“The Alchemist’s Illusion” By Gigi Pandian: Review/Giveaway

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review and links to purchase it.

Discovering the Elixir of Life certainly has its disadvantages, and after living for over 300 years and seeing her loved ones age and die while she stayed the same, Zoe Faust thought that she would never have a family or close friends. A living gargoyle and few new acquaintances who have been trusted with their secrets have slowly changed that, but Zoe is still unable to share her greatest secret with the man she is beginning to love. Perhaps that’s why she is so stunned when she spots an art gallery portrait of her mentor Nicolas Flamel, a fellow alchemist she met in the year 1700 who never allowed his image to be painted. That it is definitely him in the painting is as great a mystery as the purported artist Logan Magnus, a man who recently poisoned himself by swallowing his own toxic paints. Zoe’s attempts to learn more about the artist and the painting are foiled when a rage-filled woman shockingly accuses Zoe of killing Logan, forcing her to flee and avoid the examination of her falsified identity by the police.
mystery book cover
Image Source Midnight Ink

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Portland, Oregon, may be a town that accepts the more eccentric characters of society, but even Zoe knows that being discovered as a 340-year-old alchemist would not go over well. The food-obsessed gargoyle chef Dorian warns that as much as Zoe would be relieved to finally open up to the very rational police detective Max Liu, telling him would only destroy their relationship and risk their safety. It’s why Zoe has come to rely so much on the friendship of Tobias Freeman, another alchemist and former slave who has recently come back into her life. Along with a young teenager who accidentally walked in on their secrets, Zoe and her allies investigate a case of art fraud that has spanned centuries and threatens to disrupt the peace she has finally found among her quirky family.

This is a wonderfully unique and clever mystery than often alternates timelines and explores the different realms of science and art. A mysterious artist paints under threat in 1597 Prague, while in the present day artist Logan Magnus’s family have their own fates in jeopardy. Bringing a large share of humor to the novel is of course Dorian, the gargoyle brought to life, who loves baking, detective mysteries, and unfortunately making “improvements” in library cookbooks. While that last act gets Zoe banned from the public library, Dorian is her closest confident and most sympathetic supporter. The clever use of alchemy as a science worth killing over continues to be an instrumental element of this series, which only improves as its characters develop and evolve. Seeing Zoe lower her emotional barricades to Max and his family is a rewarding delight, and readers should look forward to seeing how their future plays out in this charming blend of mystery, fantasy, and science fiction. A brief mention from a character of author Gigi Pandian’s Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt series sparks hope for an entire novel uniting their characters, but the further adventures of Zoe Faust are more than enough to have readers returning to this extraordinary series.

To enter to win a copy of The Alchemist’s Illusion, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "illusion,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 2, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, we will not use your address for any other reason. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast featuring mystery short stories and first chapters read by actors! A new episode goes up this week!

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.



  1. I love this series and I haven’t had the chance to get this book so thank for the chance! craig-kelley70@att(dot)net

  2. Sounds like an interesting read. JL_Minter (at) hotmail (dot) com

  3. I thought I left a comment last night but it's not showing up. I'll leave another .

  4. Zoe is a unique character from any book I've read. Zoe discovering the Elixar of Life a and her best friend being a gargoyle sounds intriguing yet fun. They have so much life experience together throughout history. oaktreehill@outlook.com

  5. This sounds wonderfully unusual! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  6. Would love to read this! Just getting to know the novels of GIGI Pandian. Am very interested in her premise in this one!

  7. This is a new author to me. Would really like to read.

  8. not my typical read, but it sure sounds good - tr williams69 (at) msn (dot) com

  9. I would love to win this book! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. Alchemy sounds interesting.


  11. Thanks for the opportunity. Love this series. lsum1258(at) aol(dot)com

  12. Thanks for the giveaway. I’d love to win a copy!!


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