Book Review: Evangeline and the Alchemist

I love novellas, and this one didn’t disappoint. If you are looking for something to read tonight, check it out. It’s only 99 cents!

It’s not very often that I’ll sit and finish a book in one sitting, even a novella. I believe the last one was when I read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last year. And to be honest, though it was set in a similar time period, and had it’s own brush with alchemy, I felt that half of that text was wasted retelling the story from a different POV.

This book, Evangeline and the Alchemist, on the other hand, didn’t waste a single sentence. The story starts off with Evangeline and her foster father working in his lab. He’s an inventor, and that trade is something she has a special interest in. It’s something she can latch onto, now that she’s dispatched her shady and painful past in London. New clothes and a warm bed? A new skill that allows her to make secret inventions? What could be better?

How about a mystery to solve? Someone has been pushing off fake gold as real, and duping store owners and jewelers all over her new home town of Melbourne, as the gold rush has come to an end. Evangeline appears unable to resist the temptation of solving the crime as a means of repaying a debt she feels that she owes to her new family for saving her from her previous life. A chance to be a heroine of the highest caliber, and perhaps even an article about the whole debacle in the Argus, the local paper.

This book kept me flipping pages and one-more-chaptering until I finished around 10:30 last night, and I highly recommend it to anyone. 5 stars. I knew Madeleine D’Este was a special kind of writer since I interviewed her a while back, but even I wasn’t expecting this. The plot is tight and paced perfectly. There were no errors anywhere in the text that zapped me out of the story, even if I had to look up a couple of new words. The magical element in the story seems real and in pace with the rest of the plot, and the characters are all three-dimensional.

Plus it’s short, which is why I reached for it last night. That’s always a plus for me.

When I looked back at Amazon, I couldn’t believe it was only priced at 99 cents, and thought that might be an intro price to entice new readers into the series, but the other books are 99 cents also! I just finished purchasing both of them on Kindle, and look forward to reading more of Evangeline’s adventures. I’m especially interesting to see what kind of new inventions she might come up with, and the next mystery looks more dangerous than this one.

All in all, this is an awesome book, and if you are cool with the time period of the late 1800s, and especially if you like a little steam-punk, it’s definitely a story for you.

I Hunted Over the Whole Book Looking For Writing Glitches

And I didn’t find many. I always have to put something critical about any book that I review, and this one was hard. There were no issues that spanned the text. Madeleine doesn’t noodle around with back-story, and though I would have liked to know a little more about Evangeline’s past, there’s only so much you can squeeze into a novella this size. I though the balance was more than appropriate.

I think there was once sentence where I though the addition of a comma would make it flow better, but it was hardly a distraction to reading.

There were a few (not many) places where I thought the use of proper nouns was a bit overdone, like using the same name two times in the same paragraph, but these were few and far between. And to be honest, as tight as this story is, it was very forgivable, and may have even helped my brain hold tight to the names of a couple ancillary characters. I’m not sure if the repetition of Evangeline’s address was quite to my liking, but I can see why the author chose to make it a staple in the story. It might be a while before I forget 56 Collins Street.


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Author: spottedgeckgo

Writer. Making my living on my pen, and working to turn a raw chunk of land into a future homestead.

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