Pandian’s The Masquerading Magician continues from her first novel in the series, The Accidental Alchemist – a suspenseful, supernatural mystery series incorporating historical context that makes the story even more intriguing.
Zoe Faust is an alchemist who accidentally discovers the elixir of life, giving her partial immortality. She was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1676. It was the time of the Salem Witch Trials and she was mistaken for a witch due to her ability to transform plants for healing properties. After many years on the road, she decides to settle down in Portland, Oregon and make a home for herself – even if it is only for a few years before people realize she isn’t aging. This is where she meets Dorian, a gargoyle who enjoys cooking French food and was brought to life with an ancient alchemy book by the father of modern magic, Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin. Dorian needs her help to decipher the ancient alchemy book because he is slowly turning back in to a stone state in which he will remain awake, but have no mobility.
This second novel takes place a few months after the events of the first, where Zoe continues her search for a cure for Dorian. There is also a new mystery stirring as two stage magicians enter Portland with their magic show and a murder occurs at the theater. It leads back to a train robbery and murder that happened a few decades ago.
An added viewpoint is a great addition to this novel – one that takes the reader back to learn the history of Dorian’s alchemy book, his life, and his father. The author already uses historic figures and landmarks to create a realistic setting and add depth to her fiction series. It was interesting to see how the journey of Dorian’s book finally reached Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin and the early life of Dorian, adding much character development to the story. The character development of Dorian and Zoe evolves in this story and both of the protagonists are extremely interesting with each of their unique personalities, the obstacles they face, and their determination to help others.
Some of the alchemy transformations the author uses are culinary, as cooking is a major part of the novel and recipes are included at the end for the reader’s enjoyment. As Zoe is a vegan, she is careful about what she eats and Dorian adapts to her eating habits to make food that pleases them both. The alchemy transformations are described in vivid detail, adding magic to a fantastic story.
This novel is full of intrigue, suspense, mystery, interesting and not always trustworthy characters, researched history, and surprising plot twists. People who enjoy character driven stories with mystery, magic, supernatural creatures, and historical intrigue will greatly enjoy this inventive, well-written tale.
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