Synopsis (From GoodReads):
Deciphering an ancient alchemy book is more difficult than Zoe Faust bargained for. She'd much rather be gardening and exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon—but time is running out for living gargoyle Dorian Robert-Houdin. If Zoe isn t able to unlock the alchemy book's secrets soon, the French gargoyle will remain awake but trapped in stone forever.
When Zoe gives herself a rare night out to attend a classic magic show that reminds her of her youth, she realizes the stage magicians are much more than they seem. A murder at the theater leads back to a string of unsolved robberies and murders in Portland's past, and a mystery far more personal than Zoe and Dorian ever imagined.
Let me begin by saying that I read this series out of order. I started by reading the third book because I requested it from NetGalley. Gargoyles, Portland, and a mystery? How could I resist. It was so well written, that I didn't really notice that it was book three until after I finished it and looked it up on GoodReads.
So I went back to the beginning and read all of these very satisfying books. The Masquerading Magician is the second book in the series, and it was a fun addition to this saga.
What I Liked:
Much of the story is sparked by a book that supposedly brings the gargoyle, Dorian, to life. It is a backwards alchemy book that has caused trouble to whomever has possession of it. I enjoyed how the author goes back in time to reveal other instances where people tried to use the book, and suffered intense disappointment because it was not the shortcut to immortality that they thought it
The philosophy of this series:
This book series is all about transformations. How does one become immortal? They find what their passion is and immerse themselves in it. I love that the main character, Zoe Faust, is terrible at turning lead into gold (the traditional goal of alchemy). Her actual passion is to use her knowledge of herbs to heal others.
Zoe is also a vegan and I really enjoyed how she promotes this healthy way of eating without getting preachy about it. She doesn't go on and on about how unhealthy (or unethical) animal products can be. She simply describes how delicious the foods are that Dorian (the gargoyle chef) prepares. I am not a vegan, by the way. But these descriptions (and the accompanying recipes) are making me want to try vegan eating.
Note: I tried the Vegan Mac-N-Cheese and it was easy to make and thoroughly satisfying. The cashew really did taste like cheese!
I loved how close Zoe and Dorian are becoming as the series progresses. You can see how lonely Zoe has been in the past, a byproduct of needing to keep her immortality a secret. Becoming friends with Dorian helps Zoe to see that friendships are an important part of living.
What I was mixed about:
I am still learning to appreciate this genre. As such, I sometimes have a difficult time with some of the conventions of this kind of book. I wish that the central mystery was more about the finding a cure for Dorian, and less about incidental crimes.
It seems silly that Dorian would put himself in danger time and time again. I would have thought that Dorian, having been alive for over 100 years, would have more common sense. But I did like that he was part of the action. It would have been a shame if the character was stuck in the kitchen during the entire story.
Overall, I am enjoying this series, and the recipes! I got these books from the library, but after reading the three books, I now want to own them for myself.
Release Date: January 8th, 2016
Source: Public Library
Format: Paperback book
Recommendation: This is an entertaining series! Be prepared to feel hungry reading this book!