This book started out with a lot of promise for me. What’s not to love about the offspring of some of the greatest literary “monsters” coming together to solve a mystery? Add to that the fact that Sherlock Holmes and Watson are involved, and you’ve hooked me.
After losing her mother, Mary Jekyll learns that the small stipend they had been living on, originally provided by her mother’s family, ended when her mother passed away. While her father, Dr. Jekyll, was considered a wealthy man, in Victorian England women did not have the right to vote, sue or own property and any money that he did have mysteriously disappeared when he died. The economy is not booming so the house can not be sold and so Mary finds herself in a dire financial situation.
When she learns that Edward Hyde, her father’s sometime laboratory assistant and probable murderer, might be back in London, she is determined to find him and collect the reward. Her search leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana and to three other women who have been “created” through horrible experiments: Justine Frankenstein, Beatrice Rappaccini and Catherine Moreau. Helped by Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, the group sets out to find Edward Hyde, solve a series of gruesome murders and ultimately, take down the society of mad scientists who created them.
What I enjoyed:
- There was some thoughtful commentary woven throughout the story about the challenges women faced in nineteenth century London.
- The premise of some of the most famous literary monsters in the world having children who eventually meet and become of a family of their own.
- The Victorian era setting. I love stories set in this time period, particularly if there’s a mystery involved.
What I didn’t enjoy:
- The story was often broken up by the characters themselves interjecting commentary from the future. This took me out of the story and in the first few pages, was actually very confusing.
- There were too many characters. I know this is the first book in a series so I’m sure some of the back stories will be more fully fleshed out in future installments however, with so many characters it was hard for me to invest in any of them. I ultimately didn’t care very much about what happened to them.
- Literary characters were just thrown into the story through a series of coincidences. If this happened once, I would have no issue however, this mechanism is used to explain every character being in London at this particular time.
This is good book but not a great one. I won’t be continuing on with the series but encourage you to give it a read if there is something here that intrigues you.