Review of European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

36373571European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss. ★★★

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman is the sequel to The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, which I suggest you read first — both for the plot to make sense and because the original is the better book.

The Athena Club has received a desperate telegram from a contact in Vienna. Lucinda Van Helsing, another woman subjected to scientific experimentations, has been kidnapped. Meanwhile, this may be their chance to stop the Society of Alchemist’s experimentations once and for all.

Largely, my issue with European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman comes down to this one fact: it was just too darn long. The plot and characters simply can’t support a 700+ page book, and the pacing isn’t strong enough to keep me reliably reading. It took me three weeks to read, far longer than normal. I was never very engaged in the story, and at points I felt like I was slogging through.

It’s hard to come up with anything to say beyond that. I did like how the story introduced vampires into it’s repertoire of monsters. And I’m never going to complain about Carmilla (my fav lesbian vampire) showing up in fiction. The main cast was memorable enough, and I do like Mary and Diana’s interactions. However, the character work isn’t enough to carry the book.

I’ve made my decision: I won’t follow this series any further. It’s not that it’s a bad series, it’s just that I don’t get enough out of it for it to be worth the extensive time commitment.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tammy says:

    I really tried to get into this as well. I may pick it up again, but the beginning didn’t grab me at all and that’s worrisome for such a long book.

  2. Sadly, I am with you! I enjoyed the first book and tore right through it, but the second book’s length felt daunting. Then when I started it, I just wasn’t as engaged with the plot, and there was so much of it get through — I just gave up. I am actually beginning to suspect Theodora Goss is not for me overall. I’ve disliked half her books that I’ve read and liked the other half of them just okay. I keep being lured in by her playfulness with format!

    1. Sarah Waites says:

      I do love how she plays with format! But yes, I might not be the right audience for her. A lot of her short stories have been complete misses for me.

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