The Devious Dr. Jekyll by Viola Carr
The second book in the Electric Empire series by Viola Carr takes us on another wild ride in alternative Victorian England involving multiple murders, political uprisings, regicide, black magic, and so much more!
Publisher’s Description: Solving the infamous Chopper case has helped crime scene physician Dr. Eliza Jekyll establish her fledgling career in the chauvinistic world of Victorian law enforcement. But the scrutiny that comes with her newfound fame is unwelcome for a woman with a diabolical secret. And there is the mercurial Royal Society agent and wolf man Remy Lafayette. Does he want to marry her, eat her, or burn her at the stake? Though Eliza is uncertain about Remy, her dark and jealous shadow self, Lizzie, wants to steal the magnetic and persistent agent, and usurp Eliza’s life.
It’s impossible to push Remy away when he tempts her with the one thing she can’t resist: a bizarre crime. The search for a bloodthirsty ritual torturer dubbed the Pentacle Killer draws them into a terrifying world of spies, art thieves, and evil alchemy, where the price of immortality is madness?or damnation—and only Lizzie’s dark ingenuity can help Eliza survive.
As Eliza and Remy race to thwart a foul conspiracy involving the sorcerous French, they must also overcome a sinister enemy who is all too close: the vengeful Lizzie, determined to dispose of Eliza for good.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Invested Ivana says…
Another fun adventure from Viola Carr! I absolutely fell in love with The Diabolical Miss Hyde when I read it last year, and I’ve been dying to read Book 2 since it came out in October. Book 2 is crazier and more outrageous than the first.
Just a couple of small nitpicks to note: Lizzy and Eliza are perhaps going a little mad this time around, possibly from the mix of chemicals each takes in an attempt to silence the other. Therefore, the language gets a little “stream-of-consciousness” at times, particularly with Lizzy. It can be a bit disorienting and hard to follow–which was likely the intent to convey a sense of madness, but it does make the pace of the novel seem frantic.
Also, I noticed that much of what Eliza did had no impact on the solving of the cases. She either had an erroneous theory or just happened to be in the right place at the right time to discover the identity of the murder. I don’t remember whether this happened in the first book or not–I didn’t notice it if it did. But it would be nice to see Eliza more instrumental in the solving of cases, since she is trying to be a strong, independent woman.
It seems like Eliza and Lizzy get caught by the bad guys a lot in this book. Several times Eliza states she can handle herself without the need of a man to rescue her; yet, over and over a man needs to come rescue her when she gets in a sticky situation. If I were Remy, I think I’d put a tail on Eliza, too, with how often she gets into trouble. Again, it would be nice to see them both be the capable, independent women they aspire to be.
Despite these details, I really enjoyed the book. Personally, Eliza is battling her infatuation with Mr. Todd, her growing attraction to Remy, and her desire to be recognized as an independent and capable female forensic physician. Lizzy is battling her jealousy of Eliza and her own lack of self-esteem. Professionally, there are several murders to solve and a political coup in the works, one which threatens Remy and Eliza’s life.
Tensions really ratchet up in this novel, which makes the wait for Book 3 excruciating!
Nervous Nellie says…
I had a tougher time with this book than #1. The first book seemed less chaotic than this one. Eliza was scattered a lot in this story, which I totally blame on the drugs she was using to control Lizzie. Lizzie, on the other hand, was her blunt, tell-it-like-it-is self. I enjoy her to no end.
Don’t mean I have to pissfart about, weeping into my porridge like a jilted dolly.
Like I said, it felt like Eliza was totally out of control in this book. She was struggling to be the smart and decisive woman she was in Book 1 but she failed on more than one occasion. However, there was a lot of things going on in this book, so I can’t blame Eliza for her struggle. She had mysteries to ponder, murders to solve, political and familial intrigue to add to her growing burden. Lizzie wasn’t much help because of her growing jealousy of Eliza. In Book 1, I thought we had all that sorted, but Lizzie must have forgotten because she was careless and a spiteful little toad.
I did enjoy this book, though I tried it first in audio. I couldn’t sort the characters very well so I switched to the print form. Now that I’ve read the book, the audio should be easier to follow.
If you like this book…