Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars but rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.
So I liked this book a lot. I noticed some issues here and there, but not enough for my interest in the next book in the series to wane. I think that the world building could have been a bit improved and the flow between Dacia and Lou's chapters to be a lot smoother. I would also like a prologue book or something just so you can get more of the history between the two families in this book. I hate being told things via another character (info dump) it is one of my least favorite things while reading.
So the book starts in medias res, or it tries to I think. We start out with Dacia who is being forced to go to her maternal family's home in Budapest. We know that Dacia did or was thought to have done something outrageous with some young man, and for some reason this has spurred on her Aunt Kate to get her moving quickly. On a train something mysterious seems to be happening and her Aunt Kate becomes more and more troubled. All Dacia wishes is that her cousin and best friend Lou was there. Then the book shifts to Lou who is with her father, mother, and twin brothers also traveling to Budapest. Lou is troubled by a man who seems to be following her.
The book moves slow. Seriously. We don't really get to know what's going on for a good 1st half of the book. And even then, things are not really explained very well by family members except for things like prophecies and you will do what is told to you. We have the girls eventually come together in Budapest and find out all about their family history and why it is linked to the Dracula family as well.
I loved Dacia and Lou equally in this book. Both girls are different from each other like night and day. Eventually though both girls react differently to their family secret and that also causes them to change again personality wise (and I got that). In the end though, I wish that maybe the author had broken up the chapters a lot more so we could have stayed with the characters longer. I say that because in between each chapter we would have a diary entry, telegram, letter, etc. that one of the girls wrote. I liked including it because we do get to see their mindsets and in Dacia's case how betrayed by her mother and father she feels.
We don't really get an in depth look at other characters in this book, and I get why, but I think the author could still develop them (Aunt Kate, Grandmother Ilona). I want to see more of these other characters, and I want to actually see how Lou's mother handles things after the events in this book. I also want to see more reasoning behind what the family did besides prophecy, because if that's the case, Dacia and Lou's mothers are kind of freaking awful.
The world building could be improved a lot. I think the issue was that we have a lot of characters talking, I wish that we had Lou and Dacia finding out more themselves through investigation or something. Just being told something didn't set well with me while reading. I wanted to understand more than what the author was showing us.
The ending left things pretty decided regarding Dacia and Lou's romantic lives (I did not care about either boy/man at all, even a little bit) and what they are going to be doing in the future.