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European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

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In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all. Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes a In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all. Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole. But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing been doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine reach her in time? Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies.


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In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all. Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes a In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all. Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole. But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing been doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine reach her in time? Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies.

30 review for European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

  1. 4 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    STOP👏RATINGS👏BOOKS👏YOU👏HAVEN'T👏READ👏

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    This Victorian-era fantasy brings together a valiant group of women who are the results of mens’ scientific experiments: men like Dr. Moreau, Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and others. In this worthy but long-winded sequel to The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, this group of women head to Europe to try to rescue a young woman, Lucinda van Helsing, who’s been kidnapped and may be in grave danger. It’s got a great cast of characters, and some fun new ones join the story. But this book is re This Victorian-era fantasy brings together a valiant group of women who are the results of mens’ scientific experiments: men like Dr. Moreau, Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and others. In this worthy but long-winded sequel to The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, this group of women head to Europe to try to rescue a young woman, Lucinda van Helsing, who’s been kidnapped and may be in grave danger. It’s got a great cast of characters, and some fun new ones join the story. But this book is really long and just so detailed, and not always in a good way. I mean, it’s possible to be inspired a bit TOO much by Victorian novels. Full review to come, after it posts on Fantasy Literature.

  3. 3 out of 5

    ❀⊱Rory⊰❀

    So much fun and I love the characters. More please!

  4. 3 out of 5

    Lena

    “I stop listening when academics start mixing their Greek and Latin roots, that never leads anywhere productive.” Theodora Goss you excel at finding, and creating, remarkable historic female characters. They are unique, usually harmonious, and a pleasure to spend time with. Which is fortunate as it was a very long journey and short on action. The leisurely pace is redeemed through the sheer novelty of bringing together Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Frankenstein and making them secondary characters! “I stop listening when academics start mixing their Greek and Latin roots, that never leads anywhere productive.” Theodora Goss you excel at finding, and creating, remarkable historic female characters. They are unique, usually harmonious, and a pleasure to spend time with. Which is fortunate as it was a very long journey and short on action. The leisurely pace is redeemed through the sheer novelty of bringing together Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Frankenstein and making them secondary characters! Goss uses the world building/plots but keeps her focus on the women of The Athena Club.

  5. 3 out of 5

    Devann

    Well that took [looks at calendar] literally three weeks. And not even because I spent a lot of time actually reading the book because oh boy did my skimming skills get put to use here, but more because I just could not bring myself to keep picking it back up. I finally powered through the last 30% last night because I just couldn't stand it anymore. Anyway, I gave it two stars in the most 'A for effort' rating that I have ever doled out because while it was the most boring thing ever, it did no Well that took [looks at calendar] literally three weeks. And not even because I spent a lot of time actually reading the book because oh boy did my skimming skills get put to use here, but more because I just could not bring myself to keep picking it back up. I finally powered through the last 30% last night because I just couldn't stand it anymore. Anyway, I gave it two stars in the most 'A for effort' rating that I have ever doled out because while it was the most boring thing ever, it did not necessarily inspire the level of loathing that I save for those rare one star books. Look, this is a really great idea to meld a lot of classic stories together and also give women a voice in them, but my god it just drones on and on and on and there was barely enough story in here for a book half this length. Honestly at this point Diana is almost the only character I can stand because at least she just DOES things instead of talking about each and every step she wants to take for ten pages. There was one point where Cat said she likes writing from Mary's POV because 'Justine is too philosophical and Diana is too chaotic and a narrative does need to move forward after all' and I just about LOST IT because moving the narrative forward is NOT this book's strong suit. Speaking of the POVs, why why why does she not just write shorter chapters and alternate POVs as if each girl is writing their own section. The constant asides are absolutely infuriating at this point and do nothing to move the plot forward. Also they keep telling you to buy the first book [for only two shillings!] in the asides and like it was funny the first time and MAYBE the second time but by the literally NINTH time I was over it I wanted to scream. There's a few good things in here still. Like I said, I do like most of Diana's scenes and she is definitely my favorite character. This book also introduced more adult characters from the actual source material like Mina Harker, Irene Norton, and Carmilla which was cool but ultimately not enough to make up for how frustrating everything else was. Also it looks like the next book is going to be more focused on the Sherlock Holmes mythology but unfortunately I just cannot continue this series. The first book was only okay but this was one just such a struggle.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    The further adventures of the Athena Club continuing from The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter (two shillings from reputable booksellers). The members of the Athena Club travel to Eastern Europe to rescue Lucinda Van Helsing, a young dutch woman who's been experimented on and imprisoned by her father. On the way they encounter more opposition from the Société des Alchimistes as well as encountering a variety of other famous figures of the period, both real and imagined. Mary Jekyll, Diana The further adventures of the Athena Club continuing from The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter (two shillings from reputable booksellers). The members of the Athena Club travel to Eastern Europe to rescue Lucinda Van Helsing, a young dutch woman who's been experimented on and imprisoned by her father. On the way they encounter more opposition from the Société des Alchimistes as well as encountering a variety of other famous figures of the period, both real and imagined. Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde and Justine Frankenstein are the first group to depart on the Orient Express to attempt a rescue and Catherine Moreau and Beatrice Rappaccini also have a role to play. I'm forced to compare this to the recent Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys. It also is the second in a series about a found family that plays with historical fantastic literature, and in both cases the second book is much longer than the first. Also, both books are something of a talkfest, with most of the focus being on conversation and characterization. I think this book executes the concept much better than the Emrys one, mostly by including a fairly interesting and relatively fast-moving plot. The travelogue of Dracula's Europe is also a lot of fun, and the wonderful writing brings the settings of Budapest and other Eastern European locations to life brilliantly. The stars, of course, are the "monstrous" women of the club, with the interactions of Diana and Mary being particularly great. The framing conceit of interjections from the "real" characters into the dramatized narrative written by Catherine continue to be brilliant, offering a lot of insight and humor across the board. The series continues to be brilliant, and I'm very much looking forward to the next one based on the teaser that this book ends with.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Austin

    European Travel for the Mostrous Gentlewoman was preposterous, contrived, way too long, shamefully propagandistic, and not the sort of book that respectable people should be caught anywhere near. And I loved it. The book is not as tightly plotted as The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, but it has the same approach to its subject matter, which is to create an absolutely ridiculous story out of bits and pieces of Victorian novels (most of which take themselves way to seriously) and never f European Travel for the Mostrous Gentlewoman was preposterous, contrived, way too long, shamefully propagandistic, and not the sort of book that respectable people should be caught anywhere near. And I loved it. The book is not as tightly plotted as The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, but it has the same approach to its subject matter, which is to create an absolutely ridiculous story out of bits and pieces of Victorian novels (most of which take themselves way to seriously) and never fall into the same trap. One never gets the sense that the author is doing anything other than having fun. The basic moral of the story is something like "don't try to cook in God's kitchen"--which is the basic moral of pretty much all of the stories represented in the pastiche: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Island of Dr. Moreau, "Rappaccini's Daughter," and Frankenstein. With a fair bit of Sherlock Holmes thrown in for good measure. But the real moral of the story is that all of these ridiculous Victorian novels written by men used women as plot devices rather than actual characters and, in the process, deprived them of their story--which Ms. Goss is determined to tell her own way, which (I think) is a pretty good way. With the women in charge, the stories change--but every time the book is in danger of taking itself too seriously, Goss brings in the device of the characters sitting around and writing the book together in a narrative future. This is an important device because it keeps the focus of the book on having fun. This volume brings in two new Victorian novels into the mix: Dracula, who is teased through the presence of Renfield and Seward in the first volume, but is fleshed out substantially in this one; and Ryder Haggard's wonderful novel She, about which I will say very little to avoid spoilers. The cast expands almost, but not quite, to the edge of the reader's ability to keep track of stuff. And there are plenty of loose ends to be tied up in the inevitable sequel. I loved it. I stayed up all night reading it. But, as I am a respectable English professor, I did fairly hate myself in the morning.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Briana

    So...this took me a LONG time to finish. I absolutely loved the first book in this series, and was eagerly awaiting the sequel. Unfortunately, this didn’t quite live up to my expectations. This could’ve been two hundred pages shorter and nothing would’ve been lost. There were SO many unnecessary details in this, from what the countryside looked like to every single the thing the girls were eating to the extremely detailed furnishings of houses. I don’t need any of that, and a lot of it was extre So...this took me a LONG time to finish. I absolutely loved the first book in this series, and was eagerly awaiting the sequel. Unfortunately, this didn’t quite live up to my expectations. This could’ve been two hundred pages shorter and nothing would’ve been lost. There were SO many unnecessary details in this, from what the countryside looked like to every single the thing the girls were eating to the extremely detailed furnishings of houses. I don’t need any of that, and a lot of it was extremely repetitive. I get it. Catherine is a puma, they need to sell books, Mary lives in London. And I can’t tell you how little I care about green hills and the different assortment of pastries there were. I was annoyed much more in this book with the girls’ interruptions, and didn’t find it funny or cute anymore when they kept saying I had to read the first book. Obviously I had to read the first book- why the hell else would I pick up a sequel before I read the previous one? Also...if you loved Mary in the first book, be prepared for her suddenly turning into a dumb ass. I’m not sure why she became such a naive idiot in this book, but she did, and I hated it. She was so brave and strong in the first one, I’m not sure why anyone thought she had to change. I only cared about the actual things that mattered, and when I was reading about those, I enjoyed the book. But there was a lot of lulls and pointless backstories that I just skimmed over. I’m really disappointed in this and I wish so much had been taken out. This was a poor imitation of the first book and I felt like the only thing I read that was interesting was about Lucinda and Carmilla, and that’s because I took a vampire class in college and I loved how she incorporated the stories. Take this sequel with a grain of salt if you were enamored with the first.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Absolutely great, if you enjoyed The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter you will love this book. Not only do we get to know the characters from the first book better and learn more about their pasts but we get to be introduced to a bunch of new characters whose range of backgrounds, history and abilities are amazing. Can't wait for the third book!

  10. 3 out of 5

    Kitkat

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really liked this book. I thought it took a while to set up however I loved every bit of it. How Holmes bought an extra ticket for Diana because she would tag along. Then they went off and met Holmes' associate, Irene. I can understand why they are friends because Irene is very similar to Sherlock. However before that Mary, Justine, and Diana went on the Orient express which I thought a murder was going to happen according to Agatha Christie. However Mary fell head over heals for a boy who is I really liked this book. I thought it took a while to set up however I loved every bit of it. How Holmes bought an extra ticket for Diana because she would tag along. Then they went off and met Holmes' associate, Irene. I can understand why they are friends because Irene is very similar to Sherlock. However before that Mary, Justine, and Diana went on the Orient express which I thought a murder was going to happen according to Agatha Christie. However Mary fell head over heals for a boy who is apparently apart of the alchemical society. I felt bad for her on how embarrassed she was. Many things did happen before the plot took place but dam it went crazy. Mary and the others run to Irene like I said before and they start to plan how to get Lucinda out of the asylum. At home Sherlock Holmes goes missing which is very suspicious. Cat finds out information that some members are going to meet about Van Helsing. Cat brings Alice there hiding and they find out that they're planning to overthrow Madame President. I was surprised that the President is a female and also that they're getting rid of her. Cat hears Prendick which makes her hate or love him. I honestly loved their complicated relationship but it sadden me. Anyway Prendick looks straight at them but doesn't see them at all. Alice some how made them invisible to his eyes and they soon help the orangutan man. He was created by Prendick but soon they help him escape. Archibald is his given name and now helps around with Mrs. Poole. I honestly think he's awesome. Back to Mary's group Diana comes up with a brilliant idea to get Lucinda out. She'll be admitted in the asylum and Diana is going to be diagnosed by a psychologist. Mary is also diagnosed but she doesn't want to do that again. He was really rude and she doesn't like it. Diana goes in and finds Lucinda. However she finds Lucinda's mother. Lucinda's mother drinks from her and Diana starts a fire to get them out of there. If they didn't get out she would've died there. How Mary was so worried about Diana was heartwarming. Then they escape fighting the vampires. I knew they were vampires but they didn't know why bullets didn't help. Soon after they leave and Lucinda refuses to eat. Every time she eats she throws up. Diana tells them she needs blood and Mary offers hers. Diana flips out telling her to get away from her sister. I loved that Mary laughed at that because she didn't believe Diana would freak out. To Cat's group, Cat and Beatrice join the circus. Beatrice and Clarence are adorable together! I loved them together but I understand Beatrice's cautiousness. Then they're off to Venice. Someone steals Cat's telegram which the person is Sasha. But she thinks it's the new person. They're all mad at her but she forgives Cat. Cat and Beatrice get there and Irene tells them they're missing. Mary's group gets kidnapped by her father. She finds out Hyde is taking Lucinda's blood to heal Adam. Then she finds out that Hyde created her by drugging her mother. What the fuck? That's crazy! Now we know why she was a perfect baby and never cries. How Hyde just ignores Diana and gives attention to Mary. I mean I understand why but that had to hurt Diana. I feel bad for her. They escape by Carmilla and Laura. Laura and Carmilla together is adorable! I love them together. Also Mina was a spy for alchemical society. Then how the nurse for her mother was a spy. Everyone they know is a spy. Also we meet Count Dracula who is badass. I loved that during their conversation on how Lucy was dead and Mina being married to a horrible man, the Count winks at her coming in. I loved that Diana was hanging out with the dogs. I wish they had a dog like the Count. Beatrice and Cat come yay! They're all together and they take down Van Helsing's plan. They save the society and they try to stop the experiments. Prendick sadly passes away by trying to save Cat. I thought it was sweet but sad. Then the President says no to their request. Beatrice makes a request to make a human rights section in the society which she allows surprisingly. There is progress but the next book is the last one. I'm excited but sad for this series to end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Westaway

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I LOVED the Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, and I couldn't wait for the second book in the series to come out. So I was hugely disappointed to find that it didn't stand up to the excellence of the first book. I still liked most of the main characters, but I had big problems with Mary and Cat. Why has Mary suddenly turned stupid??? She was smart and brave in the first book, but in this book she has suddenly become completely dense. The number of times she 'had no idea what was going on' I LOVED the Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, and I couldn't wait for the second book in the series to come out. So I was hugely disappointed to find that it didn't stand up to the excellence of the first book. I still liked most of the main characters, but I had big problems with Mary and Cat. Why has Mary suddenly turned stupid??? She was smart and brave in the first book, but in this book she has suddenly become completely dense. The number of times she 'had no idea what was going on' when it was obvious to everyone else in the room what was about to happen. For example, having spent 4 days with Lucinda feeding her blood, why on earth did she stand there wondering over and over again what Hyde was about to do when he said 'We're going to feed Lucinda, here is a girl who has volunteered and here is a sharp knife'. Obviously Agnes is going to give Lucinda blood. Why on earth does Mary have to wonder for four paragraphs what is about to happen, and not realise until Hyde cuts Agnes' arm? And when Adam shows up again, Mary recognises the voice, sees Justine's reaction, but 'has no idea what is going on'. The author makes a point of saying that Mary works with Holmes and she was so clever and took so much initiative in the first book, but all of that has vanished in this book. She has become the thickest of bricks and it's hugely disappointing. There are few things more irritating than a main character who hasn't got a clue what's going on when the reader has figured it out pages ago. One of the things that is more irritating? The constant ads for the first book and mentions that Cat is a puma. Seriously, I think the word 'puma' was in this book at least eleventy-seven times. We get it. She's a puma. And enough with the ads. It was funny the first couple of times - the 10th time it was incredibly irritating. My other main gripe with this book was that it rehashed so many emotions, characters and scenarios from the first book. Did no one actually die in that fire at the end of book 1? There was some point in Prendick escaping, since we hadn't properly had the showdown between him and Cat, and the situation felt unresolved. But we had the big scene between Adam and Justine. We had Mary realising that Hyde was her father and meeting him again. Time to move on to something new. But instead, we are just getting the same villains and the same emotions all over again. Except this time we are getting them with Mary being an idiot who has lost all her initiative. It's a poorer rehash of the first book and it feels like either the author wasn't happy with the first book, or else had no new ideas for the second book. Very disappointing for a series that had so much promise.

  12. 3 out of 5

    Wing Kee

    More of the same and that’s good. World: The world building is pretty great, it’s one of the best things from the last book. I’m a sucker for taking established literary characters and playing with them in fun new ways (sometimes they turn out great sometimes not so much). Here, the world building is solid, Goss has a strong understanding of these characters and then plays with their backstory to make it unique and fun. I love that travelling aspect of this book as staying in London would have b More of the same and that’s good. World: The world building is pretty great, it’s one of the best things from the last book. I’m a sucker for taking established literary characters and playing with them in fun new ways (sometimes they turn out great sometimes not so much). Here, the world building is solid, Goss has a strong understanding of these characters and then plays with their backstory to make it unique and fun. I love that travelling aspect of this book as staying in London would have been tedious and making the scope bigger is always a fun thing. I’m not going to spoil anything but this world is a fun place to visit. Story: The pacing is much like the first book, it’s a bit slow and plodding and sometimes too meticulous for it’s own good in giving us drama and tension. There are also choppy and basic action scenes which are few and far between and written fairly basically. That being said, this is not the best part about this book, it’s the characters that make it great and we get the same banter and stories this time as with the last book. The journey they go for Lucinda is interesting and the two groups travelling separately is good cause it allows Goss to focus on character interaction and let’s their characters shine. The new pieces this time are told well and the core story is solid. The writing style is also fresh and fun with the breaking of the fourth walk something I really enjoy and allows for situations and dialog that normally would not be possible if the story was traditional. A good second chapter to a series that I hope keeps going and going. Characters: The heart of this book. It is the best thing about this book and Goss knows it. The group interact well and have distinct character voice and it’s amazingly fun reading their interaction and their personalities butting heads and develop. The new characters this time around are also fun and the twist and play on expected and preexisting idea if them is interesting. I really won’t talk much here cause this is the best part of the book and the main reason to read it. I love this group of ladies and I love this series. It’s not perfect but the characters alone make for a fun read. Onward to the next book!

  13. 3 out of 5

    Maddie

    This book is 700 pages. It could have been 300. Way too long and excessively padded on the word count. Otherwise I loved the story just like I loved the first one. But seriously why wasn't this edited down?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Robertson

    Have I mentioned how much I love novels set in the Victorian Period? I wanted to love this book. I did love “The Strange Case Of The Alchemist Daughter “ and Theodora Goss is a favorite author, which is why I am sad to say this one fell a bit short for me. I liked it and did not love it. While her characters are fully fleshed, flawed and delightful, this time they seemed to have lost some of their unique voices. The fact that the narrator on Audible did not do as good of a job, did not help. The Have I mentioned how much I love novels set in the Victorian Period? I wanted to love this book. I did love “The Strange Case Of The Alchemist Daughter “ and Theodora Goss is a favorite author, which is why I am sad to say this one fell a bit short for me. I liked it and did not love it. While her characters are fully fleshed, flawed and delightful, this time they seemed to have lost some of their unique voices. The fact that the narrator on Audible did not do as good of a job, did not help. The plot was over complicated. The multiple kidnaps and subsequent rescues were not always done by our main characters, adding too many new characters. I still love Diana Hyde because she has all of the street smarts and reads people so well. While this is a mystery and a chase it’s suppose to be a light touch. Diana is always the comic relief. The ending was a “to be continued “. This was still entertaining enough for me to go onto the third when it comes out.

  15. 3 out of 5

    retro

    A variation on the same plot happens three times in this book. Heroines go to a foreign place. Food (especially pastries) and clothing and architecture are described to a ridiculous degree. Heroines are threatened/abducted/in need of aid. A very wily female character comes to their rescue (with her household of other helpful characters). Bad guys are not defeated but merely delayed. Rinse, repeat. Some serials fall into the trap of having to come up with a Bigger Baddie with every installment as A variation on the same plot happens three times in this book. Heroines go to a foreign place. Food (especially pastries) and clothing and architecture are described to a ridiculous degree. Heroines are threatened/abducted/in need of aid. A very wily female character comes to their rescue (with her household of other helpful characters). Bad guys are not defeated but merely delayed. Rinse, repeat. Some serials fall into the trap of having to come up with a Bigger Baddie with every installment as a way of upping the ante. This book makes the opposite error of having baddies never disappear from the story. Plots from the first book are rehashed. Old beats revisited ad nauseam. And the final fight, the climax of these 700 pages of travel arrangements, kidnappings, and mustache-twirling villainy? One of the characters even points out that it feels staged, too easy, and anticlimactic. So that's great. As for the meta interruptions by the characters in the book discussing the events of the book? Still irritating.

  16. 3 out of 5

    terpkristin

    I wasn't as interested in this story as I was in the original story, maybe because I wasn't as familiar with the supporting cast ((view spoiler)[I haven't read the stories of VanHelsing or much about Dracula (hide spoiler)] ). That said, I still enjoyed the story...and the setup for book 3! I can't wait to go to book 3. The intrigue setup in this book about the powers of mesmerism were pretty fun, though the main problem seemed solved too easily, for all the setup. I think this book was doing a l I wasn't as interested in this story as I was in the original story, maybe because I wasn't as familiar with the supporting cast ((view spoiler)[I haven't read the stories of VanHelsing or much about Dracula (hide spoiler)] ). That said, I still enjoyed the story...and the setup for book 3! I can't wait to go to book 3. The intrigue setup in this book about the powers of mesmerism were pretty fun, though the main problem seemed solved too easily, for all the setup. I think this book was doing a lot of setup for book 3. I wonder where it will take us.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Pierce

    I love Victorian horror stuff. The book is not really good for everyone, which is why I only give it 3 stars. I find it addicting despite the writing style.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    4.5* review to come later

  19. 3 out of 5

    victoria.p

    This was a really fun read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    This is a really enjoyable adventure tour of Europe with the members of the Athena Club, who are trying to save Van Helsing's daughter from her father and put a stop to the monstrous experiments of the Alchemists' Society. As in the first book, we meet more characters from 19th-century genre fiction, and we listen to the banter, chatter, and sometimes bickering of the Athena Club as they read over Catherine Moreau's shoulder while she writes their adventures. The Athena's Club stories are very m This is a really enjoyable adventure tour of Europe with the members of the Athena Club, who are trying to save Van Helsing's daughter from her father and put a stop to the monstrous experiments of the Alchemists' Society. As in the first book, we meet more characters from 19th-century genre fiction, and we listen to the banter, chatter, and sometimes bickering of the Athena Club as they read over Catherine Moreau's shoulder while she writes their adventures. The Athena's Club stories are very much ensemble adventures, in which the interplay of the characters are as important as the adventure plot. The first book in the series was as much a collection of origin stories as it was an adventure in itself, and in this one we get to see the characters develop and rub against one another. The 700-page book gives a huge amount of space to this. The interjections of the characters reading their adventures, introduced in the first book, are as much a feature of the story as the plot and I found them delightful; warm and hilarious.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Dhu

    European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman is Theodora Goss’ second novel featuring the members of the Athena Club - Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, all the female creations of men of science, members of the secretive organisation the Société des Alchimistes. The monstrous gentlewomen have a new mission - a journey to the Continent, to rescue if they can another woman they feel is by nature a member of their unusual club, Lucinda Van H European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman is Theodora Goss’ second novel featuring the members of the Athena Club - Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, all the female creations of men of science, members of the secretive organisation the Société des Alchimistes. The monstrous gentlewomen have a new mission - a journey to the Continent, to rescue if they can another woman they feel is by nature a member of their unusual club, Lucinda Van Helsing - whose existence they have become aware if through Mary’s former governess, Mina Murray Harker (who readers of Victorian science fantasy will recognise as the bride of Jonathan Harker). But something is brewing among the English members of the Society, so the gentlewomen decide to divide their numbers - while Catherine hunts down the clues to what is happening in England, and Beatrice takes care of Diana, who Mary feels is still too young and impetuous to be left to her own devices, Mary and Justine (passing as a man) will go to Vienna. Thanks to Mary’s employer, the world’s only consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, Mary and Justine will have help once they reach Vienna, as Holmes has armed them with a letter of introduction to a well-positioned woman of society, the widow Irene Norton, née Adler. As one might expect, this division of labour is rejected by Diana, who follows Mary and Justine, disguised as a young boy, and ultimately proves to be as essential to the mission as the others. Of course, with the names Harker and Van Helsing so prominent in the narrative, it’s no surprise that this Athena Club adventure deals with vampirism, drawing not only on the original Bram Stoker Dracula, but also on the less familiar novella by Sheridan Le Fanu, Carmilla, as basis and inspiration for some of its key events. The literary nerd in me loves what Goss is doing in these novels, playing with the tropes of the foundational literature of both the sf and mystery genres, integrating real cultural history (such as the pivotal role played by Sigmund Freud in the rescue of Lucinda Van Helsing, and ongoing references to the suffragette movement) into the fictional accounts of these “monstrous” women. Goss’ treatment of Irene Adler is a thing of beauty, and her mentorship of Mary, Justine and Diana - giving them an example of an intelligent, accomplished woman fully the equal of any man and prepared to work outside of convention and the law to achieve her goals - is a delight to read. The novel is written in the same style as the first, largely a standard narrative, but interrupted at regular intervals by conversations after the fact among the members of the Athena Club, in a kind of meta-narrative that is occurring after the fact, back at home, as Catherine reads her account of their adventures to the others and they discuss what really happened, and how Catherine has portrayed them. This technique adds to our understanding of the characters and their relationships, and provides just enough release of tension to reassure us that our heroines will survive, without giving away too much of the story in advance. The story ends on a cliff-hanger - while the main plot, the rescue of Lucinda and the confrontation with the Société des Alchimistes - is brought to a conclusion in one case, and a suitable resting point in the other, other concerns which had seemed peripheral to the narrative suddenly take prominence, and suggest the shape of the next novel, which I most eagerly look forward to.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Jenia

    This is a review for book #2 of the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, so there's spoilers for the first book. If you're thinking of getting into the series, check out my review of book #1, The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter! European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman picks up where the last book left off: the Athena Club has gotten a request to help the missing Lucinda Van Hellsing. They must set off from London and make their way across the Austro-Hungarian Empire This is a review for book #2 of the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, so there's spoilers for the first book. If you're thinking of getting into the series, check out my review of book #1, The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter! European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman picks up where the last book left off: the Athena Club has gotten a request to help the missing Lucinda Van Hellsing. They must set off from London and make their way across the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue her. Along the way, of course, they run into members of the mysterious Alchemical Society, some of whom have their own agenda. The Athena Club thus has to make sure they not only save Lucinda, but also don't get into even greater trouble themselves. I really loved the first book in this series and I enjoyed the sequel too. It offers a lot of the same (in a good way!) — funny asides and bickering that breaks the fourth wall; encounters with historical and literary personages, including Irene Adler and Dr Freud; and altogether a fun, female-centric adventure. Except this time, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire! Which, by the way, I don't know Hungary well at all, but Goss definitely nailed Vienna. It's very pretty, it runs on coffee, and Knödel (Austrian dumplings) are disgusting. Because it's a sequel, however, we get more time to deepen the bonds between the Athena Club members. I really appreciated that: while before the group felt more like a team thrown together by necessity, now they feel more like friends. The whole club is split into two for most of the book, and I enjoyed seeing them interact and solve problems without their whole "arsenal". Justine and Mary's growing friendship was a highlight for me: it's just nice to see two relatively polite, quiet people get shit done together. My favourite character, however, remains Beatrice. Her interruptions to talk about social issues, which then got interrupted by others who're sick of hearing it, was my favourite running gag. It, ah, hits close to home. And the new characters introduced are great too. The funnest of them was Irene Adler, who's so quietly confident in everything she does. She's at least a decade older than most of the Athena Club members and it's just cool to see her helping the "younger generation" out. Somewhere 3/4 of the way through the book I realised that most of the characters here were female. The Athena Club meets random people on their adventure and... those random people are usually women. Not that there aren't any fun male characters. (Hooray for Clarence, the "Zulu Prince", getting a bigger role!) But still, it gave me the oddly bewildering thought of, "Huh, it this what it's like to read a random book as a guy?" Unfortunately, my one issue with the book is a pretty big one: I just found it too long. Several of the running gags get a little tiring in such a large book (Cat and her puma ways unfortunately got a bit much for me); while I enjoyed all the asides about the pastries they ate, I think the book could have been overall stronger with less detail. It's weird, because I'd honestly be very excited to get ten more Athena Club books. I'd just prefer them all to be more the size of the first one. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed this continuation of the Athena Club's adventures and I'm eagerly looking forward to book #3! I recommend this book for: - People who liked book #1! - Fans of female-centric books - Fans of pastiches - Fans of fourth-wall breaking humour - People who enjoy stories about travel - Audiobook fans: Kate Reading is an amazing narrator! I don't recommend to people who really love Knödel. Boo, Knödel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I find it difficult to rate this book. It was almost twice as long as the previous entry in the series, yet it feels to me that less actually happened in it. And the parts that were interesting, such as (view spoiler)[Alice's manifestation of abilities (hide spoiler)] were dwarfed by seemingly-endless meandering plot threads that were mostly irrelevant, like that of the theft of the telegram from Catherine's luggage. Much of the action seemingly had no stakes or consequences. Mary, Diana, Justin I find it difficult to rate this book. It was almost twice as long as the previous entry in the series, yet it feels to me that less actually happened in it. And the parts that were interesting, such as (view spoiler)[Alice's manifestation of abilities (hide spoiler)] were dwarfed by seemingly-endless meandering plot threads that were mostly irrelevant, like that of the theft of the telegram from Catherine's luggage. Much of the action seemingly had no stakes or consequences. Mary, Diana, Justine, and Lucinda are (view spoiler)[kidnapped and captured by Hyde (hide spoiler)] , for seemingly no good reason, and they quickly (view spoiler)[escape (hide spoiler)] , and those events are never mentioned again and have no consequences in the rest of the story. Madame President is set up as a worthy adversary/antagonist/anti-hero, yet I fully expect that we will never hear from her again. The ending is set up as a cliffhanger for book three, but I don't have much faith at this point that the setup that Goss generates will pay off in a satisfying way. Goss' characterization is excellent. Her characters are nuanced and fully-realized. The underlying premise that there is a society of "mad scientists" who share research and sometimes delve into the unethical, is fascinating. The narrative structure, with the asides by the characters in the "present day", remains delightful. It just feels like wasted potential. I'll still most likely read book three, but my expectations will be tempered.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cherei

    'European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club)' is one of the best books to debut this summer of 2018!! I was absolutely immersed into the story of the Athena Club and their quest to save Lucinda Van Helsing from her father's experiment to make her a vampire. If you love the Gothic stories of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Moreau, Count Dracula, Rappacini, and Sherlock Holmes.. this is a MUST read series!! The author has fleshed out all o 'European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club)' is one of the best books to debut this summer of 2018!! I was absolutely immersed into the story of the Athena Club and their quest to save Lucinda Van Helsing from her father's experiment to make her a vampire. If you love the Gothic stories of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Moreau, Count Dracula, Rappacini, and Sherlock Holmes.. this is a MUST read series!! The author has fleshed out all of the favorite fictional characters.. and given them a rebirth! This wonderful romp begins in Victorian London. The Athena club travels by train, coach, and even an early automobile from Paris to Vienna to Budapest to save Van Helsing's daughter who has been kidnapped. The Athena Club must battle monsters that are determined to prevent them from finding Lucinda Van Helsing and ending the secretive Alchemical Society members mad scientific experiments. The reader learns a great deal about Athena Club members pasts and how their "fathers" experimented upon them. I totally enjoyed reading about the members who traveled with the circus. Most of the girls have many experiences that made them who they are.. as they come together.. bonded through horrific experiments conducted by the person who gave them life. They become a sisterhood that will do whatever needs doing.. to protect one another from further pain.

  25. 3 out of 5

    Maria Guglielmo

    An incredibly fun read, this sequel to the first novel sends the Athena Club, a group of female 'monster' protagonists, over a good part of late 1800s Europe on another adventure. The book is written as a story within a story, with one of the Athena Club, Catherine Moreau (a panther-woman from the famous island) narrating her novel to the other members. There are a lot of inside writing jokes which I adored, and the characters are so vivid and engaging it's amazing the author juggles so many of An incredibly fun read, this sequel to the first novel sends the Athena Club, a group of female 'monster' protagonists, over a good part of late 1800s Europe on another adventure. The book is written as a story within a story, with one of the Athena Club, Catherine Moreau (a panther-woman from the famous island) narrating her novel to the other members. There are a lot of inside writing jokes which I adored, and the characters are so vivid and engaging it's amazing the author juggles so many of them so perfectly.I listened to the audio version, and simply didn't want it to end. The novel has a Sherlock-Holmes level of violence (in fact, it has Sherlock Holmes himself), no sex to speak of, and does spend a good deal of time describing Continental cuisine, especially desserts. Adult fantasy fans and older teen readers are a good audience for this book, which I highly recommend.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Series is going strong. The Athena Club characters are terrific and very much themselves. I did have some trouble keeping some of the minor characters straight, but maybe that says more about me. I enjoyed the descriptions of the circus, of Vienna, of Budapest. This is very much a food-oriented book, it makes me want to eat my way through Eastern Europe. Also, as a very squeamish person, the feeding habits of the characters who were infected by vampirism were difficult and I had to do some skimm Series is going strong. The Athena Club characters are terrific and very much themselves. I did have some trouble keeping some of the minor characters straight, but maybe that says more about me. I enjoyed the descriptions of the circus, of Vienna, of Budapest. This is very much a food-oriented book, it makes me want to eat my way through Eastern Europe. Also, as a very squeamish person, the feeding habits of the characters who were infected by vampirism were difficult and I had to do some skimming. Hoping for fewer vampires in the next one. I really enjoy Ms. Goss' writing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Fun and fast read brings back some of the greats of vampire lore. The second book also includes a major nod to H. Rider Haggard and his lost civilization plots. Now back to London and a certain spider of crime for our monstrous gentlewomen as the author plants a major cliffhanger at the end of her book. This series is on its way to becoming a proper Victorian triple-decker.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Jo (Mixed Book Bag)

    Just as much fun as the first book. Once again our Gentlewomen are off on a dangerous journey. I love how Goss weaves well known characters from other authors into her story. Another fun part is where we get to hear the comments from the other characters as Catherine writes her current story. Look for further adventures for the group as the next book in the series is set up. Kate Reading does a great job with the voices for all the different characters.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Viktoria

    So much fun; even better than the first.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    **As per all of my reviews, I like to preface by saying that I listened to this book in audiobook format. This does indeed slightly skew my rating. I have found that audiobooks, give me a better "relationship" with the characters if done well, but also kills the book for me if narrated poorly. Also due to the nature of listening to the text, names and places may be spelled incorrectly here as I often do not have the physical volume in front of me. Also, I have written this review in a "rolling u **As per all of my reviews, I like to preface by saying that I listened to this book in audiobook format. This does indeed slightly skew my rating. I have found that audiobooks, give me a better "relationship" with the characters if done well, but also kills the book for me if narrated poorly. Also due to the nature of listening to the text, names and places may be spelled incorrectly here as I often do not have the physical volume in front of me. Also, I have written this review in a "rolling updates" style. In that I basically chronicle my reading as I progress. This may make for a jarring and spoilery review so be warned.** Part Two, in the house! Once more we return to the fantastic, done before, but still entertaining genre of literary mash ups. Last novel I had the pleasure of visiting via Ms. Goss, an England that had deposited the female daughters of the great English "monsters" such as Dr. Jekyl/Hyde, Dr. Moreau, Dr. Rappacini, Dr. Frankenstein etc. The book opens just in the same vein as the previous. Our dear Catherine is scribing away detailing what has become of the Athena club. It seems not much time has passed between the two books which I'm happy for. Too big of time gaps really kills the attachment to the characters for me at times. As the book opens the familiar banter is struck up again between the normal suspects. Actually there's a very brief 'intro' sort of "spoiling" the new main character as being Lucinda Van Helsing! Van Helsing was mentioned in the previous book as someone that was in communication with the Societie Alchemise (S.A from here on out..) As we recall… the S.A was a secret society of male alchemists has been at work for a long time in the attempt to transmute human women into monsters or just experiment with them. Mary and her sister Diana quabble as sisters do, and it feels very natural. Also, and I don't know if I mentioned this, but I love how exposition is handled in this book. Now Ms. Goss, I admit takes the easy method of filling us in with details and thoughts and backstory but using the 'ol "It's a journal" or in this case "It's a book" idea. But it works very well! And it's done so that it's so much fun hearing the characters talk and bicker in jest, while Catherine writes, literally what we're supposed to be reading. So this is a case in which the exposition can not get any more in your face, but it's done so that it feels very natural. Speaking of exposition, Catherine graciously unloads our current state of affairs with the Athena club. Mary Jekyl has gone to work as aide to Sherlock Holmes. I remember from last book that money is still needed. Apparently the troupe is headed for Vieanna, Italy. Atleast Catherine, Mary, and Justine are. Diana, Alice and Mrs. Poole are remaing behind along with Beatrice to watch over them. They're traveling to Vienna to visit and perhaps rescue Lucinda Helsing. Mary will have to ask Mr. Holmes for some money and time off apparently. The girls are curious as to why the Society has been rather suspiciously quiet. While everyone in the Society de Alchemy wasn't evil and particpants in the experimentation, they have their eyes set on Van Helsing, who they saw from the last book, had written ties to their fathers. The problem with so many characters in a book like this is making sure each character gets his or her own time. To shine, come through and develop. This was a great moment in which we get to see "Cat" Catherine actually blunder something up and gets out by subterfuge. But overall she didn't accomplish what she wanted and we now have some more personal vestment in the character. I can see Cat as a real person not just a puma woman powerhouse. Of course that's not to say that any of the characters feel 'inhuman'. Goss is doing a spectactular job in giving them all voices and distinct thought processes and personalities. I hope to see more of these 'solo' missions to flesh out our ladies and gentlemen.I really love the interludes, inbetween Catherine's writing. In the previous book, I first found them a bit jarring because of the audiobook nature, it was hard to separate what was being said "off the cuff" and what was being written and thus narrated to us. But once you get the flow it really adds tons to the book and the characters. I don't think I can express it enough, how it really let's the characters blossom and have fun. What's interesting to note at this point, and it's something I hope I'm right on.. This is now a mistake made by Justine, allowing Waldman to get too close…And she beats herself up a bit over it. So we had earlier, Cat make a mistake with trying to break into Seward's office and screwing it up. And now justine has her own mistake. I like the idea that each woman is making a mistake and then trying to deal with it, and turn it around and learn from it. When they finally get to Vienna, and meet with Holmes' contact Irene, we can see that Mary is instantly a bit leary of her. While she's attractive, she's older and more.."practical" and "functional" instead of the voloupious and sultry woman that Mary may have imagined. Irene is American, very straightforward, but kind. She has her own network of 'street spies', like Holmes yet she employs girls. They find out that Lucinda Helsing has been commited to a mental institution by most likely her father. Again I always come back to the side "off the record" comments by Diane and the rest. These are so very helpful for character building. Nice exchange between Catherine and her outlook on books as being most of them trash, despite her writing two! And Beatrice and Justine not really agreeing. Justine it turns out if a very big literature hound. Diana has made it known that she's a great lock pick and they devise a way to sneak into the asylum by getting her 'committed' by Sigmund Freud. Then have her be able to make her way around and perhaps break out with lock picking. The scene just seems kinda forced and not…staged. Irene Norton just happens to have tables laid out with locks on them and challenges Diane to compete against one of her young 'street crew' of girls to see who could pick the locks faster. Diane wins which is cool, but it just felt a bit too staged. Sort of an odd scene, which I'm not really a fan of, but it's something pretty small. Diana has made it known that she's a great lock pick and they devise a way to sneak into the asylum by getting her 'committed' by Sigmund Freud. Then have her be able to make her way around and perhaps break out with lock picking. The scene just seems kinda forced and not…staged. Irene Norton just happens to have tables laid out with locks on them and challenges Diane to compete against one of her young 'street crew' of girls to see who could pick the locks faster. Diane wins which is cool, but it just felt a bit too staged. Sort of an odd scene, which I'm not really a fan of, but it's something pretty small. Apparently the England chapter of the society has been shut down due to the events of Hyde and Adam, in the last book. More to come on this later…a bit convuluted in terms of exposition…Now, to get back to my concern from earlier…the plot isn't anything so complex that it can't be followed, but Goss is tossing a lot of characters at us… I mean we're given name after name of characters that we're supposed to be able to follow and shows no sign of slowing down. Also we're not getting caught up in the inner workings and politics of the Society, which is good, but it's now adding on another bunch of characters some of whom are shrouded in mystery, and the names and positions are starting to meld together. It's not to the point where it's confusing but there are now becoming plots where I have to sort of strain to follow. The whole Prendick, Seward, Van Helsing, and now this Hennessey, and Raymond characters, who I have absolutely no clue who they are… it's becoming now just about listening and hoping they reveal more exposition, which i really hate to rely on. So I hope we start to reign in on the levy of characters lobbed at us, and focus on the story of who we know…Another newly introduced plot hook is the idea that the president of the Society is a woman…we don't kfnow much … but I dare think the obvious, Irene Norton? Seems a bit too obvious for it though… *An aside here….I'm sort of disappointed that Ms. Goss made Alice now have abilities. I liked the idea of there being people at 11 Park that are just normal girls but can contribute in other ways. Her contribution and insight with the dumbwaiter was one such instance, giving her powers now sort of feels like a crutch…* So reading this...and I don't know why…I really am not liking Lucinda… Her neediness and almost kitten like dependence on the sustenance of others. Since we've only seen her in her crazy deranged state, and her mother in an even crazier deranged state, I feel no sympathy for her…yet. But at this point she seems more of a burden, and quite literally a leech. We flip back to Catherine, Beatrice and their joining of the circus in an attempt to get to Vienna to hopefully reach Mary et co. The circus itself is planning to do shows in the area, while Beatrice and Cat will basically be hitching a ride. Not a fan of the story line with them with the circus. The characters here all seem a bit cliché, and feels like I'm reading the PG version of Carnivale. Meanwhile Beatrice is fleshed out some more with context of her accidently killing her first love, by poisoning him. She's now getting a bit flirty with one of the other circus members, and Cat warns both of them to obviously be careful. The telegram that was swiped from Cat turns up again, and I love this…Catherine smells the paper, and notices it smells of potent cigarettes. Cat like indeed. I love how all of their abilities are being so refined and put into use in the book… Holy CRAP… Mina… MURRAY… League of Extraordinary Gentlemen… Vampire… words… they fail me.. They are 'broken out' and rescued by a group of women, who come on behalf of Mina Murray. … of Brahm Stokers Dracula…now I am doubling down on my complaint that too many characters exist in this book…We seriously have been getting flooded with new faces and names.. And it's very hard to keep who is who… but I am very happy to see Ms. Murray show up here…how I didn't see this from the beginning… And here I was complaining earlier about the random character of Ms. Murray…Lucinda to me is still an annoying leech… The two women who rescue Mary and co, are friends of Murray and taking them to see her. And my god… the two lesbian vampires who rescue Mary and co (okay..I know…"lesbian vampires" ?... This could have taken a turn for the fan serviced 13 year old boy market very easily. Now I had no idea as to the source of these two characters of Lauren and Carmilla. So Apparently the character of Carmilla is before Bram Strokers Dracula book even. And even in this work, there is a subtle hint about a more the friendly relationship between her and Lauren) They both take in the girls, and bring them to a large house in Styria. So I really love the backstory given to Carmilla. I know I was literally just complaining about the amount of characters in the book, and I still believe it, but it's harder to argument when such characters are given to us in such a way that's actually fascinating, timeless and believable. Ms. Goss picks from some of the best characters here and I know this is going to sound heretical… but she's done a better job at it than Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary gentlemen… Yes I will give him full credit for doing it first and breaking the idea open of this sort of genre. Now it's a bit hard to compare the two directly, since Ms Goss can (and has done) explore far more character relations and details in depth over Moore's more constricted page limits. But to me it's really showing here that Goss is making some deep connections and I love how the characters are coming together and as much to my memory's chagrin, still pulling in characters that pretty fun to learn about. I've now done so much research into looking all the names up to see if I can find their literary references when it escapes me… So the big reveal is here and we're finally sat down with Mina, Dracula, and everyone and Mina explains all…so apparently her father who was friends with none other than Dr Faraday…yes…THAT Faraday… She tells them of another society that was established… one to literally counter act and protect research in the name of science…so that societies like the Alchemists couldn't pervert and harm people in the name of science. So…it's revealed that Justine and Mary both were being "watched over" by the committee, known under their Umbrella name "the Subcommittee on Bibliographic Citation Format" otherwise earlier known as The Committee on Scientific Fraud and Abuse…Now this is where I don't really see the logic…Justine and Mary are angry…at the committee..that were used to protect them when they were younger..Now I'll throw on my bitching hat here…the story that's told to use about the back story is ..very long in the tooth and it's just dumped on us… Goss is a great writer, but these backstories that we get are very lazily conveyed…it's always a story that's just told to us. The story is very long and it's a bit rambling at times. The long and short of it is..The Alchemical society heard about Vlad's blood experiments. At the time, Vlad had set up a labortory and and Van Helsing began testing and transfusing his blood. So, the book has taken an…interesting turn in terms of tone It's slowed down massively, which isn't bad… but it's a bit jarring. They make their plans to infiltrate the Society meeting and enact their plan. It goes off pretty much as planned. They are indeed sprung upon by the vampires that are part of Van Helsing's and Seward's "army" but they're dealt with pretty much with ease. Carmilla is stabbed through the chest, but her vampiric nature heals her quickly. The only person who was killed was Prendic. As much of a loss as it seems, I didn't really feel too invested in him as being redeemable…so it didn't really hit me all that hard. So, Ayesha makes her speech, and they all attack etc… this part just seems a bit…rushed..and wrapped up too neatly..and this is actually even referenced by Mina who seems suspicious that it was all too convenient. To me everything just moved too quickly and it seemed all of little consequence? Lucinda leaps up to the podium and literally bites a man, and it seems everyone just breaks out in a fight, as if they were expecting this and it's a regular occurance… So...We reach the end.. This book really had some highs, I can not even pretend to say that despite my sort of negative reaction to the "climax" portion, that it tainted my perception of the book overall. I have issues with the sheer number of characters are a tossed at us. Now this partially has to do with the actual conclusion of the book (somewhat) but I still feel there is a far greater amount of characters that actually needs to be here. Also there are a lot of (at least currently) hinted at plot threads that were just not used or expanded upon that seemed to build you up for something later on…and then just never come back to it. I point to one in particular where Beatrice is worried and saddened about leaving her plants unattended to wither and die…Watson steps in and helps her construct the watering irrigation system that will automatically continue to water them. And it's hinted that anyone who steps inside this greenhouse will be poisoned! Yet..it's never touched upon again. There's many scenes like this, that step up idea's and characters but never connect the tissue to make them actually matter to the story. Now I suppose it could be argued that these scenes exist purely for story character building purposes, and that's a perfectly fair argument. But it just seems like there could have been more tie in's to the end of the book. I don't think the climax and ending reveal of the network of spies was really as impactful as it could have been, because the characters that were indeed in the 'in' weren't people that we really knew… Nurse Adams who is mentioned in the first book before she has to be 'let go' for financial troubles, …and…the random lavender seller outside? I mean none of these people are exactly jaw dropping. WHICH I suppose is a better more realistic approach, but doesn't lend itself well from a 'shock value' perspective that we all want nowadays. So…I'm torn on this. Either way the story of the whole Citation Format society and their relationship with the Alchemical Societe still confuses me and I may have to actually go back and re-read some portions. Because I'm a bit unclear if these two are actually the same group now… or what. The book does though do a splendid job (maybe too splendid…) in wrapping everything up. Even the fact that they acknowledged the ease of the victory at the end, it feels like it was mentioned because Ms. Goss just wrapped everything up so suddenly. I did enjoy the fact that Jekyl is still around and despite his..other half, he still cares and loves and wants to provide for Mary and Diane. Yet his Hyde self was just still as active in trying to …..well….I"m not actually sure what his goal was. Hyde seemed to be tossed into the story here to just provide the connectivity to the prior book. He obviously wanted Lucinda and her vampy blood to keep Adam Frankenstein alive. But again with the amount of characters that Goss tosses at us, having almost the entire cast of characters from the first book show up here as well just seemed a bit heavy handed.. I really could have done without the Jekyl/Hyde/Adam storyline as it seems like just bringing up plot pieces from the first that we've already established. My last bit of soreness with the book is the *slight* overuse of magic and 'super' powers here. By the end of the book, I know we're dealing with full on Vampires but the inclusion of the presidents being a two thousand year old Egyptian prophetess from "She". I love the freaking reference to this piece of almost unknown work… but it does seem a tad heavy handed here. (Actually I Had to look this one up I had NO clue about the connection between Ayesha, Horrace Holly and Leo Vincey, and NOW it all makes sense…) I know I sound like I have a lot of problems with the book here, and I do present these as valid criticisms, but truth be told these are smaller points to a much finer piece of work. As a sequel to an already fun romp, this book really solidifies the characters…all of them. Seriously. I know really take each of them seriously as actual weighted personalities that I feel as though if I ran into them I would know how to cater myself to talk with each of them, and that's really important. The interludes that we have with the characters as Catherine is writing the book cinches some of their character elements for me. The ending of the book leaves us for a quite obvious third book that I am truly ecstatic for. What we have this go round was a VERY fun and surprisingly deep continuation of the beats from the first book, that Ms. Goss pretty much expands on in every way. Again notwithstanding the amount of characters here, this book was a blast. I almost feel like this book with all it's references to outside literary characters…forces you to do some 'fun' research and learning. If you have even a passing interest in this sort of alternative history, gothic cross over genre…please…please read…and I raise a glass of red (blood) wine to you Ms. Goss.

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