The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #3)
Mary Jekyll and the Athena Club race to save Alice—and foil a plot to unseat the Queen, in the electrifying conclusion to the trilogy that began with the Nebula Award finalist and Locus Award winner The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.Life’s always an adventure for the Athena Club...especially when one of their own has been kidnapped! After their thrilling European escapades rescuing Lucinda van Helsing, Mary Jekyll and her friends return home to discover that their friend and kitchen maid Alice has vanished— and so has their friend and employer Sherlock Holmes!As they race to find Alice and bring her home safely, they discover that Alice and Sherlock’s kidnapping are only one small part of a plot that threatens Queen Victoria, and the very future of the British Empire. Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine, and Justine save their friends—and save the Empire? Find out in the final installment of the fantastic and memorable Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series.

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #3) Details

TitleThe Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #3)
Author
ReleaseOct 1st, 2019
PublisherGallery / Saga Press
ISBN-139781534427877
Rating
GenreFantasy, Mystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Audiobook

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #3) Review

  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Despite what should have been a rather interesting tangent into Alice in Wonderland meets the Mummy with our favorite crew of strong women torn from the pages of Victorian-era penny dreadfuls and classic fantasy literature, this particular book kinda fell flat.Not particularly bad, mind you, and I did kinda enjoy the whole idea of the Mesmerism meets the Theosophical Society meets the Golden Dawn meets Professor Moriarty... but the the way it was executed? I honestly lost interest de Despite what should have been a rather interesting tangent into Alice in Wonderland meets the Mummy with our favorite crew of strong women torn from the pages of Victorian-era penny dreadfuls and classic fantasy literature, this particular book kinda fell flat.Not particularly bad, mind you, and I did kinda enjoy the whole idea of the Mesmerism meets the Theosophical Society meets the Golden Dawn meets Professor Moriarty... but the the way it was executed? I honestly lost interest despite my initial gung-ho attitude. We're dealing with a progression of new characters while the old ones kinda languish in the pudding. Or rather, the cakes. Lots of cakes.What might have made this pretty excellent? A total PoV switchover, ignoring the old crew except perhaps as plot crossovers and eventual induction, while going deep into the whole ancient Egyptian plot some other way. I don't know. It just felt like a missed opportunity, and yet, without it, it might have made meeting Wilde and Dorian a little weird. Don't get me wrong. It's still up there with the first two, but not quite as fresh and shiny.
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  • Wanda
    January 1, 1970
    Forget the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, because now we have The Athena Club. I guess we could call it the League of Monstrous Gentlewomen. Another of the feminist versions of the Victorian time period with plenty of girl power (although the main characters do get justifiably huffy about being called girls when they are full grown women).Even the female villains outsmart their male counterparts in this particular volume. The women of the Athena Club may sometimes doubt their abi Forget the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, because now we have The Athena Club. I guess we could call it the League of Monstrous Gentlewomen. Another of the feminist versions of the Victorian time period with plenty of girl power (although the main characters do get justifiably huffy about being called girls when they are full grown women).Even the female villains outsmart their male counterparts in this particular volume. The women of the Athena Club may sometimes doubt their abilities, but they pull off the caper (with the help of Ayesha of course). Just like most women, they doubt themselves unnecessarily. Plus, they get to rescue Sherlock Holmes!I know that this series is technically wrapped up with this third book, but it seems to me that there are enough loose threads and unexplored avenues that further adventures could follow, if the author can persuade the publisher to continue. Fingers crossed that there will eventually be another book about the Athena Club!
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    The third book in the series has the Athena Club back in London and mostly reconciled with the Société des Alchimistes, but looking into the abduction of Sherlock Holmes and the Athena Club's own maid Alice. This is a much more concise volume than the previous one and the return to England feels more like familiar ground for the club members. Which is probably the biggest problem here. The first book got the band together, and there was lots of character development as the "monsters" of the club The third book in the series has the Athena Club back in London and mostly reconciled with the Société des Alchimistes, but looking into the abduction of Sherlock Holmes and the Athena Club's own maid Alice. This is a much more concise volume than the previous one and the return to England feels more like familiar ground for the club members. Which is probably the biggest problem here. The first book got the band together, and there was lots of character development as the "monsters" of the club found each other. The second book explored Europe and expanded the cast enormously. But this one doesn't cut much new ground at all, with perhaps the only character development being with Alice/Lydia Raymond and small progress with Mary Jekyll.Still entertaining, and the writing trick being used for these continues to work for me, but this one feels a bit like treading water.
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  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    You all may remember that I adored a recent read, The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter and was excited to continue with the series.  I was thrilled to receive an ARC of the final book in the trilogy and quickly checked out book two, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, but unfortunately it fell short for me.  While I devoured book one, book two felt like a chore because it lacked some serious editing.  That said, I was still looking forward to the conclusion of The Athena Club series w You all may remember that I adored a recent read, The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter and was excited to continue with the series.  I was thrilled to receive an ARC of the final book in the trilogy and quickly checked out book two, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, but unfortunately it fell short for me.  While I devoured book one, book two felt like a chore because it lacked some serious editing.  That said, I was still looking forward to the conclusion of The Athena Club series which picks up immediately after European Travel with the group searching for Mary's kidnapped maid Alice.  They also find it alarming that Sherlock Holmes still hasn't returned from a mysterious errand and now Dr. Watson cannot be located either.While searching for their friends, The Athena Club uncovers a plot against the Queen that is connected to the kidnappings. Can they save their friends and the British Empire before it's too late?I'm very disappointed to say this was not the exciting finale I hoped for.  Instead, I began skimming before I even reached the half way point in the story.  The snappy dialogue/banter in the middle of the narrative was charming in book one, tedious in book two, and completely unnecessary in book three.  The pace is inconsistent and the plot is weighed down in unnecessary details (which was also my major issue with book two) that make the adventure greatly lag. While I adored the introduction to the extensive cast of characters in book one, there was little to no character growth over the course of the series causing some to go from charming to annoying.  This trilogy takes place over the course of a few short months but the action is always saved for the very end to tie up loose ends quickly.I'd definitely advise readers who enjoy sci-fi/fantasy and retellings to give the first book a try but I hesitate to recommend the final two.Thanks to Gallery/Saga Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl is scheduled for release on October 1, 2019.For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
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  • Veronique
    January 1, 1970
    3.75*My expectations were exceedingly high for this third instalment, in light of the quality of the previous two titles. Maybe too high... It’s the problem when you keep getting amazing reads from an author. It becomes the norm, and when you get something still very good but not top notch, you get a little disappointed. This novel features once more the colourful members of the Athena Club, this time focused on finding Alice and Sherlock, who have been taken by some nefarious group. 3.75*My expectations were exceedingly high for this third instalment, in light of the quality of the previous two titles. Maybe too high... It’s the problem when you keep getting amazing reads from an author. It becomes the norm, and when you get something still very good but not top notch, you get a little disappointed. This novel features once more the colourful members of the Athena Club, this time focused on finding Alice and Sherlock, who have been taken by some nefarious group. The dastardly plot is a good one and yet it left me wanting more, or rather something else. It’s as if all the ingredients were there but the end result wasn’t what I expected. Nevertheless, this was still a fun and entertaining read and an amazing trilogy.
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  • Queen
    January 1, 1970
    Loved the first book in this series. Then, I was a little disappointed in the second book and thus was apprehensive about this third installment. However, this book brought it home. Total comfort read.
  • Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
    January 1, 1970
    what?! SINCE WHEN IS THERE 3 BOOKS?!
  • Oda Renate
    January 1, 1970
    Look! lLOOK! LOOOOOK!WE HAVE A COVER!I REPEAT WE HAVE AN COVER JUST AS AMAZING AS THE OTHER COVERS!!!!!!AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!:D--What what?!?ITS OUT IN OCYOBER 2019 NOT 2020??yeayyyyy! :D:D:D:D-z-\^^^---+\+\+\+\xxx Me doing the happy dance :D Look! lLOOK! LOOOOOK!WE HAVE A COVER!I REPEAT WE HAVE AN COVER JUST AS AMAZING AS THE OTHER COVERS!!!!!!AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!:D--What what?!?ITS OUT IN OCYOBER 2019 NOT 2020??yeayyyyy! :D:D:D:D-z-\¨^^^---+\+\+\+\xxx Me doing the happy dance :D
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  • Lata
    January 1, 1970
    The Diana and Mary Comedy Hour is back, and instead of wandering all over Europe, like they did in book two, the Athena Club has plenty to do in London. Sherlock is missing, Alice is kidnapped, and the young women have much detecting to do to find both individuals. While I found book two of this trilogy a little too long, I didn't find that the plot dragged this time around. In fact, I found myself laughing more at Diana's antics (insulting everyone else and stuffing her face with nummies) and e The Diana and Mary Comedy Hour is back, and instead of wandering all over Europe, like they did in book two, the Athena Club has plenty to do in London. Sherlock is missing, Alice is kidnapped, and the young women have much detecting to do to find both individuals. While I found book two of this trilogy a little too long, I didn't find that the plot dragged this time around. In fact, I found myself laughing more at Diana's antics (insulting everyone else and stuffing her face with nummies) and enjoying Mary's long-suffering attitude toward her younger sister more, and the way all the young women's different capabilities were used in the story., and how well they continued to work together. I’m glad we finally got to learn more about Alice, and watch her come into her own.(view spoiler)[I also really liked how Goss built up Moriarty as this great, bad guy with his gang of like-minded "scientists", with their all-too familiar fears about racial purity and superiority, immigration, and misogyny. Then, with one authorly swipe, Goss removed them and transformed the story into a conflict between the women in the Athena Club and the women in the Alchemical Society. (hide spoiler)]I really enjoyed the way Theodora Goss wrote these stories, with the narrative interrupted frequently by the members of the Athena Club to discuss their feelings about the situation or each other, or for the women to chide Catherine's constant marketing of the stories. The device added lots of humour to the story, and provided lots of great character moments for each of the women. I'm a little sad I can't spend time with the Athena Club in further adventures.
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  • Craig
    January 1, 1970
    This is the third book in the Athena Club series; I hope that there will be more. This one picks up right as the second volume ends, but I believe new readers would follow this one all right without having read the previous pair. I actually didn't enjoy this one quite as much because it follows Alice and some other characters around for much of the time, and I didn't find her as interesting as the core five, nor her travails as captivating as their adventures on the continent. It is a delightful This is the third book in the Athena Club series; I hope that there will be more. This one picks up right as the second volume ends, but I believe new readers would follow this one all right without having read the previous pair. I actually didn't enjoy this one quite as much because it follows Alice and some other characters around for much of the time, and I didn't find her as interesting as the core five, nor her travails as captivating as their adventures on the continent. It is a delightful story, though, with nice literary nods to Haggard and Wilde and Doyle as well as to the obvious "parents" of the plucky and intrepid heroines. The interaction of the club members is particularly cheery and engaging, outside of the main narrative, which itself is an uplifting, fun, feel-good story. The Athenians are a good read indeed!
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  • terpkristin
    January 1, 1970
    Another really fun book with fun characters. The end of this read like the end of a series, so I'm guessing the series is done, but I really enjoyed this book and seeing The Mesmerizing Girl come into her own, along with a little bit of help from the members of the Athena Club. There were a couple of challenges for the women in this book, a couple of "boss fights" as it were. My favorite was the ultimate one, though, the one at the very end. It fit for the team. Although I think this was a fine Another really fun book with fun characters. The end of this read like the end of a series, so I'm guessing the series is done, but I really enjoyed this book and seeing The Mesmerizing Girl come into her own, along with a little bit of help from the members of the Athena Club. There were a couple of challenges for the women in this book, a couple of "boss fights" as it were. My favorite was the ultimate one, though, the one at the very end. It fit for the team. Although I think this was a fine ending for the series, if there were more, I wouldn't be sad (if it was all of this caliber).
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  • Beau North
    January 1, 1970
    A satisfying conclusion to this wonderful series. The last paragraph had me crying in the middle of the grocery store. I’m so glad these books exists.
  • Cherei
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely love the Athena Club series! Having been hooked by the first novel! The story is extremely fast-paced and so very enjoyable. I did feel that it may have been over-edited. Somehow, most of the scenes were a bit rushed. What normally would take fifteen pages or so.. were whittled down to a page or two. The story itself is extremely good.. I just wish that we the reader would have been given more of the story. For example, there were no scenes of traveling by automobile other than to s I absolutely love the Athena Club series! Having been hooked by the first novel! The story is extremely fast-paced and so very enjoyable. I did feel that it may have been over-edited. Somehow, most of the scenes were a bit rushed. What normally would take fifteen pages or so.. were whittled down to a page or two. The story itself is extremely good.. I just wish that we the reader would have been given more of the story. For example, there were no scenes of traveling by automobile other than to say that they did it.. and were happy to be able to buy gas. The adventures of Alice (Lydia) were interesting.. but, again.. we weren't really given exactly what the powers were other than they came from the Earth itself. I feel bad giving a "meh" review.. but, this one.. just didn't live up to the first two books in the series. :(
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  • Tricia
    January 1, 1970
    The third installment of The Athena Club trilogy is just as exciting and action-packed as the first two were. It's one of my favorite books of the year and only missed the fifth star for me for a very specific reason which was no fault of the author's. Read on to learn my mistake before you start this one.Mary Jekyll and her friends from The Athena Club are back, and this book takes off right where the last one left off. Alice, the kitchen made in Mary's London home, has been kidnapp The third installment of The Athena Club trilogy is just as exciting and action-packed as the first two were. It's one of my favorite books of the year and only missed the fifth star for me for a very specific reason which was no fault of the author's. Read on to learn my mistake before you start this one.Mary Jekyll and her friends from The Athena Club are back, and this book takes off right where the last one left off. Alice, the kitchen made in Mary's London home, has been kidnapped, and the girls must race to find her. In the process, they must also find Sherlock Holmes, who went missing around the same time, and stop a plot to do away with the queen of England. All in a day's work for The Athena Club, right? But will they make it in time?The thing I love most about this whole series is the connections to other literature. We have more of that in this book, plus a little ancient history and mythology thrown in for good measure. As always, mixed in with the narrative, we have snippets of conversation that are taking place while the writer is telling us the story, and they add so much to the book. It's fun to get a glimpse into the present thoughts of the characters, and the way these asides are woven into the book is masterful. And now... The mistake you shouldn't make. If you haven't read the other books in this series, read them first. If it's been a while since you've read them, read them again. There are so many characters and so many threads of story going on that it's difficult to remember everything unless it's fresh in your mind. It was a great story anyway, but I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I had remembered every little thing from the previous books.Bottom line: Monsters, mysteries, a bit of magic; what's not to love? I would recommend this book to lovers of literature, fantasy readers, people who like strong female characters, and pretty much anyone in between.
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  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    The final book in the Athena Club trilogy was delightful in every way I hoped it would be and a few that I was not expecting.As this entire series has been, Goss's reclaiming of female voices and monstrous stories brings refreshing life and keen insight to these characters. The Victorian adventures and mysteries of the novel are fun to read, bolstered further by deeper moments of significance and beauty. These books are stylistically unlike any I've read, but they are the perfect ble The final book in the Athena Club trilogy was delightful in every way I hoped it would be and a few that I was not expecting.As this entire series has been, Goss's reclaiming of female voices and monstrous stories brings refreshing life and keen insight to these characters. The Victorian adventures and mysteries of the novel are fun to read, bolstered further by deeper moments of significance and beauty. These books are stylistically unlike any I've read, but they are the perfect blending of style, theme, and plot--always functioning on a number of levels, but never losing sight of telling what is simply a good story.There is a lot I could say--about the social awareness of this series, about the re-imagining of classic literature in direct and subtle ways, about the craft and skill with which these books are told--but as Sinister Mystery draws to a close, I think it's simple enough to say that these books make me happy. With unexpected twists and vibrant characters, these are extraordinary adventures in which I have been happy to participate. This final volume brings a touching and effective close to the series, offering still the promise of more adventures to come for these characters--whether or not we, as readers, get to see them. Read this series. It's worth every moment.
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  • Didi Chanoch
    January 1, 1970
    In recent years, we've had a delightful flourishing of stories dealing with some of the deeply problematic foundation of genre literature. Ruthanna Emrys' The Innsmouth Legacy series is both a love letter to and a rebuke of the works of HP Lovecraft. Vivian Shaw's recently completed Dr. Greta Helsing trilogy deals largely with the origins of vampire literature. And Theodora Goss' work looks straight at 19th century penny dreadfuls, adventure stories and detective fiction. This is not a series ab In recent years, we've had a delightful flourishing of stories dealing with some of the deeply problematic foundation of genre literature. Ruthanna Emrys' The Innsmouth Legacy series is both a love letter to and a rebuke of the works of HP Lovecraft. Vivian Shaw's recently completed Dr. Greta Helsing trilogy deals largely with the origins of vampire literature. And Theodora Goss' work looks straight at 19th century penny dreadfuls, adventure stories and detective fiction. This is not a series about the great colonialist men of science featured in so many of those stories. It is a story about the repercussions of their thoughtlessness. It is a story of the daughters of both Jekyll AND Hyde, the story of Rappaccini's daughter, the story of the puma woman from the Island of Doctor Moreau, of the Bride of Frankenstein, and some others to be revealed as the series goes on. It is both their story and the story of the telling of this story. This trilogy is an absolute delight, both meticulously researched and wonderfully imaginative. I highly recommend it, as I do the other two series I mentioned.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Unusual storyI recommend this series especially in the fall when you might want a spooky story with strong female characters. The historical and literature connections make it interesting.
  • Heatherinblack
    January 1, 1970
    somehow not as goodperhaps if i had reread the second book it would have rolled better into the next? it appeared convoluted. complicated and yet abrupt. those characters are just gone? who replaces them? i will certainly read the next to see what happens to the girls next.
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  • Caly ☯ Crazy Book Lady
    January 1, 1970
    As much fun as the first 2, I am sorry to see the series come to an end. Hopefully we will see the author return to the Athena Club or at least some of the characters someday.
  • Tammy Buchli
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the third installment in this charmingly written and evocative historical / paranormal / literary mystery series. Fun and engaging. Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC copy for my review.
  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Overall I enjoyed this book, but it suffered a bit from too many characters. I had a tough time getting into it, but it moved quickly once the plot got going. This was slimmer than the previous volume and moved a bit quicker, which was an improvement as well and I enjoyed the last chapter.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    **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.**So, this will be the last book in t **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.**So, this will be the last book in the series, (supposedly).In the previous book (European Travels or E.T for short), we were introduced to a TON of characters… I mean…it was almost to the detriment of the book I felt. The story was good, and while it was playing out, very exciting, but it was a lot going on, and perhaps because I did the audio, there may have been things lost. I love the idea of Sherlock himself going missing. Since last book, he's been a sort of an enigma. Mary Jekyl, works for him, but there's this very subtle interest and even fascination with him that she has. In the last book she traveled to Budapest and met with Irene Norton (Adler). While she denies it somewhat, she seems to have a long history, perhaps romantically with Sherlock. And there is some definite bitterness that Mary has with her..But Irene is so charming, and hospitable, it's hard for us to not like her. But there is something a bit secretive about her…So last book The SA society seems to have been shamed into 'behaving'... What was odd is that after the big battle and setup, the conclusion was just to let them continue operating..and just trusting that they won't kidnap and experiment on women? Thinking back on it, as I start this book, it feels a bit anti climatic. I mean the showdown at the end of book II was properly gnarly, but what did it really accomplish. I had to go back and read my own recap. Not 100% sure that it pushed the characters forward…except perhaps Aeysha's involvement and Alice.The girls make for the Maglen Orphanage that Diana was rescued from in book I. We see that the orphanage has been sort of turn on end. Before it was this strict, hard edged, no nonsense place that Diane was raised in, it's now a much more light hearted and less serious place. Mary and Justine are perplexed and find that the old director too is missing..So many disappearances… She's been replaced by one of the orderlies who Mary met briefly with in Book I.There's so many great moments that give us these character developing nuggets. For example Beatrice our poisonous planet woman is loving how in the previous book, Watson helped her set up an irrigation system to keep her greenhouse and plants thriving while she was away. She continues this…it's nothing big but just something fun to note. She also though, on the flip side, is lamenting the fact that Clarence, who has fallen for her, may succumb to the same fate. And while she has a bond with him as well, she's trying to keep him at arm's length in fear for his own safety.Mary Jekyl Our Stalwart heroine, Mary can definitely be seen as the founder of the Club. She came from a wealthy upbringing, but after the death of Doctor Jekyl, the family fell on harder times. She found her sister Diana and they both support each other, despite their constant bickering. It can easily be said that they need each other and have a deeper bond of having the same monstrous father. Together with the rest of the Athena Club and their last loyal maid, Mrs. Poole, they live on 11 Park Terrace.I really enjoy how 'tight' the book can feel at times. While one of my main critisisms for the books has been that Goss often dumps way way too much into a book all at once, and it comes off making the reader feel a bit lost and having things just thrown at them. Well that was definitely book II. But I think with all of it finally out there, we can now settle down with these characters. I say this as we have Diane return to characters that she met in the first book, the "Baker Street Irregulars". I like the idea that the world we're given feels concise, and not too random. So our characters coming back to previously established 'wells of information' just makes sense. Okay so we officially get our main plot tee'd up to us. So I'll get to my complaint about this momentarily, but we get, through the eyes of Alice (lydia) the main antagonist here. This Lord Godalming, apparently in the same man as Arthur Holmwood, (in the original Dracula) And Holmwood was the fiance of Lucy Westenra. And remember along with Morris and Seward was one of the men who proposed to Lucy. So there's that. Then there's the fact that Godalming is a raging, racist nationalist. I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with the video game Bioshock, but his rhetoric about keeping England the Isle pure and for the great Anglo Saxon race seemed very spot on. Even the idea of Eugenics comes into play and it's clear how much Ms. Goss did her research.. So the plan from Godlaming's point of view is that England has lost it's way, sending men to go out and conquer foreign impure territories, and kill off good English men...all the while just creating an Empire of impure folk. He has a plan to kidnap (of course...) the Queen of england...and use Alice and her mother (Helen Raymond) to create and keep up the illusion of the Queen and use her to mandate a near direction to move England in. one that would throw off the shackles of subservancy to other foreign nations. Wow, okay so really...really good plot here, I love this... (not white nationalism) but rather that this is the idea for the story. I will admit is does feel a bit 'samey' as other works, and isn't terribly creative, but it fits the time and spirit of the book to a tee. I also like how there's an American among them, Quincy Morris, and he's a brash, adventurer type, who literally yells Hot Damn... It's neat to see the perspective of Godalming in front of the non English. Jon Harker is among them as well, and his former relationship with Mina Murray makes this even more intriguing...I'm curious to see if she comes back into the story. My complaint in all of this.. is that the method of introducing the villains and plot has been sort of the same in all the books. Ms. Goss is FANTASTIC writer in creativity...but I can see there's a small lack of having the plot elegantly told. In these books, it's always been sort of just dumped on us, by the same method. Someone is captured, and is forced to or over hears the evil plan of a a group of white men. That sounds far more harsh than it is, but it's been the narrative now of all three books...and it's been given to us the same way each time. Also as side note for something I really enjoyed here... Alice finds the room with Sherlock, and he's really in bad shape..she seems a vial of some sort of poison and replaces it with table salt... She knew if she removed it completely they'd just bring another, so she substitutes in a fake, so that he can still get treated with it, but it wouldn't be poison and he can slowly recover... Clever girl... And further more to this point, we get another really amazing bit of character building here where she is pretending to be distracted by food and simply not paying attention to the conversation that the 'grown ups' are having, all the while taking in the precise words of Margaret and her mother.So we also get a nice scene of the girls who were still in Budapest depart, and leave Dracula, Lucinda, and the helping crew behind. We also see Laura, who's pissy and griping to Lucinda that Camilla left somewhere and didn't say where she went to.. I wasn't a fan of Lucinda last book, and she's still sort of blank to me, but she's growing on me. And having her shacked up and taken in with Camilla and Laura is pretty nice. Laura meanwhile is visited by (yet another) character, "Bertha". She's apparently fond and in love with automobiles and plays as a nice contrast to Laura who has this disdain for them. The two are chumy, and Bertha invites Camilla to travel with her to England in their car, and Lucinda is invited....Conveniently this works out plot wise!Okay, I love the moment between Mary and her sister Diane, as they play a guessing game, to see who can guess what the other is thinking...it's these cute, moments that I hold up and just can really sink into. I think Goss has a habit of making these stories very thick and often a bit convuluted, so it's these simple moments or interaction and banter that I adore. Anyway, the group had the genious idea of storming the house that they found Sherlock to be captured in. And let me say the lead up to this was pretty neat... We saw before that Alice was able to get a message out to one of the Baker street boys, and they ferried it to Charlie, Diane's closest friend there. So they follow up with Sherlocks' brother Mycroft, who....wow what a dick.. and I don't mean a sleuth private eye. He pretty much tells Mary to prove herself and either find him, or let him be where ever he is. So we have the Queen, Mrs Raymond, Alice, Sherlock and Margaret Tralawny escape to Cromwell England, in an old keep... Cat, and Diana go to investigate and can't find it anywhere... Of course it comes out that Mrs. Raymond is using her powers to keep it hidden from view.Alice has been allowed to wander the keep but still restricted..She visits Holmes who's still in pretty bad shape but recovering.All the while, it's almost expected at this point, but I love the interspersed banter between the girls...The meta conversations are quite funny, even one depicting Catherine thinking about rather she should even write the books that we're reading..I also gotta say I love Mary's development... She should be a very bland character in theory, but I love her striving to be this perfect, praise worthy form of what a classic woman would be in this time, and she compares herself to others, and tries to live up to these 'rules'.Queen Tera, who of course has a cat who apparently also survived the 1000 year journey, is planning to have the current Queen Victoria of England disposed of, and seat herself in it's place. So..they're pretty much using Godalsming's idea, but to a far more broad goal. It's been quite some time since we got any update on Lucinda and Camilla, who were making their way to England via motor car with their driver Berta Benz. So Let me stop here for a second. Ms. Goss while I give her flak for having the habit of just dumping characters on us that often is a bit too overwhelming, the characters that she does introduce are all so wildly fascinating. Above that, they for the most part are all real life, 'hidden figures'. I haven't read a book that requires me to actively google search people. I can say that from these three books, I've grown my literary library and depth of knowledge and recognition of these characters. Anyway just wanted to make sure that praise was given.So we have Mary...and I love how her character is coming along..Another scene of her trying to live up to this statue of perfection, but having to deal with the fact that she has her own flaws that she was raised in a certain 'proper' English way, in that she can be ignorant and tone deaf to other's feelings. She also has a habit of looking at people and knowing just where they fit in, in society. And we see this now starting to bother her, and I actually wish this story thread was started in the first books. Just starting to deal with it now feels like a missed opportunity, but I do really enjoy it.Disappointed though that we didn't get to see the Ride to England with Camilla, Berta and Lucinda. They arrive at 11 Park Terrace while the Athena Club is all in Cornwall, trying to save the Queen...and ...kill the other Queen. Well that's a wrap! I'll say this, this ended very...oddly. The final battle between Queen Tera, and Tralawny was over in what was actually pretty tidy comparatively. And rather quickly. It's not a bad thing, I'd prefer this ending rather some long drawn out fight. What we got was a much more thorough tour of all the characters and how they faired after. Justine ends up making 'friends' with Dorian Grey which was...interesting, if a bit tacked on. There wasn't a lot of build up for it. But I loved Mary and Sherlock's moment together as he's recovering, and they finally share a long awaited kiss. I would have liked to see a last reference to Mary's character arc wrapping up and her trying not to be so hard on herself for trying to be more analytical, and "holmes like". Catherine gets the results of her first few books published, Alice (Now wanting to be called Lydia Raymond) is asked to join the club. Which honestly I always saw her as a member since the end of the 2nd book, so this isn't a big leap. Really like how the book ended up overall. The previous two books had a bit of a drawn out end fight scene that I sort of just zoned out on for some it. This was far tighter, and neater. As expected all the girls played a part in the attack, aside from Sherlock's injury the entire thing goes pretty much to plan. As stated I think the ending wrap up of the characters was more the focus. We see Archibald leave the home, Laura returns back home to her love Camilla...And speaking of which, having Camilla and Diana be the ones to take out Queen Tera was great, Diana loving the ability to decapitate an ancient Egyptian liche queen seemed fitting. Though I'll say this, I was almost a bit disappointed we didn't actually get any more from Berta Benz. It felt like she was being set up to come in at the last minute for a rescue ...but alas no, we don't see her again. Ms. Goss has put a solid 3rd chapter in here. I feel like this could easily go on, as all of the character are still in their prime and there is plenty of literature to still pull from. I can't stress enough how much of a jumping off platform she's created. Even if you completely remove her own fun narratives, these books have given me so much interest and reason to research and look into each and everyone character introduced to see where they came from and who they were. Never have I taken such a deep dive into the lore of Dracula through the ages. Even just in that respect she's succeeded brilliantly. Add on the memorable spins she puts onto them, and gives us a quite fun and almost bond creating moments with these characters, it leaves you wanting more. I want to continue my time at 11 Park Terrace and have Mrs. Poole serve up some tea while I listen to the girls spin yarns about their latest.... I think my only complaint is that ms. Goss may try to reach a bit too far and drop just too many characters all at once. I think if she would have spaced out some of the narratives and characters between perhaps two more additional books, it would have fit perfectly. With just three it feels a *bit* tight. Overall though, I loved each book and really hope we can see a possible book 4...
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  • Susan Graves
    January 1, 1970
    The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl is a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy that took readers into the mysterious world of of the Athena Club. I love following the adventures of Mary Jekyll and friends. I adored this book and gobbled it up in nearly one sitting. If you have any interest in exploring Victorian Europe with legendary horror creatures you'll love this one too.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    This is the third book following the adventures of the Athena club, and I have to say I enjoyed this one. The previous book, at over 700 pages long, felt a little too long. This one, on the other hand, was considerably shorter and I generally felt like the storyline was less meandering. However, I do feel like the pacing of the story was a bit inconsistent in places; there were quite a few spots that the narrative stalled in the extended telling of a character's backstory. Additionally, there we This is the third book following the adventures of the Athena club, and I have to say I enjoyed this one. The previous book, at over 700 pages long, felt a little too long. This one, on the other hand, was considerably shorter and I generally felt like the storyline was less meandering. However, I do feel like the pacing of the story was a bit inconsistent in places; there were quite a few spots that the narrative stalled in the extended telling of a character's backstory. Additionally, there were places in the story that were glossed over a bit too fast -- the "final showdown," for example. At this point in the series, we also have a rather extensive cast of characters, which was at times a lot to follow.That being said, there were some very imaginative ideas at play in this volume, and I continue to enjoy the universe Theodora Goss has created here, with so many famous literary characters brought to life.Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC!
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  • Linda Bond
    January 1, 1970
    And thus we have reached the conclusion of the trilogy featuring the members of The Athena Club. If you’ve not found this series before (unthinkable), I suggest you begin with The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter since you will want to begin at the beginning in order to understand the amazing story of how our now dear friends Justine Frankenstein, Lucinda Van Helsing, Diana Hyde (and others) first came together and how they managed to save the British Empire. Goodness what a journey it h And thus we have reached the conclusion of the trilogy featuring the members of The Athena Club. If you’ve not found this series before (unthinkable), I suggest you begin with The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter since you will want to begin at the beginning in order to understand the amazing story of how our now dear friends Justine Frankenstein, Lucinda Van Helsing, Diana Hyde (and others) first came together and how they managed to save the British Empire. Goodness what a journey it has been!
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  • Emilee
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent installment in the Athena Club series! Not as many new characters introduced as in other books, but the cast is fairly extensive now anyway, so I didn't mind that. Strictly speaking, this felt more adventure than mystery, but that's fine by me.
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  • Paul Calhoun
    January 1, 1970
    An enjoyable and fairly straightforward outing for the Athena club. Pros:Hero characters were almost all fleshed out further or given good things to do. No one was left out, even the bit players of earlier books. We get more into the history of the SA and of its membership, and it's a somewhat refreshing turn away from the SA rogues to a new set of problems. The return to the England of Sir Arthur brings us back to the Club's roots and the problems that they didn't entirely solve before go An enjoyable and fairly straightforward outing for the Athena club. Pros:Hero characters were almost all fleshed out further or given good things to do. No one was left out, even the bit players of earlier books. We get more into the history of the SA and of its membership, and it's a somewhat refreshing turn away from the SA rogues to a new set of problems. The return to the England of Sir Arthur brings us back to the Club's roots and the problems that they didn't entirely solve before going to Europe. They're firmly set monetarily, however, in a somewhat authorially fantastic "the writer supports everyone else." Even their apothecary Beatrice isn't making as much as Cat!A rare look at the Baker Street Irregulars, whose appellations are otherwise unprintable in today's language. It's a rare volume that tackles where they came from, who they are, and what they do when Holmes isn't sending them here and there.Holmes was kept out of the main action, which helps the Athena Club keep from seeming like they're in his shadow. Not that this would necessarily be a problem even if he were at large, since the only thing he seems to do better than any of them is shoot straight.Cons: I feel like the villains got shortchanged this time around. Moriarty is turned into a textbook ethno-nationalist (a Victorian BNP supporter) leading a cabal to use ancient Egyptian magic to conquer the world and make Britain for Britains. The ACD Moriarty was always a bit short on reasons other than fun, so this interpretation is as good as any, but it seems to reduce him a bit to make his motivation work. Tera, too, was just an obstacle to overcome rather than a full character. She was given a beautiful backstory with Ayesha, and then she wakes up ready to take over the world for its own good. She gets some dialogue to explain, but it seems premature. I was hoping Ayesha's accomplishments would convince Tera to take a few years to see the place before trying to conquer it. It would have given her a wonderful longer term menace if she is only temporarily suspending her campaign. That way if the series gets as far as the World War 1, she can roar back in as a player!
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  • Dan Trefethen
    January 1, 1970
    This is the third book in the author's Athena Club series, about the adventures of a group of 19th-century women 'monsters' (as they describe themselves). Others have called this series “The League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen”, riffing off the Alan Moore concept. With names like Jekyll, Moreau, Frankenstein, and Rappacini, they carry a wealth of association from English literature. They have banded together to fight evil and help others who they identify with (such as Lucinda Van Helsing) and a This is the third book in the author's Athena Club series, about the adventures of a group of 19th-century women 'monsters' (as they describe themselves). Others have called this series “The League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen”, riffing off the Alan Moore concept. With names like Jekyll, Moreau, Frankenstein, and Rappacini, they carry a wealth of association from English literature. They have banded together to fight evil and help others who they identify with (such as Lucinda Van Helsing) and also some important historical persons (such as – well, that would be a spoiler).This is a fun series, especially for those familiar with the real literary backstories of the characters. A reader should start with the first book in the series, however: “The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter”.The frame device is that Catherine (“Cat”) Moreau is writing their adventures for money, similar to how the Sherlock Holmes stories were framed by Dr. Watson. In fact, Holmes and Watson are characters in this series, and work cooperatively with the Athena Club. The difference in this framing device is that periodically the characters interrupt on the page to comment on what Cat is writing about them. This is fun but made me skeptical, as the putative author (Cat) uses interior POV of the various Club members, and I found it hard to believe she would be privy to such interior thoughts or that those thoughts would have been voiced to Cat for attribution in the book.This is a quibble, though. While the book clocks in at a hefty 434 pages, it's a fast read and largely enjoyable as a mash-up of contemporary metafiction with Victorian period adventurism.
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  • Nichola
    January 1, 1970
    This was a 3.5. There are some weird claims about the empire in this book, and I know what the author is trying to saying but it comes across at times as a defender of the empire. Particularly since the claim comes from the one character who seems to be clear thinking and level headed, I want to believe it is because the character is a nationalist to the British identity, but the claim that the empire brought education, medicine and religion to the 'dark parts' of the world, really upset me. Mos This was a 3.5. There are some weird claims about the empire in this book, and I know what the author is trying to saying but it comes across at times as a defender of the empire. Particularly since the claim comes from the one character who seems to be clear thinking and level headed, I want to believe it is because the character is a nationalist to the British identity, but the claim that the empire brought education, medicine and religion to the 'dark parts' of the world, really upset me. Mostly I suppose, because I live in precisely those 'dark part of the world'. I felt like there was an intentional misunderstanding of the idea that other places had culture and medicine and religion, even if it was nothing like the Western ideals. Now I know this is a rant, I also know that it is very likely that the author didn't intend it to be read as such, but that doesn't mean it doesn't sting sometimes, particularly when a claim like that comes out of the mouth of a character I have spent 3 books learning to trust and getting to know.Rant over. Overall I didn't find the villain compelling and I wanted Moriarty to be the bad guy, because I think Moriarty is such an underrated villain. Sherlock felt a bit lack lustre and he will always be asexual for me.But the reason I read the book and the book still works, is because of the monstrous gentle woman. I have loved each of these girls in turn and I find that I can forgive them anything, even British nationalism.Most of all I could read about the Athena Club for years, just for the side bars and and sniping at one another.
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  • Rayna
    January 1, 1970
    "The thing I've learned about adventures is they don't come when you want them to," said Mary. "They just sort of happen, like sneezing."I didn't enjoy this final book in the series as much as the previous two, but I was still very entertained and really liked how all of these characters from famous stories came together and ended up on a grand adventure. Many parts felt a bit drawn out, and others felt cut short - particularly the points of highest action. Overall, the plot was interesting. I wo "The thing I've learned about adventures is they don't come when you want them to," said Mary. "They just sort of happen, like sneezing."I didn't enjoy this final book in the series as much as the previous two, but I was still very entertained and really liked how all of these characters from famous stories came together and ended up on a grand adventure. Many parts felt a bit drawn out, and others felt cut short - particularly the points of highest action. Overall, the plot was interesting. I would have liked to see Alice have even more of a central role than she did, as there weren't many moments where her skills were made use of.Diana was probably my favourite character, with her wit, feigned indifference, and influence over the Baker Street Irregulars. She added a great deal of humor to some dire situations. I also really enjoyed the roles that Beatrice and Mary played in this story. All of these characters are great!A lot of the asides were actually quite annoying and could have been less repetitive. But others showed the rapport and banter of the Athena Club members, which is what I love about found family stories. Like the following exchange, which is exactly my kind of humor.DIANA: Were you really cursing?MARY: I hate to admit it, but yes, I was!DIANA: Sometimes you aren't completely hopeless.
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