Series: The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, Book 1
Genres: Fantasy; Mystery; Historical Fiction; Young Adult; SciFi; Horror; Retellings
Publication date: June 20, 2017
Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular points towards Edward Hyde, her father’s former assistant and a murderer, being nearby. Knowing about a reward for information leading towards his capture, Mary knows this reward would solve all of her immediate financial woes.
When the hunt heads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, she finds a feral child left to be raised by nuns. Assisted by Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for Hyde and the truth about her father’s life. She soon befriends more woman, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.
Their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power crazed scientists, causing the horrors of their pasts to return. Now it’s up to these “monsters” to triumph over the monstrous.
Diana: Why do women have to wear such rotten clothes? I mean, you’ve got the chemise, and then the corset and then the corset cover. And that’s before you’ve even put on the shirt waist. What’s the point?
Beatrice: Clothing is one means of enforcing women’s social and political subordination. That is why we must support rational dress.
Catherin: Are you seriously going to have an argument about this in the middle of my book?
Beatrice: OUR book. As you keep reminding us. And I know you agree with me, Catherin.Chapter Eleven
I went into this read not knowing much of anything about it. Truth be told, I hadn’t even read the synopsis before I picked the read up. I’d heard a lot of BookTubers talk about the book recently, and many of them that I tend to have the same general taste in books have recommended it. On top of that, the cover is gorgeous and I absolutely love fantastical retellings of classic novels. So, naturally, I had to pick it up.
And I’m so glad that I did. I fell in love with this story almost instantly. The way that this story is told is unconventional, but made it even more enjoyable for me. As well, if you have the opportunity to listen to the AudioBook version I would highly recommend it. Kate Reading did a phenomenal job narrating this story and making it feel alive. Each character is distinct – both in tone and voice – and makes it truly feel like a group of friends talking over each other. It was perfect.
Goss herself did a phenomenal job at making this story feel real. I could picture the scene’s in my mind’s eye perfectly. I could see Mary’s calm anger or disappointment as it was described. I could visualize Diana’s rowdy behaviour and her scampering over the rooftops. Justine’s gentleness was clear as day, her unwillingness to be the monster she thought herself.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this story is the fact that it ended. Sure I’m lucky enough that I can jump straight into the second story if I chose to – and believe me, I plan on picking the next story up state! – but still. This mystery was thrilling and I loved every second of it. I loved the clues slowly making their way known. Even having previously read all of the classic stories that are referenced in this one, each character felt new to me. Each story felt unique and new. Beloved characters took a new twist and I loved every new characteristic that Goss gave them.
If you’re looking for a fun and thrilling YA fantasy story, I would highly recommend this one. You don’t have to have read the classic stories – like Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, etc – in order to enjoy this story. While I adored being able to compare and contrast this “retelling” with the classic tales, it’s a fantastic read all on its own without needing to compare it to the source material. You can certainly believe that I’ll be reading the next story – and posting about it – soon.
Continue reading “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss”