European 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.