The Masquerading Magician by Gigi Pandian
The Second Accidental Alchemist Mystery
Zoe Faust is back and, as the book opens, is on a date with Max; attending a classic magic show in a style reminiscent of the Victorian era. Zoe gets a bit of a shock. Not only can she compare this night's performance to an actual one performed 150 years ago, since she was alive and well and living in Paris at that time, she spots Dorian on the catwalk-easily seen by anyone should more than a glance be cast in his direction. A problem, not only of a being in an unauthorized location above a stage, but more so because Dorian is a living gargoyle who is having mobility issues.
As Zoe struggles to help Dorian using a tricky type of alchemy, the possibility arises that one of the magicians may be another alchemist. Can she save Dorian without her health taking a dramatic toll? Can she come to understand Dorian's special book. And what's with that honey smell coming from a book, instead of Dorian's delightful treats?
The Masquerading Magician delves into the concept of friendship. How far would you go to help a friend? How much of yourself do you reveal? Can friendship stand the test of time? With or without secrets?
One of the things I like best about reading a book by Gigi Pandian is how much I learn. Pandian's books are filled with historical details, usually very unique and always fascinating. While she, like most authors, takes some liberties (this is a work of fiction, after all) she always sets the facts straight in her notes at the end. But for those readers who aren't captivated by the minutia of history, never fear-the past is mingled effortlessly with the present so we learn without feeling as if we're being taught. Historical details enhance, yet never overwhelm the story.
The Masquerading Magician is a complex mystery with lots of twists and turns. The ongoing issues with Dorian's fate, Max's beliefs, and the concept of backward alchemy make a multilayered story that grips you and makes you think. Yet it is also fun and charming. There exists, after all, a gargoyle chef who makes delicious vegan treats! The Masquerading Magician is a captivating addition to one of the most unique mystery series out there.
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