My first official review here! I recently finished THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER (written by Theodora Goss, published by Saga Press) and I was incredibly impressed so we’ll start off very positively!!
FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS
Ok I’m going to be incredibly enthusiastic here: I LOVE THIS BOOK.
Like. I love it SO HARD.
I LOVE IT.
I want more in this universe. I want more of this series immediately.
MONSTER GIRLS! MONSTER GIRLS WHO LOVE AND PROTECT EACH OTHER AND COME TOGETHER TO STOP A SOCIETY OF MEN WHO TREATED THEM AS INHUMAN LIKE I LOVE THIS
I mean I could offer criticisms for sure. This book is set during the Victorian Age and while it does challenge many of the gender norms for the era (and even has characters questioning their own genders) I don’t feel like enough was done to challenge the racist notions that held so much sway. Although it’s meant to be written as an adventure novel, some of the words used are somewhat harsh: a character refers to “wild savages” without challenging this notion, for example. So I would urge caution on that front, definitely. The cast is also not very diverse…while they’re all women, they’re all white women. I hope this is addressed in future additions to this series, as I think the racialized notions of the era can be closely tied to the sort of “scientific discoveries” undertaken by the villains.
Still, there is immense value here. THIS BOOK is the kind of book we need more of it. We need books about girls have adventures together, girls being friends and confidants, girls who are feminine and girls who aren’t, girls who are bold and girls who are shy, girls who are allowed to make mistakes, girls who are allowed to be all sorts of different things. THIS BOOK HAS SO MANY GIRLS HAVING ADVENTURES and I can’t stop screaming about how much I love it.
Like the girls in this story are so well-rounded, so well-defined, and they MAKE SENSE. What they do, how they think…it all makes sense within the context of the story and the period in which it is set. ALSO THERE IS LIKE 0 ROMANCE WHICH IS MY FAVORITE THING EVER TBH. No one is distracted by irritating boys being gross. The most important thing to these girls is each other and that’s so special I can’t get over it.
I hope there are more books coming because I am sad that I’m finished with this one and I need MORE IMMEDIATELY.