A gifted alchemist may have to choose between rescuing a friend and keeping her own identity secret.
Though Zoe Faust has maintained a low profile for years, she has a mission that draws her out of her home in Portland, Oregon. She’s determined to find a cure for her closest friend, Dorian Robert-Houdin, who’s slowly been succumbing to paralysis. This isn’t just any rescue mission, because Zoe is a centuries-old alchemist, and Dorian, her patient and friend, is a petite French gargoyle brought to life by the great magician Houdini. When the two get word of another living statue in France, Zoe rushes off to see if there’s something to be discovered about how to reanimate Dorian. Instead of finding answers, though, Zoe finds more questions, especially once she meets Madame Blanche Leblanc, a woman who claims to have known her grandmother. In fact, Zoe and her grandmother are one and the same: alchemy has made Zoe stop aging, and fictitious relatives are a more convincing explanation than her intimation that her vegan lifestyle has kept her eternally young. Does Madame Leblanc suspect the truth? When Zoe returns home, she’s happy to reconnect with her boyfriend, Max Liu, and her other local friends, though she’s immediately distracted by a murder investigation that has the town talking. Now Zoe can’t concentrate on Dorian because she worries that her own past has finally caught up with her.
The unbelievable premise is no problem given the inventive powers of Pandian, whose alchemist series (The Masquerading Magician, 2016, etc.) is enriched this time by her sharper focus on developing her characters’ back stories.