Monday, October 28, 2013

{Review} A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

{Review} A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz


Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—a high-flying dirigible pilot with a taste for adventure and the heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.

It is 1903, and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light is a wondrous science that has transformed everyday life by harnessing magical energies to ingenious new technologies. But each advance of science has come at the expense of shadow—the traditional realm of the supernatural.

Now two ancient powers are preparing to strike back. Blood-sucking immortal Nightwalkers and their spellcasting Alchemist allies have a plan to cover the whole world in shadow. All they require is the sacrifice of a certain young woman whose past conceals a dangerous secret.

But when they come after Elle, they get more than they bargained for. This enterprising young woman, the daughter of a scientific genius, has reserves of bravery and determination that even she scarcely suspects. Now she is about to meet her match in more ways than one: a handsome yet infuriating Warlock named Hugh Marsh, whose agenda is as suspect as his charms are annoyingly irresistible. (Blurb via Goodreads)
{Details} Hardcover, 336 pages. Published March 5th 2013 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2013). Source: library

{Rating} 3/5 - I liked it!

"This was the place where people came to give their souls to fairies." (page 1, line 1)
First, this book is hard to characterize, it hits many categories, it's steampunk, paranormal, urban fantasy, has a bit of romance. I think the title is fabulous - do you also think it's a collective noun? A group of alchemists being called a conspiracy?
I liked Elle, she's smart, capable, handy with a gun. And she's a dirigible pilot, how cool is that? Why can't I be a dirigible pilot? She's also a straightforward girl, she doesn't let people get away with half truths or the oft used 'you have to wait for the big reveal' gimmick. Mr. Marsh is a mysterious and infuriating character and his motivation and purpose is slow to be revealed. He's a more reserved and controlled character, a great counter to the more impetuous Elle. There is lots of friction between the two, but the biggest is what's the right thing to do when all is revealed. But the right thing for whom? The world? Elle? Marsh?

It's an exciting story, there are sky pirates, dirigibles, a gyrocopter, political maneuvering, magic, alchemy, vampires - there's a lot going on. That being said, the story felt too slow at times, I kept waiting for the pace to pick up and for something to happen. I was interested in the story but wasn't glued to my kindle. The series continues with A Clockwork Heart.

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