Tag Archives: girls and science

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

29th September 2011

*I received a signed copy of this book from the author at BEA. She inscribed it “For Jennifer, the discerning girl.” 🙂

Transcript: “London. An American girl new to the city meets a boy whose father possesses a powerful book full of ancient spells and magical potions which might just be what they need to save the world.”

With a bit of spywork, a lot of adventure, and a good dose of Cold-War-era history, The Apothecary was just a really fun book. I love the premise: the apothecary has a real potion book that the Soviet Union is trying to get its hands on, and after Benjamin’s father disappears, it’s up to Jane and Benjamin to use the spell book and protect it in order to figure out who the good guys and the bad guys are. Along the way, they meet Pip who helps them outwit the double agent out to get the Pharmacoepia, Benjamin’s father’s book. Pip was actually my favorite character because he brought a bit of grit and a whole lot of humor to the novel.

I’ve waited until closer to its publication date to review it, but my enthusiasm hasn’t diminished. It isn’t a perfect book. There were some unanswered questions, and I think the characterization could have been a bit stronger, but I’m hopeful this is (maybe) the first in a series, and I would definitely pick up a sequel.

Plus, this is an absolutely beautiful book. Illustrated by Ian Schoenherr, I absolutely prize this book above many of the others I got at BEA, even though some of the pages are unfinished.

Run out and grab it, or order it from Indiebound.