I wanted to like this, I really did. The premise seemed so promising: an ageless alchemist who's been hiding in plain sight for centuries, a livi..Show More »ng gargoyle with an mysterious alchemical text and a murder that may or may not have something to do with any of the above. Unfortunately, Zoe Faust is without a doubt the MOST IRRITATING protaganist I've encountered in a long time (and I include Scarlet O'Hara in that list, so that tells you something!). People steamroller right over her at every turn and she just blithely goes on her merry way. The gargoyle appears in her life demanding, not asking, for her help with the mysterious book. Then becomes irate when it is not her first priority. Then, when the book is stolen from her home, berates her for going out for a walk (if it's such a priority, why didn't he safeguard it himself). And he uses her credit card, without her knowledge, to buy an espresso machine and subscription to Le Match (BTW when EVER has a subscription started arriving the next day???). Instead of telling him where to put his precious book, she tells him to ask next time if he wants to buy something and has a cup of tea. A teenage boy breaks into her home and eavesdrops on her & the gargoyle. He, in her presence, openly snoops through her shelves and cupboards. Then attempts to manipulate her into teaching him alchemy. Then RECORDS the gargoyle cooking, so he can prove the gargoyle is real. Then lets himself into her Airstream trailer "looking for a snack." And, instead of sending down the road with a flea in his ear, she bandages the arm he cut breaking in and has a cup of tea. For someone who has lived as long as she has, she is remarkably clueless. And allows far too many liberties as far as I'm concerned. How on earth has she managed to survive as long as she has? There's being agreeable and being a doormat. Zoe is a doormat. And she drinks a lot of tea. There is a LOT of discussion of vegan menus, vegan cooking, vegan food options. And I gather there are recipes at the end of the hardcopy (I haven't gotten to the end yet, so I don't know if they're included in the audiobook recording). There is some interesting information about alchemy, but not a lot. Oh, I forgot about the murder... Which isn't surprising because, by and large, Zoe does, too. A man is murdered on her porch and her house is burglarized at the exact same time. Does she take any precautions? No, she goes wandering alone through the woods and stops to have a cup of tea. She doesn't even deal with her lock situation for a couple days. I'm only sticking with it to the end, because I AM curious about that - but will be gritting my teeth every time Zoe allows people to just walk all over her. Maybe I'll start my own drinking game and have a drink whenever anyone mentions that she's vegan. And, when I'm done, I will likely delete it from my iPod.
Performance - great. Story, good concept needs better execution.
The issues I have with this series (and writer) are these:
1. She constantly restates what has already been said, sometimes even in the same ..Show More »or adjoining chapter. This includes the continual harping on her dying friend, restating over and over about Max, her brother, Ambrose and so on.
2. Zoe is 300+ years old, if she spent that much time in her head regretting her past - she'd be in a psych ward somewhere - or would have killed herself.
Having said that- when you make it past those points, this book got better than the last for the plot. There we're times in the first book that circumstances were really forced and there were far too many conveniences. Good job on the improvement.
Also, is there a more charming character than Dorian (sure, impetuous and sometimes immature for being 150 - but hey - no gargoyle is perfect right?), who just flat out saves Zoe from herself, and us from her character (and tendency) of being overly retrospect? Seriously.
A good next novel, looking forward to the improvements continuing - and loved the Poirot references :)