Theodora Goss’s The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl is the third of the Athena Club books. Like the previous two, it features characters out of Victorian fiction taking on adversaries out of Victorian fiction. But whereas the last book was easy to sum up (“vampires”), this one is a little more diffuse. There’s like… mesmerism, and Egyptology, and… well, it’s kinda just a secret society mish-mash, honestly.
As I think about it for this review, I think Goss was actually trying to do a bit of a mislead, where you’d think the main villain was so-and-so, and then there’d be a big twist, and you’d find out it was actually such-and-such. If so, that would make one scene—which seemed confusingly underplayed to me—make more sense, that I was supposed to have received it as a big shocker, rather than as just another plot development.
But at any rate, the message you should take away here is that this is a basically competent installment of a basically competent series. If you like what Goss has been up to in this series, you’ll probably like this book just fine. I think it’s maybe on the weaker side than previous works, and the repetitive nature of the series is starting to show, but it’s not like a massive step-down or anything. Recommended if you’ve been reading and liking the series so far.