Friday, January 8, 2016

The Masquerading Magician by GiGi Pandian - #review

Deciphering an ancient alchemy book is more difficult than Zoe Faust bargained for. She’d much rather be gardening and exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon—but time is running out for living gargoyle Dorian Robert-Houdin. If Zoe isn’t able to unlock the alchemy book’s secrets soon, the French gargoyle will remain awake but trapped in stone forever.

When Zoe gives herself a rare night out to attend a classic magic show that reminds her of her youth, she realizes the stage magicians are much more than they seem. A murder at the theater leads back to a string of unsolved robberies and murders in Portland’s past, and a mystery far more personal than Zoe and Dorian ever imagined.



I had a hard time starting this book.  It just didn't 'grab' me.  Luckily, The Masquerading Magician worked it's magic and I was gasping along quite happily (is that even possible?) at the predicaments into which my favorite character found themselves.  And is it coincidence that I was also reading another novel about alchemists at the same time?  (Things that make you say, "Hmmmm.")

Dorian Robert-Houdin, the snooty French gargoyle was probably my favorite character in this book.  Thanks to some latin words in an old alchemy book, his 'father' changed him from a stone prototype of the Notre-Dame gargoyles into a living, breathing being.  But he's relapsing, turning back to stone, and Zoe (who was about to be killed in Salem, having been accused of witchcraft) befriended the 'petit gargouille' and was trying to help him escape that fate.  But every stop-gap takes a little more out of her.

And her policeman boyfriend, whose mother was an herbalist in China, is too grounded in the logical and the 'real world' to believe Zoe's claims.  Most people who don't 'believe' in magic, immortality and other species of sentient beings tend to think those who do are a bit...crazy.  At one point, Max offers to find Zoe a good psychiatric counselor.  Zoe took that much better than I would.

There are equal amounts of 'supernatural' beings (live gargoyles and extremely-long-life alchemists) and the all-too-human prejudices, foibles and for some, motives.  Ms. Pandian conjures up an interesting tale that shows the good and bad of the magic and 'human' worlds coming together.  The subplot about the 'missing stone gargoyle statue' is not to be missed!



USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian spent her childhood being dragged around the world by her cultural anthropologist parents, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s the author of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mystery series (Artifact,Quicksand) and the Accidental Alchemist mysteries (The Accidental Alchemist and The Masquerading Magician).

Gigi’s debut mystery was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant, the follow-up won the Left Coast Crime Rose Award, and her short fiction has been short-listed for Agatha and Macavity awards. A breast cancer diagnosis in her thirties taught her two important life lessons: healing foods can taste amazing, and life’s too short to waste a single moment. Find her online at



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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my unbiased reivew.  Post may contain affiliate links.)


  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to review the book! I love that you were reading another book about alchemists at the same time :)

  2. Interesting review, it sounds like a good read

  3. Sounds like a good read. Nice review.

  4. I don't think I have read nearly enough books about alchemists for my liking. I am gonna have to fix that at some point! Even though this one got off to a shaky start, I am glad to know it worked out for you in the end and then you could continue to really enjoy it!

    1. Thanks, Olivia-Savannah! Sometimes books start like that for me, but I usually wind up liking them. Luckily, this was one of those!