The Accidental Alchemist

Narrated by: Julia Motyka
Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4,259 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From USA Today best-selling author Gigi Pandian comes a modern tale of ancient intrigue.

Unpacking her belongings in her new hometown of Portland, Oregon, herbalist and reformed alchemist Zoe Faust can't help but notice she's picked up a stowaway. Dorian Robert-Houdin is a living, breathing three-and-half-foot gargoyle - not to mention a master of French cuisine - and he needs Zoe's expertise to decipher a centuries-old text. Zoe, who's trying to put her old life behind her, isn't so sure she wants to reopen her alchemical past... until the dead man on her porch leaves her no choice.

Includes recipes!

©2015 Gigi Pandian (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mystery or Cookbook?

If I wanted to read about food I would have purchased a cookbook. I really felt like this was propaganda for Veganism. I have nothing against being a vegan but you don't have to give me every breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu throughout the book. It could have been a good mystery if all the recipes were not included.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Sub-par young adult

Sub-par young adult literature. Great reader but the plot is seriously lacking! Pass on this one!

10 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • C.
  • 01-07-17

Not Cute Enuff

Would you try another book from Gigi Pandian and/or Julia Motyka?

Very probably not. I found Ms. Pandian's plot contrivances unacceptable. With violence sprouting round the protagonist like mushrooms, no one notices... Sigh.

Would you ever listen to anything by Gigi Pandian again?

I won't let the reader get between me and a book I wish to hear.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom! To the point I quit before finishing it.

Any additional comments?

The living gargoyle is, truly, cute.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Formulaic

Cute concept but it got old quick. Skipped ahead several chapters and I did not miss anything.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Brixton ruined this for me.

As others have noted, this novel has a good central idea. A lead character who is an alchemist with a specialty in plant alchemy? Newly moved to a charming old fixer upper in Portland, Oregon to start a new life? Exploring her charming and funky neighborhood, putting her house in order, getting going on her alchemy again after many years of neglect? A stow-away gargoyle with a significant health problem and a mysterious old book? The gargoyle is a masterful french chef who spends almost all his time adapting standard recipes into vegan ones, since our heroine is vegan? Sign me up!!!
Yet, in execution this story falls far short of it's potential. The only real good part of it is the the gargoyle, Dorian. The reader executes him perfectly, so that he is charming and endearing and suave. There is quite a bit of discussion about food here, and it's all wonderful as well. I have found myself searching for some of the recipes online because they sound so delicious. In other circumstances (like if the rest of the story was better) I would consider buying the physical book in order to access them.
However, outside of Dorian, there don't seem to be any attractive characters that make any impact. Some of the supporting characters seem like they could have been interesting, but we don't spend much time with them, and the main character, Zoe, doesn't seem to be able to hold the stage. She'd be nice enough in another book, maybe one written by Juliet Blackwell or Susan Wittig Albert, but written by this author she's not strong enough to be the lead. This allows Brixton, the 14 boy who breaks into Zoe's house almost as soon as the story starts, to take over the entire book. He's a jerk. I guess it's supposed to be ok with us that he's a jerk because his mom should have been arrested for neglect years ago? I feel bad for him because of his miserable parenting situation, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a selfish, abusive, entitled little git. I have no desire to spend time with him at all. Sometimes, with a character like this, an event will take place in the story that changes them into someone who actually adds something positive to the mix. In this case, however, I've got 3 hours and 40 minutes left of this story and he's just getting worse. Since the main character is weak and stupid, and the mysteries are weak and undeveloped, that leaves Dorian as the only attractive character that I care about in the entire book.
I want more from a book than this.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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not my cup of tea...

the story was ok. all the characters were plodding and the concept was intriguing at the beginning but the main character was unbelievable to the point of nausea. I don't know if the other books in the series are any good but this first book makes it very hard to want to read further into the series.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The Accidental Alchemist

The narrator was good, but the story did not grab me. It read like a YA novel. The constant mentioning of veganism was very preachy and didn't add to the story at all.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It Was Just OK

Any additional comments?

Julia Motyka has a pleasant enough voice, however, I don't think she was a good choice for this story. When she reads it's like she's trying not to smile or laugh ALL THE TIME. That was very annoying and distracting during the parts of the story where there was nothing happy or funny.

The story was just OK. I agree with some of the other reviewers who commented on her lack of substance and strength. Zoe was pretty wishy-washy and dim for a woman who is supposed to have been alive for a few hundred years.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Seriously?

What was most disappointing about Gigi Pandian’s story?

The story line seemed like something a college freshman would come up with.

What character would you cut from The Accidental Alchemist?

No likable characters

Any additional comments?

A miniature French gargoyle who learned to cook from a blind chef?
An alchemist who can't read a book about alchemy?
Teenagers making the same moronic mistakes over and over? - Well, I'll give you that one.
Vegan food in every chapter that supposedly taste gourmet?
A simple mystery which drags so slowly, why you ask? See above.

The narration is good, Julia struggles with some of the male character, especially the shoddy French accent, but that's hardly her fault. I'm almost quit listening, but I kept thinking it would speed up, unfortunately, the story stayed slow and juvenile.

26 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Eh...

I neither liked nor disliked this book. If you are a vegetarian, you may like it as its a huge part of this book. I won't be following this series

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jackie Burns
  • 04-27-16

Entertaining Urban Fantasy

Promised much, didn't quite deliver....but it was an entertaining performance. The narration by Julia Motyka was excellent. The story premise was excellent and, indeed, started off well, but everything started to slide down hill from two-thirds through the story. The reveal at the end was weak, to say the least. I was disappointed. I hope that the writing in the follow-up book in this series improves because, as I've said before, the premise is excellent, but I won't be purchasing it to find out. Once was enough.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J
  • 06-11-15

excellent

What a pleasure when you find a really great book. The story has characters that you can relate to and follow with relish as it unfolds. I recommend wholeheartedly .

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J. LoVecchio
  • 03-31-20

cosy mystery with a twist

fun and funny. with a gourmet French gargoyle and accompanying recipes there's a lot to love in this series

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • sarahmoose2000
  • 05-12-15

Quirky

Zoe has been accused of being a witch in the past, so it doesn't help her plea of normalcy when she arrives in town with a talking gargoyle and a dead body in the porch.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-20-19

The gargoyle is awesome

...but the constant, detailed descriptions of every single thing the protagonist ate became incredibly annoyibg.