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The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

(The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  16,616 ratings  ·  2,848 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
Paperback, 402 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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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 a…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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Average rating 3.81  · 
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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 m
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, spooky
what could be better than a found family of monster girls solving mysteries in the victorian era
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
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
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Q: We are modern. And, of course, monstrous . . . (c)

I read this one on a whim and am not disappointed too much.

The good:
- The banter lovely.
- The sleuthy setting.
- Love the setting and the character building.

The bad:
- Where's the info for the world-setting? Yes, I know, everyone's always crying about infodumps. Well, I love my infodumps and there's no info in here. Who are these people standing next to the grave? For example, who is this gal Diana? Why do I have to look for this unfo around t
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 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
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
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
In a lot of ways, this is a near-perfect arrow shot going through the hearts of all the very best penny dreadfuls, from Frankenstein to Doctor Moreau. Add all the delightful references to Dracula, Van Helsing, Hyde, (and even Lamarck!), and we've got ourselves a great mish-mash of fantasy, SF, and horror classics in one delightfully female-heavy tale that invites the heavyweight services of Sherlock in for the ride.

It really is charming. For the first half, I was entirely on board like I was wat
Katie Colson
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This felt like Morticia Addams was reading me a bedtime story

A found family of monsters solving crimes with Sherlock Holmes? SAY LESS!!! I beg you. I couldn't throw myself into this book fast enough or with more gusto. I am OBSESSED. This was specific brand of tea steeped perfectly. These characters are my life now.
samantha  Bookworm-on-rainydays
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
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
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
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2017, 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
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’.
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
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
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
Jul 03, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This book is an advance readers copy.
Wren (fablesandwren)
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
Auntie Terror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a funny, clever romp through Victorian Monsters ( Jackyl and Hyde, Moureau and some of his creations, Frankenstein,.Sherlock Holmes and Watson are also characters. I enjoyed the humour. The female characters were a great mix of personalities. I especially liked Mrs Poole, the cook. Together they become the Athena Club and the ending has set us up nicely for the sequel.
rachel ☾
quick thoughts:

the moment riley marie talked about this book in her vlog, i knew it was going to be a new favourite of mine too.

fun. i read this, mostly, during my state's first proper lockdown and it was a breath of fresh air.
found family. i sound like a broken record at this point but found family is my favourite trope. there's nothing quite like a ragtag group of misfits finding each other and making a home where they can all be their unabashed selves.
the writing style. the book
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Having taken my sweet time to get around to this one, I'm glad I finally did; Theodora Goss has written a story that reads like comfort food tastes.

The idea of taking various female Victorian literary mad scientists, and bringing their daughters - or "daughters", as the case may be - together, is a great one - as Theodora Goss notes herself in the acknowledgements, there was a trend, for a while, of bringing women into the story as the subject of their various experiments. She's given them back
Lisa Wolf
When we meet Mary Jekyll, she’s in a sorry state. Her mother has just died after many years of madness, and Mary is left in her family home, already stripped of valuables over the years as she sold whatever she could in order to make ends meet. Now, Mary has no choice but to dismiss the household staff, count her few remaining coins, and try to find a way to eke out a few more. When Mary learns that her mother was sending regular payments to “Hyde”, care of a religious society, she’s both suspic ...more
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.
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 Gothic fict
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 b
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
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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 PhD 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 novel ...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)

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