Book Review: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss


Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, tscotadher father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.



It took me a little while to warm up to this one but once I got into it, wow, what a fun ride!

So, I’ll be honest, everyone kept telling me I would love this book and the only reason I was hesitating on picking it up is because it’s based on previous literary figures and new characters with connections to those characters and for some reason this feels like something that bothers me and I don’t know why. I’m weird, ok? I don’t get the aversion myself, but it’s there. And at first this still bothered me when I started into the book. HOWEVER. Somehow I was charmed by the characters and especially (in the most ironic twist of all time) Sherlock and Watson. I guess I don’t have an aversion to them. Huh.

Anywho. Back to the book.

Once I got into the story I found myself really enjoying things. It helped that I listened to this on audio and Kate Reading is such an excellent narrator (highly recommend anything she’s read) with the way she does all the various character’s voices. The characters in this were quite fun and definitely all have their own distinct personalities shining through. They’re all women (Holmes and Watson notwithstanding), but they’re all very different kinds of women and I loved that about them. Variety! In women characters! Yes! I love them all so much for different reasons, I don’t know if I could pick a favorite if I had to. Diana is hilarious and in that rebellious teenage stage (which is cute now but may not be as cute later). I love Mary’s quiet strength, as well as Catherine’s. The way some of them have been huge supports for each other, Catherine and Justine especially, was very touching.

One thing I will say is that I enjoyed their adventures once they were together rather than their backstories. Usually I’m all about backstories! But since those backstories so often tied into my former aversion, I suppose they just didn’t interest me quite as much. Except for Justine’s backstory which I found heartbreaking and touching.

The main plot was great fun. A murder mystery and a strange society to investigate! What do these things have to do with each other and how does it tie in with all of our characters? I really enjoyed all the sneaking about and investigative parts because I love mystery plots anyway. It’s an interesting thing here because as the reader should be familiar with certain existing characters we do know some things our main characters don’t, but other things the author has expanded on and that keeps us invested in following along to find out the answers.

The other thing I really loved about this book was the way in which it was written. I loved that the characters kept interrupting the story being told to point out when things were being embellished. I think this can be a hard thing to pull off, but it worked so well here!

Overall, really enjoyed this one. You guys were right! Looking forward to diving into the second book which is a huge tome and hopefully won’t take me too long to read. 4.5/5 stars.


7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

  1. Tammy says:

    I loved this too! I just started reading the sequel which is REALLY long, and it’s starting out a bit slow. I’m hoping it picks up because it’s REALLY long (oops already said that!)

  2. Jordan says:

    I’ve been meaning to read this one for quite a while! So glad to see you enjoyed it so much, it makes me a lot more excited to pick it up. I had heard some mixed things about the writing style, but I think it sounds really neat. Great review!

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I can see how some people may not like the style. There’s this thing where the story keeps getting interrupted by the characters writing it, but I rather enjoyed those parts.
      Thanks! Hope you enjoy!

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