Zoe is looking to put down roots in Portland despite knowing that her circumstances – she’s a 300+ year old alchemist – make that a near-impossibility. It doesn’t help, however, when attention is drawn to her via newspaper photographs and a rich woman accusing her of murder outside an art gallery.
After the third volume of this series, The Elusive Elixir, I wasn’t sure if there would be more to the story. There seemed like there could be, but I saw no hint anywhere that Pandian was working on one. So imagine my surprise when I went randomly looking for possible audiobooks to spend credits on and discovered that this book released back in January. Of course I snatched it up and began listening immediately!
It was so great to revisit Zoe, Dorian, Max, and all the others. This was a fun new mystery and great further development of several characters. I was completely surprised by revelations, and if memory serves me correctly, that’s been pretty consistent across the series. I also noticed one small change for the better in this book – there wasn’t as much emphasis on recipes in the text. A few times in previous volumes, the narrative stopped while vegan dishes were described by their processes. In The Alchemist’s Illusion, there were still references to the food cooked – it’s an integral part of this cozy mystery series! – but the flow of the narrative wasn’t stopped by processes. I thought it flowed better for that change. (On another note, I do wonder if actual recipes are given after the novel in physical editions of these books, because that would be awesome…)
Performance: Julia Motyka as usual does an amazing job with the audio. I adore the way she reads this, and I think revisiting the characters in voice was as phenomenal as learning the next part of their stories. I do hope she continues to read the series as it publishes!!