunt for her future. Every page uncovered a secret that was a twist that was completely out of left field and definitely left me shocked and breathless and our readers love those types of books. We will consider adding this title to our YFantasy collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
I liked The Lady Rogue. I thought it was a good story but, felt it was a bit drawn out. A fascinating, descriptive setting that brings you to the time and place. I liked Theodora and Huck and the adventurous quest they set out on. Lots of action, especially at the end. I liked the way Theodora broke the cypher code that helped her find her Father and the way she solved the secret of the rings. #TheLadyRogue #NetGalley
What a delight of a caper! This was described to me as The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue. I agree with the latter comparison but as I have not read the former, it reminded me more of a snappier version of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. I’m a sucker for a good origin story and gory as it may be, the case of Vlad the Impaler and his missing bone ring had me enthralled. Theodora is falsely accused of theft when we first meet her. The action only amps up from there, especially once she discovers her former best friend and love interest in her hotel room. Very soon, they’re running for their lives across Europe and trying to figure out where Theo’s missing father might be. It’s one calamity after another and I was positively delighted by it all. Hiding in a hotel? Lost in a forest? Crashing a plane? No matter what happened to them, I was leaning in with popcorn and a giant smile on my face. That may sound callous on the surface but this book was such a glorious romp. Theo is such a wonderfully spunky heroine. She was born ahead of her time and limited by societal expectations of 1937 as a result but she doesn’t let that hold her back. She’s brilliant, especially when it comes to research and crossword puzzles. She’s experienced loss but she’s resilient no matter what calamity comes her way. She was an utter marvel to read about and I really liked seeing how she connected to her mother's Romanian roots as they traveled the country. Huck is Irish and therefore I immediately loved him. He’s leery of the supernatural and more cautious, a good counterpart to Theo’s tendency to act before thinking, especially where magic is involved. But this is not to say he doesn’t have his own sense of daring. He can, after all, pick locks and fly planes. He’s a charmer with a penchant for getting a rise out of Theo and I was smitten. As the mystery deepens, Theo and Huck have to confront what tore them apart a year prior. Their banter is on point and this carries us pretty far into the book. There was so much angst and tension and longing between them. The story did a great job of balancing their need to talk through what happened and where they stand now with the search for Fox. There’s a delicate dance between them, as neither knows where the other stands, even though the reader is begging them to kiss and make up. When they finally do, it was wonderful and I just want more of their story. Some big things happen at the end that could have been expanded upon. Theo wrestles with an ancient power and I wanted so much more exploration of those themes. The ending felt really rushed overall. With about 15 pages left, I started to wonder if this was actually book 1 of a series and I was going to have to wait to find out what happened. But no, all was resolved and wrapped up far too quickly for my taste. However, I did thoroughly enjoy the last couple of pages as it seems to leave an opening for more adventures from Theo, Huck, and Fox. Here’s hoping. CW: violence, murder, past death of parents, grief, missing parent Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review.
THE LADY ROGUE is an absolutely thrilling historical fiction/fantasy. In the vein of THE MUMMY but in Romania and with a YA crowd, this book completely enthralled me from page one. Theodora (a.k.a. Theo, Empress, and banshee) travels around the world with her father, searching for artifacts. However, she is often left behind at the hotel, while he does the dangerous parts in the name of her "safety." She is tenacious, bold, and has a great sense of adventure and humor that would suit her well on these missions. She has just been arrested in Turkey and then abandoned by the woman who was supposed to be staying with her when her former romantic interest shows up. Her father has encountered some problems and has sent Huck to stay with her and protect her, taking her to a secret-ish location where they can meet. However, her father has found himself embroiled in an even bigger plot. As Theo traces down his steps and the clues, her life is constantly in danger. With Huck by her side, they face many twists and turns in their search that lead them to the absolutely fantastic end. What I loved: If you love THE MUMMY movies like me, this book has instant appeal- humor, artifacts, fantasy/magic-style danger, and a great romance all in one. I was positively gripped from the start all the way to the absolutely fantastic conclusion. There are a lot of twists and turns that I did not see coming, but I adored following along with the mystery/intrigue of it all. The plot is perfectly built (no plot holes here), and the world building is fantastic. The clues add up in a very well-timed fashion to keep the pace moving perfectly and maintain reader interest. The mystery certainly carries the plot, but the romance was not secondary- it was really well done, and I absolutely adored the main couple. Final verdict: Highly recommend to anyone looking for a fantasy/adventure with a wonderful side of romance in YA fiction. Fans of THE MUMMY will be especially pleased with this new, highly addictive heroine and series. This was an absolutely delicious read from start to plot twists to finish. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through YABC. All opinions are my own.
I'm a big fan of both comp titles - A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was one of my favorite reads this year. And when the description mentioned Vlad the Impaler and a cursed ring - I didn't care about the rest of the blurb. I needed to read this book. What a thrilling adventure! Theo and Huck find themselves in one predicament after another while searching for her father across the Eastern European countryside. They struggle to survive - and with people chasing them, wolves, the elements, and magic, it's not an easy task. That, combined with Theo solving ciphers and puzzles and the teasing dialogue gives this the feel of an Indiana Jones movie. Theo is headstrong, intelligent, and determined not to remain on the sidelines while her father goes treasure-hunting. Huck is a good match for her, being equally stubborn and adventurous. His way of misquoting common sayings makes him even more adorable and appealing. Folklore, hidden family secrets, romance, adventure, mystery, castles, cursed artifacts - this book is a wild romp. It's a little lighter on fantasy than I expected; instead, it ventures into historical fiction, and the setting descriptions are vivid and rich. I'm not sure if the author plans a series, but if she does, I'll be adding the next book to my list. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse, for an honest review. A historical adventure fantasy about treasure hunters searching for a lost ring, that belonged to Vlad the Impaler. a.k.a. Count Dracula a.k.a. Mass murderer of THOUSANDS a.k.a. Romania's crowned jewel and the worlds nightmare. Oh, you KNOW it's going to be good. Theodora Fox is used to her father abandoning her in five star hotels around the world, while he slinks off to uncover hidden treasures and unearth rich history. So when he disappears again, leaving her in yet another ritzy establishment in Istanbul, she is forced to stay behind with only her crossword puzzles and obsession for history to keep her company. That is until Huxley Gallagher turns up in her hotel room, handing over her father's journal and claiming that he is missing. What Theodora assumed was a typical expedition, turns swiftly into a hunt for her father and the truth behind his current hunt – to find the long lost ring of Vlad the Impaler for a wealthy client. Nobody said this adventure would be easy, especially when traveling with the boy who broke her heart and never spoke to her again. But what Theodora is about to uncover will change her and her family's life forever. The lady Rogue is dripping in adventure, mystery, intrigue, wit and a TON of history! The author has artistically woven historical events with fantastical elements to bring a legendary story fit for any thrill seeker. Perfect for fans of Tomb Raider, National Treasure, Count Dracula, the Occult, dragons, fantasy...and, really everything. This book is PHENOMENAL. Set in the late 1930's, this historical fantasy takes main characters Theodora and Huck to Romania in search of Theo's missing father who is chasing after a much sought-after ring. The only clues of his whereabouts come from Huck, her father's protege and a young man that her father took in at a young age. At an excavation in Hungary, Huck and Theo's father, Fox, uncover a metal box with strange symbols encasing it that warned of the dangers kept inside. What they hoped was the resting place of Vlad's long lost ring, turned out to be an empty box. Dismayed, they travel back to their hotel, where Fox suddenly disappears, leaving behind strict instructions for Huck to find Theo in Istanbul, where he is to give her Fox's travel journal, and escape to Hudson Valley. And so begins the WILD adventure that Theo and Huck embark on in search of Fox and Vlad's infamous ring. While the two travel to Romania, Fox's last known whereabouts, they are chased by dangerous men hellbent on taking them out. And I don't mean for dinner and a movie. I'm talking murder, ladies and gents. Because this book is PACKED with action! These characters are CONSTANTLY tiptoeing the lines of death and swing-dancing with fate. Both Theo and Huck are talented treasure hunters with extensive experience and passion for what they were raised around, and it shows. Theo is obsessed with history and any ancient topic that might involve a haunting or some form of magical element. She is proficient in multiple languages, has an uncanny ability to decipher codes, and above all else...this girl is witty as hell! Her sharp comments and sarcastic remarks had me nodding my approval during my entire read. To see my full review, visit my website: Jenacidebybibliophile.com