Istanbul, 1938: Theodora has been left alone with a governess while her swashbuckling treasure hunter father goes off on a mysterious mission. Theodora seems doomed to boredom, but when her governess runs off with all her money and her old flame Huck turns up with a strange story about her father being in danger, things start to get interesting. Chased by mysterious men, Theodora drags Huck into finding the War Ring of Vlad the Impaler before the bad guys seeking it can get it. With the help of her fathers journal, and some interesting characters along the way, Theodora and Huck have to race against time to stop an ancient evil and save her father.
In tone, this book is a bit Indiana Jones meets Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence. There’s something so wonderful about putting clues together to solve an ancient mystery, and it’s a sub-genre that’s a perrenial favourite in my eyes. I liked the way the couple are forced to join up, but also have so many issues with each other that you’re not sure how they’re ever going to work together. It works because while the plot might not be new, the moving parts are.
That’s not to say that The Lady Rogue isn’t original. I really liked the journey through Turkey and Transylvania. I liked that the people who might be bad guys sometimes aren’t, or the other way round. I liked Vlad the Impaler used as a historical figure rather than as a vampire. I felt like the ring was an interesting concept. And there are some surprises along the way. It’s a really fun adventure story, with some romance thrown in.
Sometimes that romance irritated me a little. Huck is actually Theodora’s foster brother and grew up in her home as a brother from about age 10. It’s a bit odd, perhaps. Huck and Theodora were separated and each kind of blames the other, which feels real enough. But sometimes Huck comes across as kind of arrogant and not really all that likable, other than for the way he looks.
However, on the whole, I quite liked this book. It throws in some history, a little ancient magical artifact, some romance, plenty of adventure and a sinsister bad guy, as well as relationship complications. It works and it’s entertaining. I think my issue with Huck would probably not bother Young Adult readers, which is this books target audience anyway. I also felt like the journal entries and Vlad the Impaler were really great motifs and used really well.
Read It If: you like adventure, romance and mystery, this book is a really fun ride and does some innovative things with the history of Transylvania and it’s myths.
The Lady Rogue was sent to me by Simon & Schuster for honest review. All opions are my own, honest ones. This book is available for purchase today.