The Sword and Laser discussion

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #1)
115 views
Strange Case Alchemists Daughter > TSCotAD: Lemming The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Charles Cadenhead (thatcharliedude) | 190 comments Anybody else contemplating lemming this book? I love fantasy books, Sherlock Holmes stories, I like the classics referenced in this book and I like strong feminine heroes so why am I having a hard time with this story?
After listening to Veronica and Tom gush about this book, and it sounds great, I feel horrible about ditching it but I just can't get into it. I'm over 40% into the story and I am still waiting for something to happen, I feel like the author is still in act 1 setting the stage of the story.
Why am I bored, what's wrong with me? Thanks!


terpkristin | 4183 comments I don't think there's anything wrong with you! Some books just don't work for some folks, and this one isn't clicking for you. If you don't want to Lem it, why not put it on the backburner and see if coming back to it later helps?

Are you to a point where you know who everybody is? I found (and others here have noted it too, in one of the other threads) that it can be a little confusing--especially in the cutscenes--when you don't know who's who. If you don't know who everybody is, maybe see if that will help, if you can hang on?

Are you reading it in print or listening to audio? If you're not listening to the audio, do you have the capability to get the audio? It's pretty fantastic; the narrator is awesome.


Phil | 1150 comments Charles, I don't love it as much as some others here do but I found it does pick up about halfway through. Up to that point you're still getting introduced to important characters.
Maybe give it till you're about 60% in and see what you think.


message 4: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (last edited Oct 13, 2017 05:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tassie Dave | 3596 comments Mod
I think for every one of the 101 books we've read, one or more people have hated it/meh-ed it and lemmed it.

Which is ok. I have outright hated at least 3 of those books and meh-ed another dozen or so. I still finished them. I have made it a point to read every book that is picked.

I've lemmed my share of books. Life is too short and the number of books to read too long to read stuff that doesn't grab me.

I don't agree with you about this book. I loved it and am looking forward to book 2. It's no classic, but it is a lot of fun.


Charles Cadenhead (thatcharliedude) | 190 comments I'm reading it and I think it's the cut-scenes (nice wording) that is throwing me. I feel like it takes me out of the story. And, yes I feel like they are still introducing characters which is why it feels slow to me.
I just feel bad after hearing Veronica and Tom go on and go about how wonderful the book is.
I'm flying next week so I'll take it to read on the plane, I don't think reading it at night in bed has helped.


Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments I didn't abandon it because i almost always finish books, but i wouldn't blame anyone that did. The plotting was quite peculiar. First 75% of the book was slowly getting introduced to all the characters, then a brief action scene with absolutely nothing at stake for any main character (we know they're all fine before it starts) and then its over. Felt more like a first episode of a TV show than a novel.


Charles Cadenhead (thatcharliedude) | 190 comments Brendan wrote: " First 75% of the book was slowly getting introduced to all the characters, then a brief action scene with absolutely nothing at stake for any main character (we know they're all fine before it starts)..."
This and the cutscenes/side bars, I think, are what is throwing me. I read last night and I started skipping the side bars and that helped me with the pacing. The cutscenes seem to be all exposition and don't advance the story. I hope I'm not missing anything important.


Michele | 1154 comments It's a very character-driven story, with the mystery and The Mystery very much sidelined until the end, just like poor Mary keeps getting distracted by all the new people she's dealing with and money problems, and poor Catherine getting distracted by the cut-scene interruptions.

The meta-conversations are kind of an old-school thing, where books often started off with a narrator's greeting to the reader ("Dear reader"), and had occasional asides where the narrator again is directly speaking to the audience. I find them a fun bit of character-building, and this certainly isn't the type of novel where I would expect a main character to die, so I wasn't ever going to feel spoiled by knowing they survived.

But if you can't get into it, that's cool. Not everyone can like every book, and we all have unique tastes and preferences.


Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments Michele wrote: "It's a very character-driven story, with the mystery and The Mystery very much sidelined until the end, just like poor Mary keeps getting distracted by all the new people she's dealing with and mon..."

I think it's fair to say it's a character driven story, but it was more of an ensemble story than a deep dive on character, hence my comment about it reading like a TV show. As a personal preference, I'm not big on ensemble-driven stories.


Charles Cadenhead (thatcharliedude) | 190 comments It is spoilery in that the side bars reveal characters before they are introduced in the main story.


Vanessa | 104 comments I enjoyed it and agree that it would make a great tv show. Perhaps even a spinoff comedy with Diana and Mrs Poole!


Colin Forbes (colinforbes) | 505 comments I didn't Lem the book, but I definitely fell out of love with it in the process of reading. I was really enjoying it at the beginning, but by the end I felt there were so many well know literary characters (or people closely connected to them) that it was suffocating for the story. A bit of a literary "look how clever I am putting these all in here!"

The side-comments interspersed in the audio were also an interesting addition at the outset, but more of an irritation by the end.

I still gave it 3 stars as an entertaining enough bit of fiction, but it clearly wouldn't be a series that I would follow on with.


Trike | 8768 comments There's no need to feel guilty about not liking a book. Entertainment isn't one-size-fits-all. Sometimes a book just doesn't do it for you. No shame in that.

I was not enjoying Ancillary Justice because I wasn't engaged with the characters or plot. I'm glad I finished it because by the time she got to the climax I realized why all that seemingly unimportant stuff earlier absolutely had to be there, but even then it was more of an intellectual appreciation than visceral enjoyment.

And don't let how other people feel about something dictate your enjoyment. Your feelings are valid!

I mean, Empire Strikes Back is almost universally beloved, but I frickin' loooaathe that movie, and have for 37 years. I feel like the kid from the emperor's new clothes story, wondering why everyone else doesn't realize there's nothing there. Like what you like and don't apologize for it.


Steve Horwatt | 14 comments So you're not alone. I very much wanted to like this book, but it just didn't work for me at all. The characters all feel pretty one-note to me. The plot is thin and yet somehow tedious at the same time. Yes, the author integrated characters from number of classic novels. And then failed to really do anything with them. Yes, the author gave voices to neglected female characters. But didn't really give them anything interesting to say. I feel like incorporating Holmes and Watson was a huge mistake, because they just vultured actions that the main characters could have done perfectly well on their own, served as a deus ex machina for points in the plot where the characters needed a convenient insight, and reminded me how much better Sherlock Holmes stories are than this book. The whole thing fell very flat for me, and it was a chore to finish it.


message 15: by Todd (new)

Todd Carrozzi | 60 comments I definitely get it, although I really loved this one. It might be due to the way Kate Reading totally rocked the audiobook version. Otherwise I think the sidebar conversations would have gotten to me. Which is good because I do try not to Lem books, and I just did with Helliconia Spring...and sort of(I'll say just a postponement) of Gunslinger. So I really needed a win this time. :)
I would definitely agree that she did throw a LOT of characters from other works of fiction in there. As there is already a sequel, and I'm sure there will be more, it would have been nice if she hadn't gone so over the top.


back to top