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The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

(The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  10,701 ratings  ·  1,949 reviews
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 particu
Kindle Edition, 417 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Saga Press
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Theodora Goss Someone other than me should answer this question, because I'm not an objective reader, but I tried to make it appropriate for younger teens as well…moreSomeone other than me should answer this question, because I'm not an objective reader, but I tried to make it appropriate for younger teens as well as adults. The violence is suggested rather than described, and I don't think there's much gore. The first person to read it was my daughter, who was 12 at the time, and I felt it was appropriate for her, even though it does discuss some adult concepts. I hope this helps!(less)

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3.80  · 
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 ·  10,701 ratings  ·  1,949 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

I've read several of Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes works in the last few years, as well as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. In my college days (not long after the Victorian age) I also read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau. Would it be sacrilege to say that I enjoyed this delightful pastiche and tribute to Holmes and other Victorian era fantasy better than mo
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
“The Unfortunate Case of the Gimmicks That Took Over the Story”

This was disappointing. Hard to see how anyone could write a mash-up of so many Victorian “monster” stories and make it boring, but that's what Goss has succeeded in doing here.

The business of having the characters interjecting comments into the narrative wasn't exactly a problem, but it didn't really add anything, and it was a bit of a distraction from the narrative. The real problem is that the author, in her eagerness to include
3.5 stars

Clever and witty in the vein of many Victorian classics but much more accessible, if not necessarily as sophisticated.

There's a colorful cast of women based on said classics who are often charming and enjoyable to follow. Mary, the eponymous Alchemist's Daughter, is especially lovely and admirable. Her foil- and half-sister- Diana, is sometimes one-note in her perpetual disagreeableness, but always entertaining in her interactions with Mary. The inclusion of the reputable duo of Sherlo
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

“That was the first meeting of the Athena Club. … Readers who remember their classical mythology will immediately realize its significance: Athena, born from the head of her father, Zeus. We do not claim the wisdom of Athena, but we identify with her dubious parentage.”

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter may be the latest in a long line of mashups based off of some of literature’s most famous horror and sci-fi cla
Elle Maruska
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ok I'm going to be incredibly enthusiastic here: I LOVE THIS BOOK.

Like. I love it SO HARD.


I want more in this universe. I want more of this series immediately.


I mean I could offer criticisms I suppose but I don't want to. Because THIS BOOK is the kind of book we need more of it. We need books about girls have adventures together, girls bein
Jennie Damron
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have not read a book quite like this which is a delight. The writing was clever and unique considering the author is using well known/loved characters in literature. I enjoyed the mystery, but was even more delighted with the back story of each of the female characters. How they lived, what they experienced just swept me away to another world. My one complaint is there was a lot of editing errors that could have easily been avoided with misspelled words or incorrect words used in the sentence. ...more
Book Riot Community
Ooooo, it’s several classic characters all in one place! Mary Jekyll is looking for her father’s old partner, the murderous Edward Hyde. If she turns him in, the reward will solve all her financial woes. Instead she finds Hyde’s daughter, Diana, and a group of other women: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein. With the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary and the others are going to solve the mysteries of their origins. This book is an epic nerdpurr!

Backlist bum
samantha  (books-are-my-life20)
a really Interesting read if you love the Classics like Sherlock, and mary shelley Frankenstein,
it's a Great Book that brings to life characters that we all think we know. from Sherlock to jekyll and hyde to rappaccini's daughter,The plot/mystery is interesting (solving the Whitechapel Murders), but more interesting is the origin story of the Athena Club and its monstrous members. I am to book two.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stars-4-0, 2017
Being a fan of 19th century classics novels, this book from Theodora Goss was always going to be one I just had to get my hands on. Mary Jekyll, after the death of her mother, finds out some very puzzling information involving her father, who passed away several years before under strange circumstances, that she cannot resist wanting to solve. Her investigation leads her on a dangerous path peopled by some very intriguing people, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson being only two of them.

From the fir
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun literary mash-up set in the 1890s in the vein of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen but with the daughters of some of fiction's most well-known mad scientists as well as other figures from the literature of the time.

Miss Mary Jekyll has just buried her mother and without her mother's endowed income she faces ruin due to lack of funds. On discovering a reference in her mother's estate to money being paid for the upkeep of "Hyde" she seeks help from the well-known detective Mr Holmes to s
The Cheerful Wednesday Book Club Pick for May 2018

Hey guys! I'm so excited for this book! I literally know nothing about what this is going to be, and I am kind of living for the surprise of it! Here is the schedule for this read.

All of these days are Wednesdays, because I thought that was a fun idea:
May 09: 01-05
May 16: 06-10
May 23: 11-15
May 30: 16-21

And we are back to actual chapters! The last two books have been great, but they have been in different formats. So we finally have chapters to g
Anthony Ryan
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Theodora Goss mines the rich legacy left by the originators of the horror story to craft a tale of monstrous but compassionate heroines banding together to battle a nefarious conspiracy in 1890s London. A enjoyable and inventive romp through the murk and mystery of Victorian monsterdom which is sure to delight fans of Kim Newman’s ‘Anno Dracula’ and Alan Moore’s ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’.
Rachel Schulte
I REALLY wanted to like this book, especially after all the good reviews and the NPR review. However, the book was just too over cluttered. Between the discovery of not one, not two, but five different women from previous novels with unusual "monstrous" characteristics, not to mention throwing Holmes and Watson in there, Goss had no time to focus on any character development, leading to an exciting plot with a bunch of people that I just didn't care about. I mean, it made Sherlock Holmes boring. ...more
Jul 03, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This book is an advance readers copy.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I liked the premise, I enjoyed reading it, I liked that it was a story about extraordinary women coming together as sisters. It even had Sherlock Holmes!

But something about the basic structure of it sort of threw me off. The story is punctuated by characters' comments, snippets of conversations and observations that happened over the course of the book's creation. On the one hand, it supposedly offers better insight into the personalities of the characte
K.J. Charles
This ought to be completely up my street with the UF mash up of various Victorian pulp icons as heroines (a Dr Moreau cat woman, Jekyll and Hyde's daughters, etc) but...not doing it. Partly because by 40% we're still introducing characters and easing into the plot, partly because I don't see the point of the device whereby the characters all comment on the writing of the novel. It's a self conscious artifice that reminds you you're reading a book, and it's stopping me empathising with anyone. Re ...more
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and blurbed it so very hard. Now I can share with you what I wrote after I read it.

To wit:

Theodora Goss' The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter provides a new and altogether mesmerizing revelation for fans of Watson & Holmes, Van Helsing, Jeckyll & Hyde, and Victor Frankenstein: until now, you've only heard half the story. Goss' deft, poetic interweaving of edge-of-the-seat adventure with the artful voices of her characters creates a matryoshka doll of hidden Got
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audiobook
This went from charming to cheesy in the second half.

Review to come.
This was the first book I read for Spooktober, and I gotta say, I was disappointed. Everything pointed to me liking the premise of this book. Period, yes. Strong female leads, interested! References to a plethora of gothic monsters? HELL YEAH.

So what the hell happened?

I honestly feel as though Goss bit off more than she could chew.

First things first, the characters. They are all hollow. Every. Single. One. I felt no connection between any of the female leads and myself as a reader.They each fe
Executive Summary: This was alright, if you like well-written fan fiction and/or are a big fan of all the classic monster story elements she used as a basis. I just didn't seem to like it as much as others.

Full Review
Reading this year has been a real struggle for me. My audiobook consumption is about the same, but my actual reading is way down. I found my last book a slog to get through. The description of this one didn't do much for me, so I opted to borrow it from the library rather than buy
Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
~*Full review here on The Bent Bookworm!*~

“No wonder men did not want women to wear bloomers. What could women accomplish if they did not have to continually mind their skirts, keep them from dragging in the mud or getting trampled on the steps of an omnibus? If they had pockets! With pockets, women could conquer the world!”

This was a fabulous book to start out 2018! It was just the right parts dry, sarcastic humor, witty remarks, and references to the classics mixed with strong female character
Nicole Beaudry
This was an extremely enjoyable and engaging homage/love letter to Victorian literature, the gothic, monster stories, and the women frequently erased or shackled by them. Although some have complained that the large cast of characters means none of them feel terribly developed, I felt the opposite - Goss handles the large cast with ease, and a certain impressive deftness. Each girl feels complete, unique, influenced individually by their particular "same but different" back story. The plot moves ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this novel isn't a feminist tract but it has themes of women empowerment throughout. reading it I kept imagining a mash up of the league of extraordinary gentlewoman and sucker punch. the former because the plot centers on a reimagining of classic sci fi and horror characters. the latter because throughout the narrative Goss imbues her story with a cheekiness and humour. it is a fun read that could be considered fluff, yet there are key themes explored which prevents it from becoming a pure beac ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved all the characters and loved how the narrative was. It was a unique way to tell how everyone's point of view was different. It was just amazing! But my favorite part was Diana because she made me crack up sometimes. I loved how sneaky she was and how Catherine was badass. How Justine was so strong but so shy and kind was adorable. I finally loved Mary who was brilliant and Beatrice was so religious which made me smile at how nice she was. I loved everyone's stories and I loved how they i ...more
Sheila Goicea
View this entire review along with others on my blog at: She's Going Book Crazy

Release date June 20, 2017!

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
We are no longer in the age of Charles Dickens or George Eliot, after all. We are modern. And, of course, monstrous...

It turns out that Dr. Jekyll had a daughter.

The story follows the accounts of Dr. Jekyll's daughter, Mary Jekyll, who is mourning the loss of her late mother. Losing both of her parent
☾ h a d e e r ☽
This book is one hell of a romp. It's just a ridiculous, delightful adventure featuring so!! many!! women!!! It definitely brings to mind the television show Penny Dreadful, in that it brings together various figures from famous Victorian novels. However, that is where the resemblance ends; where Penny Dreadful is dark and serious and horrifying, this book is kind of hilarious. It definitely doesn't take itself too seriously and it actually kind of pokes fun at itself. This is evident most in th ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very witty and a lot of fun! I love shared universe stories when it comes to Victorian Gothic tales, and this one features all of the daughters of the fictional scientists you know: Moreau, Rappacini, Jekyll, Hyde...
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many characters connected to great works of literature are mentioned in the book's.
Main characters: Mary:daughter of Henry Jekyll,
Diana: daughter of Edward Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini father is talked of in a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Katherine Moreau daughter of Dr. Moreau of HG Wells, and Justine Frankenstein created by Victor Frankenstein.
That is just the main character's, supporting characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Dr. Stewart and Renfield of Dracula, as well as Edward
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lena by: Sword & Laser BOM
” accurate portrayal of a group of women trying to get along in the world as best they can, like women anywhere—even if they are monsters.”

Ladies and gentlemen you are in for a treat, the very first case of The Athena Club! Women of common paternal malfeasance it could be said they were destined to meet. How clever of Theodora Goss to arrange the introduction.


Holmes and Watson are also MCs of the story and I enjoyed their portrayal. Sherlock Holmes is probably the most famous two dimensi
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. Almost returned this to the library with 50 pages to go. I enjoy literary mashups, and 19th century British lit is my favorite period, but The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter reads like more of an affectionate tribute than a tale that's really taken on a life of its own.

It's also sloooow for being at least ostensibly a murder mystery that involves bits from the Jack the Ripper files plus Sherlock Holmes, Moreau, Van Helsing, Frankenstein, and Jekyll/Hyde. The main characters
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Theodora Goss's publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, ...more

Other books in the series

The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club (3 books)
  • European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #2)
  • The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #3)
“No wonder men did not want women to wear bloomers. What could women accomplish if they did not have to continually mind their skirts, keep them from dragging in the mud or getting trampled on the steps of an omnibus? If they had pockets! With pockets, women could conquer the world!” 29 likes
“She had longed for adventure, and now that it was happening to her, she was not sure how she felt about it.” 8 likes
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