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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. 3 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

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

  2. 3 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. 4 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. 5 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. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    4.5* Considering I read this book back in August but wasn’t able to write a review at the time, it speaks that I still have it clearly in my mind. We’re back with the characters of the Athena Club, introduced in The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, and what a bunch this is! This was one of the things I loved in that book, how Goss took female characters from famous Gothic and Victorian novels, and subverted the whole thing. Each is fascinating in her own right in this new ‘version’, but 4.5* Considering I read this book back in August but wasn’t able to write a review at the time, it speaks that I still have it clearly in my mind. We’re back with the characters of the Athena Club, introduced in The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, and what a bunch this is! This was one of the things I loved in that book, how Goss took female characters from famous Gothic and Victorian novels, and subverted the whole thing. Each is fascinating in her own right in this new ‘version’, but when you put them together, sparks fly - entertaining sparks :O) And this is what she does here once more, building on the relationships as well as adding to the mix to great effect, this time bringing to the scene Irene Adler (from Sherlock Holmes) and Carmilla (LeFanu’s Carmilla). The story starts when it comes to the group’s attention that a Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, and off they go across Europe to the rescue, not without some adventures on the way! It is a long book but truthfully I didn’t notice, being so involved in our intrepid, intelligent, women and their tribulations, from the travel aspects, very well described, to the mysteries and mad rescue plans. Made me want to go off travelling, especially at the mention of all the appetising food (cakes, cakes, cakes!!). The narration is still in the same style as the first book, with all the characters interrupting the flow to add their opinions. This admittedly will not be to everyone’s taste but to me it worked brilliantly, especially as an audiobook! And yes, Diana and Mary do kind of steal the show... Can’t wait for the next book :O)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    The Mary and Diana Show hits the road as the monstrous gentlewomen head off to save another of their newly discovered and imperilled "sisters", Lucinda Van Helsing. This time, the Athena Club is split as they head up separate but linked investigations into activities of the Societé des Alchimistes. It was interesting watching the two groups function with members that would not automatically have gravitated together (Mary and Justine (and of course Diana), and Catherine and Beatrice.) The interpe The Mary and Diana Show hits the road as the monstrous gentlewomen head off to save another of their newly discovered and imperilled "sisters", Lucinda Van Helsing. This time, the Athena Club is split as they head up separate but linked investigations into activities of the Societé des Alchimistes. It was interesting watching the two groups function with members that would not automatically have gravitated together (Mary and Justine (and of course Diana), and Catherine and Beatrice.) The interpersonal dynamics are a little different, but there's still humour and plenty of support, despite the bickering. We get to learn more about their individual characters (though, admittedly, Diana is pretty easily understood and apparently annoys everyone.) I like the introduction of more female fictional characters (Irene Adler and Carmilla,) which makes this series such a hoot. (view spoiler)[ It's also distressing to find just how much of Mary's life has been such a managed sham. (hide spoiler)] Theodora Goss ends the book with a new situation for the Athena Club to handle; I am so glad there are more adventures coming for these bright women.

  8. 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.

  9. 4 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.

  10. 4 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?

  11. 3 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.

  12. 5 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.

  13. 5 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!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This one was a lot of fun and it was great to be back with the gang again. This is one big mystery intertwined with several other mysteries and it includes a couple of very good action scenes and a whole lot of adventure. And quite a lot of kidnapping. I hope I’m not spoiling anything by noting this one involves vampires. If you know the name ‘Van Helsing’ then you should have already been aware of the possibility. That being said, the reason I’m mentioning it is because I have a certain weaknes This one was a lot of fun and it was great to be back with the gang again. This is one big mystery intertwined with several other mysteries and it includes a couple of very good action scenes and a whole lot of adventure. And quite a lot of kidnapping. I hope I’m not spoiling anything by noting this one involves vampires. If you know the name ‘Van Helsing’ then you should have already been aware of the possibility. That being said, the reason I’m mentioning it is because I have a certain weakness for stories involving vampires. As soon as I saw what was on the horizon, I was boarding the train for this adventure. Gimmie those sweet, sweet vamps–choo choo! The story moved pretty fast despite it being such a long novel. Having the group split up and focusing on the different stories helped a lot with the pacing, especially when much of it was action and adventure oriented. You would think that when being introduced to new characters and learning their stories (and this happened quite a few times), this process would slow the pace down as it did sometimes in the first book, but the backstories were pretty engaging this time around and I found myself actually being interested in how these characters came to be where they are at present. I also think it helped that these new characters, while intriguing, were not expected to become part of the gang. The Athena Club, while new, is still established–everyone else are sort of outsiders, even if they are friends. They’ll never really have the same bond as the women of the club. There were a few issues I had with it, but nothing major. First off, it is a very long book. It’s fast paced because of all the stuff going on in it, but I do feel like it still would felt better as a slightly shorter novel. There were so many descriptions of things, which were great, but I think some of these could have been trimmed down. I admit to having skim read through some of that so it didn’t bother me as much as it could have. I do also think some of the reveals were a little convenient. I am all for tying things together, but it was a tad excessive here, especially near the end. Still, the story is very aware of itself, even in this, and remarks are made to lamp-shade this by one of the characters. The thing is, I don’t know if lamp-shading always works. Just because you point out something you did and even mock it a bit, doesn’t make it automatically work within the story as a whole. It still has to make sense. I just felt like certain things being made to fit together didn’t feel organic to me. Even so, this didn’t take away much from the story in the grand scheme of things and is more of a nit-pick of mine than anything. One of the things I look for most in books is the character arc, or in this case arcs. I like to see growth. And over the course of this book we do see some of that, but it’s very gradual. For the most part our characters are set in who they are, and their traits are constantly remarked upon by the others. ‘Oh, but you’re the dependable one’ or ‘You’re the slightly unhinged one’ etc. Like I said, I don’t think the character growth isn’t there, I just think it’s a very slow thing. And most of it is done through watching how the characters interact with others, both outside of their group and within it. Mary is very conscious of her own personality traits and even has some doubts as to whether her behavior has even been ‘normal’. It’s good now and then to see her lose a little restraint, but it would be great to see her lose a lot more. I hope we get to see that in the third book. Still, all of the characters here played to their strengths and their weaknesses, which was something I enjoyed a lot. Showing them both at their best and their most vulnerable really does help to show that gradual growth along the way. Overall, this was a really fun read. If you liked the first one, you’ll probably like this follow up as well. There’s a LOT going on in this book–plot-wise there are a ton of different plot points intersecting, you have a bunch of new characters introduced on top of an already large cast we need to keep up with, and then the whole style in which its written with the 4th wall being broken constantly. And yet, somehow it all manages to work. I enjoyed this a lot, and am really looking forward to the third book.  4/5 stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I’ve rounded up. Maybe 3.5 stars? Hard to rate because I have mixed feelings. I enjoyed the premise and characters. The writing is fun and some of the asides are funny. Sometimes, though, I tired of the snippy remarks and sometimes I was just tired of the longwindedness. So I did finish it and will probably read the next book- it ends on a note that clearly means there will be another- but I hope it will be no more than 400 pages!

  16. 4 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.

  17. 4 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.

  18. 3 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.

  19. 5 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!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    *audiobook review* First of all, this was beautifully read by Kate Reading who is an absolute treasure. She does voices of women, men, children, accents etc all so well that you instantly understand who is speaking and can immerse yourself in the story. The story itself was... tiresome. I feel like Goss just really needed to churn something out and so has a cast of characters we fell in love with in the first book, stumbling around wringing their hands about "oh what do we do" and then a random si *audiobook review* First of all, this was beautifully read by Kate Reading who is an absolute treasure. She does voices of women, men, children, accents etc all so well that you instantly understand who is speaking and can immerse yourself in the story. The story itself was... tiresome. I feel like Goss just really needed to churn something out and so has a cast of characters we fell in love with in the first book, stumbling around wringing their hands about "oh what do we do" and then a random side character appears, saves the day, finds the girl, buys the tickets, climbs the wall, explains everything, all the while exclaiming "Mary, you're so composed." Of course she is composed! Mary doesn't do anything! I don't remember feeling this way with the first book, but it seems here that all the character development comes from the cast describing each other rather than allowing their actions to speak for themselves. Oh, perhaps it was because they didn't DO anything? I mean, yes they got annoyed, or sad or decried the lack of pockets in women's clothing, but they never actually came up with a plan and they never actually figured anything out on their own. Lastly, I'm disappointed in the editor for two reasons. One, the use of slang terms which wouldn't come into use for 20 to 50 years ("easy peasy" and "girl friday" among many others) while using beloved characters and settings of historical fiction. Two; the extraordinary overuse of the side conversations of the characters while the story is being told. If I'd read a physical copy I would have skipped over them because they were overlong, repetitive, did not add to the story, were not funny when they were meant to be, and pulled you out of the narrative. I had been so looking forward to this after really enjoying the first book. Alas, it was for naught.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gaele

    AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 4 Narration 5 Story 4 Not having read the first in this series, but seriously intrigued in the author’s reworking of women, formerly simple plot devices and transforming them into the main characters of the story brought this book to my attention. Taking the not-so-famous females from their more ‘well known’ husbands and partners from classic Victorian era fiction, Mary Jekyll, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Diana Hyde are soon o AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 4 Narration 5 Story 4 Not having read the first in this series, but seriously intrigued in the author’s reworking of women, formerly simple plot devices and transforming them into the main characters of the story brought this book to my attention. Taking the not-so-famous females from their more ‘well known’ husbands and partners from classic Victorian era fiction, Mary Jekyll, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Diana Hyde are soon off on another adventure, splitting their group in two on a quest to find and rescue the kidnapped Lucinda Van Helsing. As if that weren’t enough, each woman stands wholly on her own: determined and clever, using skills that often outstrip their male counterparts, with a ‘recap’ of each leg of the adventure leading to lovely conversations as they gather to recount and record their experiences. But, don’t be fooled, this story is as rich in description (perhaps overly so) as some of the most touted Victorian fiction, with a palpable, if not always present, sense that not one is taking themselves too seriously, even as the situation ad discoveries as the hunt for Lucinda gains steam. The sense that by ignoring the females so integral to the original books left them lacking in a sense of balance and perhaps even some intriguing moments, Goss seems to be righting those perceived wrongs with this collection of women and giving readers familiar with the classic stories a new voice to the perspective. Lengthy at over 700 pages and 24+ hours, the natural ‘break points’ in the story that come from the narrative style, frequently broken by conversations and snippets that drop that 4th wall and allow readers into the story, with clever insets of actual historical events and people as the women are broken into 3 distinct groups – all working to discover the whereabouts of Lucinda and the reasons why she was taken. Truly a character-driven story, most of the action is fairly basic and not the focus. Yes, the story does bog down with detail often to the detriment of the forward motion, but again, this allows for several breaks for the listener / reader, with the ‘recap conversations’ allowing one to not lose their place. I’m intrigued by those who found the first book to have a bit more cohesiveness with the plot, and providing more backstory for each of the characters, something that I could have used a bit more of – they were so unique and cleverly presented. Overall, I enjoyed this story for it’s perspective and sense of ‘righting a wrong’ in that opportunity taken sort of way. Narration for this story is provided by Kate Reading, who managed to provide significantly distinct voices, deliveries and tone for the multitude of characters encountered, and never confused any of them. It was apparent to this listener that she understood the characters and the intention of the story and kept the characters feeling ‘in the moment’ as they came to the forefront. With the dropping of the 4th wall, and the masses of information and tropes played without losing her grasp on the performance, I was suitably impressed and will be sure to check out more of her work. I would suggest, however, that you grab the first in this series and get some of the background that I feel like I missed here. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Simon and Schuster AudioBooks for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed

  22. 5 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.

  23. 4 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.

  24. 4 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.

  25. 4 out of 5

    victoria.p

    This was a really fun read.

  26. 3 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.

  27. 4 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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman... ... ... I don't even know what to say about you. Except maybe, why were you so monstrously long?? 300 pages could have been removed and still achieved the same effect. For all the enjoyment I had while reading this tome, I should have given it a 1 Star rating. But I save 1 Stars for books that make me mad on all levels of reading. I wasn't mad... just bored. Things I liked: 1. Diana. She actually got things done instead of talking them to death. Thi European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman... ... ... I don't even know what to say about you. Except maybe, why were you so monstrously long?? 300 pages could have been removed and still achieved the same effect. For all the enjoyment I had while reading this tome, I should have given it a 1 Star rating. But I save 1 Stars for books that make me mad on all levels of reading. I wasn't mad... just bored. Things I liked: 1. Diana. She actually got things done instead of talking them to death. Things I didn't like: 1. Length and Plot. This book was 706 pages long. Most of this was meandering descriptions (mostly about food and clothes) and the constant interruption of character commentary (which added nothing). And normally I wouldn't mind reading a long book... BUT NOTHING HAPPENED!! All of the descriptions and the numerous character additions squashed out the plot. Not to mention the repetition. Why was everything stated over and over and over again. Catherine is a puma. Beatrice is poisonous. Diana is a wild child. We get it! Then, after reading all of those pages, it even had the nerve to end on a cliffhanger. Why couldn't we focus on the many climaxes that happened in this book (which fizzled and amounted to nothing), instead of worrying about the next book? Also, the adverts to buy The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter weren't funny the first time, let alone the other NINE times. 2. Mary. Mary as the main, main character was a terrible choice. I mean, she wasn't amazing in the first book, but at least she sort of had relevance to what was going on. In this one, Mary did nothing and contributed nothing. Plus, all of a sudden, she's dumb as a rock. Then Goss tries to justify her being a monster in a monster club, but all it did was highlight how exceptionally ordinary and uninteresting she is. 3. No growth or development because of too many characters. As I said in my last review, there are too many characters in this series. But Goss took the already-too-large cast from the first book and shoved even MORE characters into it. It didn't leave room for anyone to do anything. Lucinda was a plot device. Beatrice and Mary could've been cut out entirely. I never developed a connection to any of the characters. 4. The plot repeats itself three times. The girls travel, get into trouble, and are rescued by a woman who happens to have a household of eclectic servants who just happen to have skills needed to help the girls on the next stage of their journey. Do not recommend. Will not be continuing with the series. I'm out.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Voirrey

    I really enjoyed this, as I did the first one. The level of intrigue and all twists and turns was masterful, as was the introduction of more characters from fiction and history. I really like the writing style, too, with the interruptions by the characters to correct, or complain about, the way they are being portrayed, and I love that the heroes are all heroines :) However, if the system here allowed for half stars I would have only given four and a half, rather than five. Why? Some of the langu I really enjoyed this, as I did the first one. The level of intrigue and all twists and turns was masterful, as was the introduction of more characters from fiction and history. I really like the writing style, too, with the interruptions by the characters to correct, or complain about, the way they are being portrayed, and I love that the heroes are all heroines :) However, if the system here allowed for half stars I would have only given four and a half, rather than five. Why? Some of the language usage was... loose. Just_ann_now mentioned Diana's use of a much too modern vernacular in places and yes, she does sound too much like a twenty-first century American teenager with her constant complaints about something being 'gross'. And, even worse for me as a Brit, was the constant use of the word 'gotten'. Whilst it might have been OK in the narrative, if the book is intended for an American readership, it was certainly not right in conversation between these characters as it was not a word in use during Victorian times in England, certainly not amongst well brought up young ladies. In English it seems to have been becoming archaic about the time the Pilgrim Fathers took it to North America. A quick check, for example, of the works of Dickens, Mrs Gaskell, or the earlier Jane Austen will show no instances of 'gotten'. The effect was to distract me over and over again as it sounded so wrong. There were other slips that also grated - memorably Alice dreaming of a chickadee; a North American bird that almost no-one in nineteenth century England is likely to have heard about, let alone a scullery maid brought up in an orphanage. I would suggest Theodora Goss gets someone whose native language is English English, rather than American English, to beta read the dialogue of the next book, and then it is likely to be an absolutely perfect read!

  30. 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.

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