March 29, 2023


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Review: “The Mystery of the Ominous Witch Girl”

We’re looking at the third volume of The Athena Club.

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Every day is an adventure for the extraordinary ladies of Club Athena… especially when one of them gets kidnapped! After the amazing rescue of Lucina Van Helsing, Mary Jekyll and her team return home to find their friend Alice missing – and with her, Sherlock Holmes! As they try to unravel the circumstances, they uncover a conspiracy that threatens Queen Victoria and the future of the British Empire. Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine and Justin save their friends, and with them the Empire? The angry finale to the Athena Club saga.


The third volume of The Athena Club concludes the story of girls with special abilities in Victorian London. While the first two volumes were still decent volumes at over 600 pages, here we’ve “only” gotten to just over 400.

There is no doubt that you are breathing a little, as this volume also shows. As is known from the first two volumes, a mysterious plot must be thwarted here as well. Savvy readers who know Sherlock Holmes should quickly figure out who kidnapped the world’s best detective and left a business card with an M. That’s right, nobody but Moriarty is behind it all to begin with.

So this time not only did it find another new member of the Athena Club, it also introduced new villains with special abilities as well. In previous volumes you could focus on the new girls, for example, so that just doesn’t happen here.

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And so, unfortunately, there is a problem with other novels with such a large number of characters as well: because with seven main characters and no less important minor characters like Sherlock Holmes, you can’t do everyone justice. Admittedly, Holmes and the like don’t have much time, after all, it’s about a group of (modernly minded) teenage girls in old London. However, the plot feels a bit sluggish and like a dangle from point A to point B.

As you can see, the story is very interesting. All clues are followed and all means are exhausting, but every now and then you always sit down to eat and talk. This may be typical English in a way, but you also have to love these quieter stories. Eating too much, for example, gets boring after a while and only reads in a similar repetitive fashion later on. Ordinarily one might not mention such scenes, but given the recurrence of this account it is disturbing.

And with all the detective work, you somehow don’t manage to gain new facets from our heroine. Somehow everything goes according to plan and then of course the real villain comes into play. This is also known from various other stories and yes, the Athena Club volumes have always played with, reinterpreted and altered stories and characters well known from other works. Here, too, one does not hesitate to bring well-known personalities into the corner.

However, the new villain turns out to be a mummy who has risen from her thousand-year-old tomb and wants to conquer the world. At the same time, she’s not open to reasonable arguments — you know that. The finale about saving the queen is still interesting, but in the end this villain also falls into the abyss. In just a few pages, the enemy, previously depicted as almost overpowered, is decimated in no time at all, as if one had run out of ideas or pages. Unfortunately, the predecessors did it better.

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