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The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1)

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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  4,575 Ratings  ·  940 Reviews
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
...more
Paperback, 402 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Simon & Schuster
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Jack Vasen There is some brief description of dead bodies that have been mutilated by for example having limbs removed. Or a brain. And blood. But since the book…moreThere is some brief description of dead bodies that have been mutilated by for example having limbs removed. Or a brain. And blood. But since the book follows in the tradition of Frankenstein and Dr. Moreau (as implied by the inclusion of daughters by those names as stated on the back cover), some of this type of description is necessary, but I would not call it gory. There are a number of violent episodes which include physical harm and even deaths.
The author here comments that "the violence is suggested rather than described." I have to slightly disagree that the violence is a little more than suggested.
The book is really a Sherlock Holmes mystery where Holmes is not the central character, but a huge contributor.
You didn't ask this, but there is no sex and the foul language is intentionally archaic so as not to be offensive.
In a world where Hunger Games and Divergent are considered popular among teens, this book is no worse, and in many ways not as bad.(less)

Community 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
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/06/20/...

“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
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Philip
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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Melora
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.
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
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Veronique
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, stars-4-0
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
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Elle Maruska
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok I'm going to be incredibly enthusiastic here: I LOVE THIS BOOK.

Like. I love it SO HARD.

I LOVE IT.

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

MONSTER GIRLS! MONSTER GIRLS WHO LOVE AND PROTECT EACH OTHER AND COME TOGETHER TO STOP A SOCIETY OF MEN WHO TREATED THEM AS INHUMAN LIKE I LOVE THIS

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
...more
Lindsay
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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Anthony Ryan
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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’.
Karl
Jul 03, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This book is an advance readers copy.
Fables&Wren
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
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
...more
Rachel Schulte
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
Fran
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Rob
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
...more
Maria
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
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
...more
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
...more
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
Kitkat
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 {ShesGoingBookCrazy.com}
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
...more
Robyn
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
What a lot of fun - fills in the backstory of the daughters of some of horror’s favourite mad scientists. Plus Holmes and Watson!
Roy
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5*. A rehash of old familiar characters with a dash of some new ones in this all female (minus Sherlock Holmes) character adventure. Whilst the book entertained me with its humor, well structured plot and dialogue, the style was a little disjointed at times, which at times felt a little too much. If you're a fan of these old characters but with new unfamiliar faces..give this a shot.
Lena
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lena by: Sword & Laser BOM
Shelves: audio, fantasy

”..an 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. You could say its foundation, because it is as ladies of the evening are being peculiarly murdered all over Whitechapel that our characters meet.

Women of common paternal malfeasance, it could be said they were destined to meet. How clever of Theodora Goss to arrange
...more
☕ Kimberly
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-2017
THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST'S DAUGHTER was a delightful mash-up involving characters from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, Rappacini's Daughter, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Frankenstein, and Dracula. It was clever from its delivery to the author's reinvention of events that occurred. While I have read all of the fore mentioned classics, it is not necessary to have read them. I think most have a vague knowledge of them.

Mary Jekyll's mother has past leaving her in
...more
Lata
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to the Mary and Diana Comedy Show!.....I really enjoyed this take on various monster classics (e.g., Frankenstein, Dracula, Island of Doctor Moreau, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, etc.) Theodora Goss has the daughters of various scientists (the men from these tales) encounter one another and attempt to solve the mysteries of why and what experiments were conducted on them. The girls form a wonderful bond, and each has skills and knowledge that they use to help each other. Collectively, they become ...more
❀⊱Rory⊰❀
4 stars!

This was a delight. Funny, great characters, and very well written. This is an adventure, mystery, historical fiction and fantasy all rolled into one. The only bad part is that I have to wait for the sequel. I want it now!

Mary Jekyll's mother has just passed away after many years of illness and Mary discovers that she is now penniless. The small annuity paid to her mother during her life had supported them both, and it didn't pass down to Mary. When Mary's father died years ago he left o
...more
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezVRq...

Well I just had a mini panic attack after finishing this book and seeing it labeled as a stand alone but THANK GOD it's just wrong on GoodReads! we are getting a sequel!

This book is just so much fun. I want to be adopted into this family so Diana Hyde and I can become best friends! I can't wait for the sequel!
Jonathan Terrington
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pros- great world: blending classic Victorian style literature icons together into a pleasant narrative with beautiful writing
Cons - slow pacing, plot sets up plenty of things to come rather than delivering the full action in this volume

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter was a very clever and beautifully written novel. If I were unaware of the true publication date it would have been easy to believe the air of authenticity surrounding this Victorian-style gothic fantasy. Minus a few m
...more
Diana
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hampered by self-congratulation

A fabulous premise that suffers from the use of interjected commentary courtesy of its characters. Quickly, I began rolling my eyes at the "great writing!" remarks they kept complimenting with. Still, there is much to like about the novel, especially the first half. Goss doesn't have an ear for period speech and her feminism imposed on 19th century women can feel forced and stilted, but I appreciated the vivid characterizations of the women featured in the story an
...more
Milou
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have to start this review by saying that this book was right up my ally... It almost sounded to good to be true, a story combining some of my favourite books. Seeing as I am a sucker for retellings/adaptations of Jeckyll and Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein, Doctor Moreau and Dracula, this book was a dream come true. And I loved it!

Added to these favourite story elements is a massive and very strong female cast. Of course Sherlock and Watson are two leading men, but they are joined by Mary
...more
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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
More about Theodora Goss

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“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!” 11 likes
“Spectacular cases are usually simpler, and less interesting, than they initially appear.” 5 likes
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