readingtrance

book reviews by Althea

The Accidental Alchemist – Gigi Pandian ***

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A cozy mystery with a touch of magic.

Highly recommended for fans of both Kevin Hearne’s ‘Iron Druid Chronicles’ and Nancy Atherton’s ‘Aunt Dimity’ series.

This is my second book by Pandian, and I like the other one (Pirate Vishnu) enough to seek this one out. I was expecting a quick, entertaining read with a positive feel to it, and in that, I was not disappointed.

Zoe Faust, itinerant herbalist and online antiquities dealer, has decided to settle down in Portland. Oh yes, Zoe is also someone who’s dabbled in the art of alchemy in the past – the rather far-distant past. Zoe’s secret is that she was born in the 17th century, and her alchemical experiments have extended her life. Right now, she just wants to blend in to the life of her new town. Unfortunately for her, the fixer-upper she’s purchased is known locally as a haunted house. Upon arrival, she’s greeted by a living gargoyle (who loves French cooking and wants her help). And next thing she knows, there’s a dead body on her doorstep. None of this is helping Zoe fade into the background. As a matter of fact, it looks like she might end up a murder suspect. The only solution will be for Zoe to find the real culprit.

The book has a few issues. At first, I thought Zoe’s obsession with vegan cooking was cute and quirky – but as the book progressed, the food details just got to be too much. It crossed over from being a character element to sounding like a pushy ad for vegan recipes, detracting from the flow of the story. I wish it had been toned down.
The author also really needs to look into the difference between Russian and Czech, then check her French, and make a few edits there.

Extra note: I love the cover!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Midnight Ink for the opportunity to read this enjoyable book!

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