book review, fantasy, Middle Grade

The Eternal City of the Obsidian Toad by Elizabeth Eckstein

Novice alchemists, thirteen year olds Mathew and Simon, accompany Master Ragnardt to Prague to find a cure for Grand Master Thorbrand, who has fallen suddenly and mysteriously ill. The Apocrypolis, a labyrinthine city beneath Prague, is full of wonders and dangers. While Ragnardt continues to look for answers in Czechia, Matthew and Simon join Veronica in Grand Master Thorbrand’s home in an effort to discover what is hurting the powerful alchemist.

I enjoyed the first book in the series, which tells the story of Matthew and Simon joining the alchemist society of the Crucible of the Golden Lion and fighting against the corrupt Pantomeus. The Eternal City of the Obsidian Toad is even more exciting, imaginative and fun.

I am particularly fond of mysterious shops, and the various different places Matthew visits in The Apocrypolis delighted me with their descriptions and range of products.

I loved how this book focused so much on Matthew and his friends. I was with him every step of the way as he tried to solve the mystery of Grand Master Thorbrand’s illness. He’s a wonderful character, and I particularly liked his interest in beasts. His relationships with Simon and Veronica are realistic and well done.

The alchemists world is a source of endless wonder. I loved Matthew’s gargoyle, Grimmut, the vegetable lamb, alchemical gastronomy, and all the monstrous creatures that appeared in this book. They’re so imaginative, I was happy to get lost in this story world, and I was sad when I came to the end of the book.

I award The Eternal City of the Obsidian Toad

Click here to read my review of the first book in the series, Quicksilver and Brimstone.

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