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The October BOTM is The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss.
- Answer the weekly discussion topic.
- Optional: Discuss your chosen hyped book of the week.
- Optional: Talk about your progress on the BOTM.
TOPIC OF THE WEEK: BOTM Review!
When I first heard about this book, I was immediately intrigued. I loved the tv show, Penny Dreadful, and this book gave me the exact same vibes. I’m so glad that I picked it up because I absolutely loved Theodora Goss’ The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.
Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.
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, Catherine 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.
Theodora Goss’ writing style was perfect in this story. She was able to truly capture the time period by using a similar writing style to stories that were actually written back then. I loved how she was essentially telling a story within a story, as she presented it as though the girls themselves were writing the story of how they came together. It was very clever and definitely had me laughing aloud during some of their interruptions when they were discussing what was happening. It was able to give the mystery a bit of playfulness that I really enjoyed.
And the girls? I absolutely adored them! First, we are introduced to Mary Jekyll who is the main character in this novel. She’s very no-nonsense and likes to take charge of situations. I loved how clever she was and that no matter how scared she was, she would just do what needs to be done. Then we have Diana Hyde… and oh, Diana. I LOVE HER. She’s the youngest of the girls but is like sassiest character ever. She would literally do the opposite of what she was told to do just to be subversive and I lived for it. She also has a bit of a potty mouth and I was constantly cracking up at her comments. She definitely says what she thinks. The other three girls were all really unique as well. You have the demure beauty, Beatrice Rappaccini. Her breath and touch are poisonous… really! Then there’s Catherine Moreau, who has cat-like abilities and a very independent nature. And finally there is Justine Frankenstein – who I’m sure you can figure out what she is. 😉 We also have the famous Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Watson. I’ve never been a big Sherlock fan but I might have had a little crush on him while reading this book. Hehe!
The plot was definitely intriguing. It’s essentially a murder and family mystery all at once, which made for a very interesting storyline. I was immediately intrigued and drawn into it. There were definitely a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I wouldn’t say that it was full of action though, like most contemporary novels. This is definitely written to be reminiscent of Victorian/turn-of-the-century novels, so you may be a little disappointed in the lack of action scenes. I didn’t have any issues with the pacing of the novel, as it tends to read very easily, but others might struggle some with that.
Overall, this was such a fun and unique novel that is an ode to the horror and mystery classic. I really enjoyed the mashup of all of the literary characters and thought that their relationships were the best thing about this book. I’m really excited that the author ended the book with the possibility for this to turn into a series because I definitely don’t want to have to say goodbye to this wonderfully sassy group of ladies.
Have you read The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter? Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes? Leave a link to your Hype or Like Friday post in the comments below!