The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss – Review

The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1


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.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss - Review
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss – Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.


As is clear from the blurb, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss features not only Holmes and Watson but Jekyll and Hyde too.

The inclusion of such illustrious characters can either mar the book or make it a powerful story. Well, in my humble opinion, I would say the author did a fine job.

I had forgotten about the book’s blurb when I started reading it. So, other than the fact that it had Holmes as a character, I remembered nothing else. Therefore, I found the first 20% of the book erratic. However, I persevered, and the book finally gripped my attention.

Goss knows how to spin a tale. The strange case became stranger by the moment leaving you no choice but to tag along with the rag-tag group of characters out there on the streets of Victorian-era London to solve a murder. But in the process, they end up unearthing a secret society of scientists.

I am pleased to say Mary Jekyll and the other girls hold their own in the presence of the other powerful characters. The way they pieced together the puzzle was admirable.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter has a unique way of narration. To reveal it would be a spoiler. The book has a lot of characters each demanding its fair share of presence. Yet I didn’t find it overwhelming at all thanks to the backstory of every character that adds depth to each of them.

However, I did find the plot unevenly paced. Sometimes, I would keep on flipping pages to find out what was going to happen next. Whereas other times I would skim read many pages to get to the interesting parts quickly. I felt that the plot was unnecessarily dragged. The book could have been a couple of pages shorter.

The story ends with a cliffhanger, however, one of the mysteries is solved. Overall, it was a brilliant attempt at a historical mystery. Recommended heartily.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss - book cover
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss


Genre: Historical Fiction || Pages: 402  || Published on June 20th, 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers



Theodora Goss
Theodora Goss

Theodora Goss was born in Hungary and spent her childhood in various European countries before her family moved to the United States, where she completed a Ph.D. in English literature. She is the World Fantasy and Locus Award-winning author of the short story and poetry collections In the Forest of Forgetting (2006), Songs for Ophelia (2014), and Snow White Learns Witchcraft (2019), as well as the novella The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), debut novel The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (2017), and sequels European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (2018) and The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (2019). She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Seiun, and Mythopoeic Awards, as well as on the Tiptree Award Honor List. Her work has been translated into thirteen languages. She teaches literature and writing at Boston University and in the Stonecoast MFA Program. 

Author Link: Twitter

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Author: debjani6ghosh

I started this blog to discuss books that I read and movies that I watch. But the blog may not be purely restricted to that!

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