Zoe Faust finally has her life under control. It’s only taken a century or two. An alchemist, living in the Portland, Oregon area, with a gargoyle friend and border/chef, Dorian, she’s decided to search for her old mentor, Nicholas Flamel. Zoe believes that a local artist has the secret to finding Flamel, in a painting. But when the artist is murdered and the painting goes missing, Zoe and Dorian investigate and discover a world of art forgeries and alchemy that she never knew existed.
I have really come to like Pandian’s prose and story-telling. This, for me, is the best of the four book Accidental Alchemist series.
I admit to having a special affinity for art-themed stories, and with this book author Pandian does a remarkably good job of not only incorporating art into the story, but making it integral to the plot and bringing something new to reading journey. New? Yes. Pandian combines alchemy with art in a very unique manner.
Having Zoe see a painting of a man she strongly believes is Flamel, who, to her knowledge never sat for a painting because, as he taught her, it wasn’t good to be recognized as someone who does not age. So finding a portrait of him and trying to track him down, becomes her first mystery. Trying to understand why the artist of the painting – a contemporary of today – would be killed by drinking his paints is Zoe’s second mystery. The mysteries are intertwined, and there are some surprises along the way.
Pandian creates very real characters – not an easy feat considering some immortal (or nearly), some are gargoyles, and some are strongly rooted in the world we commonly know. These ‘real’ people are a big reason that the stories work so well, but Pandian’s plotting skills have grown remarkably over the past few years. This story is quite engrossing and I got really caught up in it. Even the jumping back and forth between centuries didn’t both me (often it does) as these moment were well placed and really did bring forth more valuable information for the story.
You don’t need to read the previous three books in the series to understand or enjoy this book, but why would’t you?
Looking for a good book? The Alchemist’s Illusion by Gigi Pandian, is the best of the four book Accidental Alchemist series, and for anyone interested in a strong mystery with a well-developed supernatural bent, this is definitely the book to read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Alchemist’s Illusion
author: Gigi Pandian
series: Accidental Alchemist #4
publisher: Midnight Ink
paperback, 336 pages