European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

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Even though the premise of Theodora Goss’s European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman is intriguing because it features female characters drawn from famous literary and science fiction works (i.e., the daughters of Doctor Jekyll, Frankenstein’s lesser-known female monster, Van Helsing’s daughter, etc.), after 700 pages the conceit loses some of its charm. Particularly because this cast of characters is joined by an irritatingly heavy-handed assortment of characters from Victorian literature and history (i.e., Sherlock Holmes and Watson, Sigmund Freud, and Dracula); it initially may seem fun, but eventually it feels forced in a way that pulls you out of the story.

It’s cool that Goss is essentially giving agency to female characters otherwise under-served in their original texts, but as the title would indicate, the book uses six words where three would suffice, which leads to a 700-page tome that becomes overly full of the mundane and trivial.

With some better control by the writer it could have been significantly cut down. The length isn’t helped by the use of a literary strategy that no longer feels novel or original: interrupting the story with meta narration from its characters. That is to say, at various points in the book, the flow of the story is interrupted by often unnecessary commentary from the characters in ways that fail to enhance the plot.

The characters themselves seem interesting, and you want to know more about them, but the frustrating thing is that in all 700 pages we only come to know one or two of these characters in any genuine way.

In summary: cool idea, less great execution.


Reviewed By:

Author Theodora Goss
Star Count 3/5
Format Hard
Page Count 720 pages
Publisher Saga Press
Publish Date 2018-Jul-10
ISBN 9781481466530
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2019
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy
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