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The Alchemist's Door Hardcover – Aug 3 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (Aug. 3 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765301504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765301505
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,575,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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TELL ME AGAIN," JANE DEE SAID. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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By Silas Traitor on Sept. 13 2003
Format: Hardcover
Just plain bad. There are thirty-six righteous men upholding earth and reality and everything else. If one of them dies before his time, the world ends. Well, it doesn�t really end, it just gets remade by a demon, or a greedy king who . . . or a rabbi. No, I guess it could be remade by anyone who happens to be there. Where? Not sure. Thing is, Lisa Goldstein doesn�t know either.
Goldstein seems to have hacked her way through this novel without thinking things through first. The finished product offered barely more cohesion and enjoyment than would a rough draft. Shame on Goldstein for not polishing this haggard piece, and a pox on TOR for publishing such poorly written work.
Some very important points were either overlooked or ignored. Take the thirty-six righteous dudes, for instance. No one knows who they are, not even themselves. But the Big Bad King is looking for one of them to kill so he can become the new Master of the Universe, or whatever. So he�s got a list of about six or seven of them. Where did he get this list? He got it from a bunch of scientist-types who sat around one day in a bar and just sort of came up with it. Off the top of their heads. ... They guessed, and the book admits as much. Now, the King wants to kill the thirty-sixth righteous dude. Not the twenty-eighth or the seventeenth or the ninth. The THIRTY-SIXTH. What difference does it make? Just snag one of them, cut his head off, and be the new god. Or whatever. So a major plotline is the good guys trying to find the thirty-sixth righteous dude before the Bad King gets him. Nevermind the thirty-five others ready and waiting to be killed.
I just can�t get over this thirty-six righteous men plotline.
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Format: Hardcover
While trying to weave a believable story the author added a whole bunch of historical figures some of which were completely redundant (Erzsebet). I will not even go to all the little weird historical "info" the author shoved into the story (rather than "woven"), such as Dee's introduction to Coffee and to Tea. I wont dare to ask if the author really believes that a man who worked in Queen Elizabeth's palace for many years was not familiar at all with these drinks...
Both the character of Dee and of Rabbi Loew were described in a very unreliable manner. Does the author truly believe that Rabbi Loew, a genius of his time, spoke only German, Czech and Hebrew? In Goldstein's world the Maharal (as Loew is commonly known) does not speak nor understand Latin and his scholarly knowledge is quite limited even though the historical figure was a renaissance man. Dee on the other hand looses complete contact with his historical figure, as he is portrait almost as a Harry Potter minus the wand, striding about with incantations for opening doors and breaking windows.
Instead of feeling drawn into an authentic world of the Occult and complicated ceremonial magic one witnesses Dee's Harry-Potter-like incantations, which really ruin any chance of taking the book seriously. Loew too talks about magic as if it is something completely ordinary without any kind of reference to the problems arising in Jewish culture around these issues. Loew's magic is considered Kabbalah, but what about Dee's? How can Loew wander around with his spell casting Harry-Potter friend without any referral to the source of his powers?
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By Richard Wells on Nov. 18 2002
Format: Hardcover
"The Alchemist's Door," takes what should be an exciting story and through the lack of detail that brings prose to life end up rather ho-hum. It's a story of alchemy, Kabbala, demon possession, shape-shifters, vampires, and the attributes of a "just man," told as a search-mystery; with locations various - Prague, London, Translyvania - but with little but the story to pull the reader into the magic that is, supposedly, all about. Not only are action and locale left sketchy, but characters are somewhat vague as well. Though we're given broad outlines no one but Magdelana, a horribly abused young woman desirous of knowledge, appealed on an emotional level. I was left with the impression this novel was written a bit too quickly, and the author's decision to sacrifice detail showed either a lack of research, or a lack of interest. I was looking for a good read in the fantasy genre, but got a sketch instead.
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