Title: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1)
Author: Theodora Goss
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.
But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.
When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.
Honestly what’s not interesting about this book? To be completely honest I’m not a big fan of classics, but who wouldn’t know (or at least heard of) Jekyll, Hyde, Frankenstein, Rappaccini, and Moreau (honestly though, I’m not quite familiar with The Island of Dr Moreau)? That being said, of course this book is interesting, the daughters (and I use this term incredible lightly) of these big names all gather together to play detectives in order to solve the gruesome murders that have been happening around them, damn my inner feminist is raging just from reading the book’s blurb.
Like I said, the interesting characters (look, we have Holmes and Watson here too) and the plot are very very very promising. I wanted to see how the so called daughters came to be, surely not all of their fathers actually marry a woman and produce these children, right? I have to say, the backstory to all of the daughters are incredibly entertaining and I am totally here for it. And then, the idea of having a group of female detectives in 1890s just fired me up big time. I love that the ladies are very diverse, and you can see different outlook and views on things that seems taboo at the time, such as views on female clothing of the time, views about what it means to be feminine and strong. You know what, basically this book won big time through its characters. It’s as if the characters came out to life.
That being said, the overall story evolves incredibly slow. I understand that this was going to be the first with the second one coming out July 2018, so it is understandable that almost more than half of the books are only filled with the story on how the girls eventually meet up and share their backstory, but here’s what I have to say, I was incredibly disappointed at how the story ends. All the build ups throughout the book and only to have the ending to that anticlimactic? Oh boy, the book really didn’t end on a good note for me. But, fear not, for I still love the characters and I can’t wait to meet them again on the second book, which I hope would not be as slow as this one.
Hell yeah. Sure the story is slow, and the ending is such a let down, after a promising build up, but I still believe this might have something to do with the book being the first one, therefore there’s tons of stuff that needs to be crammed up in one book; you know from the meeting the characters, understanding the plot, and the story itself. So, I would not hold it against the book. Give this book a read if you’re fan of the many classic science fiction that inspired the characters of the book, or if you’re a big fan of strong independent (but not necessarily a smartypants) women.