Point of View: First (Zoe)
Released: Jan 8 2015
Predictability: 2 out of 5 (Where 1 is George RR Martin (If the characters make a plan or think about the future I know it isn’t going to go that way.) And 5 is Cinder (where I guessed what was going to happen long before it did, but it was still a great book.)
My Rating: 7/10 Stars
Parental Rating: PG
Zoe is a 300 year old Alchemist. Due to a trauma in her past she gave up alchemy almost a century ago. Now she plans to start a ‘normal’ live in Portland Oregon. She bought a large old house that the neighborhood dubbed haunted and shipped her antiques from France.
When she unpacks she finds something unexpected in her crates, a living gargoyle named Dorian. He’s a person in his own right and he’s come seeking Zoe’s help. Between him and a local troubled teen they turn Zoe’s life upside down and make her house feel like a home.
When her contractor ends up dead on her doorstep and she smells poison she tells the police detective, but because she can’t explain her skill she naturally becomes a suspect. When they discover that Dorian’s Alchemy not Alchemy book was stolen by the murderer she has even more of a reason to find the killer.
I’d dub this book cozy. It’s a nice little light mystery with a hint of romance. I liked that she was an alchemist, which hasn’t been done much. I think if you like mysteries you’d enjoy this book, because although she thinks about her long past often, her magic isn’t a large feature of the book. Though what magic there was, was well done. (Though of course I wanted more of it.)
The best part of Accidental Alchemist was its characters, from the cooking gargoyle to the troubled teen who just wants to help his friend.
Dorian (the gargoyle) is French and has a love for everything from France. Throughout the book he uses French words and phrases (I don’t speak any French) but it wasn’t hard to figure out what he meant from the context. Dorian’s also a cook and since Zoe is a strict vegan he comes up with new recipes for her. Most of which are included at the end of the book, (I’m not going to try any of them, because when I cook bad things happen and though the author made the food sound good vegetables aren’t my cup of tea. (I prefer cookies)
The mystery was well done. I actually didn’t guess who’d done it ahead of time. (and I usually do.) There were enough suspects and details about all of the characters, and yes plenty of red herrings that threw me off the trail.
This isn’t a romance book and there isn’t much romance in it, but what is there is well done and if there’s a sequel I look forward to seeing the relationships grow. There’s also humor thrown in and I chuckled in spots, which makes all books better.
I liked how Portland was described, from the tea house to Zoe’s airstream, to her new home. Zoe has a great nose so there are also plenty of smells described as well, which I enjoyed.
This is a cute little feel good book, which was just what I needed. I look forward to the sequel. (The author hinted that there might be one in the acknowledgments and I’m hoping there is.)
This book is slow paced and there are long stretches where not a lot happens. My usual fantasy novels have magical duels and such, but this wasn’t that kind of book. (Which surprisingly wasn’t a bad thing.)
Would I recommend this book? Yes. Will I read the Sequel? Yup.
I read this book in December, so details are a little fuzzy. I don’t remember it as fondly as I wrote here, but that happens. I was surprised though that most of the reviews weren’t very positive. I think that’s because the blurb made it sound like an urban fantasy not a cozy mystery.
Has that ever happened to you, the book you got wasn’t anything like you expected? Was it still good or were you disappointed?