Narrator: Kate Reading
Series: The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on June 20, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Length: 13 hours 38 minutes
Based on some of literature's horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders - and the bigger mystery of their own origins.
Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents' deaths, is curious about the secrets of her father's mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her 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.
My top thoughts:
I picked this up for book club and it was almost a DNF in the first chapter. The style is very different – with the story being told by a narrator that is writing the book and a few other characters periodically interjecting. And that started off pretty confusing and irritating. But when I heard the names Jekyll and Hyde I was intrigued, so I kept reading (yes, I once again picked up a book without actually knowing anything about it). The strange style of narration actually grew on me and ended up being a fun element – it provided a unique form of character development and foreshadowing.
What I liked/didn’t like:
This is definitely a book for someone who finds this period of historical literature (and history) interesting. It’s an intersection of Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, Women’s Movement, the circus performances of the era, and the growth of scientific societies. I really find all that interesting so I enjoyed it, but it would be annoying if you don’t, because it is pervasive.
I really enjoyed the characters – particularly Diana – and I liked the way you had little diversions into their back stories. This was particular to this style of storytelling and definitely wouldn’t work for everyone.
I will say the story kind of kept going long past when I thought it would be over – and probably should have been. I did enjoy the ending developments, but it made the story feel like you didn’t actually ever know where you were headed or what the goal was.
I do think I’ll read more in the series and in audio, as the narration was good and I think it added to the impact of the different style of storytelling. Kate Reading is a narrator that I’ve read before and liked, so I’m not surprised I enjoyed her performance.