Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk
Her vengeance. His vision.Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.
Where to begin with this book? I hadn’t read any Elise Kova books before. I’d seen the entire blogging world rave about them but I hadn’t actually read a single one of them. Turns out I am an idiot who should have been reading her books far sooner as they are amazing! I couldn’t get enough of The Alchemists of Loom and even though it took me nearly a week to read (the equivalent of a century in reading terms, for me) I loved every second of it. I feel like I was dragging out the reading so the book wouldn’t end. I don’t know if I can fully explain why so here are five reasons you should get reading this newest offering from her:
Look, dragons get me every time. Well… they do when dragons are done right. Dragons are done right in this book.
I mean, we get two opposing views of dragons in the form of Cvareh and then Leona. Cvareh is trying to overthrow the Dragon King with the help of the Fenthri rebels (who he has never meant and can’t even be certain exists). Then there is Leona who blindly and valiantly serves the Dragon King (who she is totally in love with) and will do anything to achieve his aims. She is superior and looks down upon the Fenthri as an inferior race. I mean, Cvareh had a similar view of Fenthri being ugly and repressed but his time with them changes his views. He grows to admire them and his willingness to change his views and grow is amazing when Leona refuses to.
The Action Never Stops
I mean, seriously, you begin with action and it doesn’t actually slow down from there. You are little dropped into one of Ari’s jobs as the white wraith and the action continues from there. It was amazing. I was thoroughly confused from the beginning as she uses a system of measurement I didn’t understand what she was stealing and what half the things she was talking about were but it was gripping. I wanted to know who Ari was. Why she was doing what she was doing (I still didn’t fully understand her by the end, but that’s what the next book is for, right?). I wanted to know everything and that only got worse as the book progressed.
Why was Cvareh on Loom? What did he have that meant he wanted to go to the Alchemists? Who were the Alchemists? Why did Ari hate the Dragons so much? What had the Dragons done to Loom which was so bad? How did Chimera work? SO many questions and only some of them actually got answered this time around. It was a roller coaster really and I loved every second of it.
The Characters Rocked
I loved everyone in this book. Even the mean old bad guys, because they were interesting. I love a character who is interesting and grows and has personality. The characters in this book definitely had that. Like I said, Leona was annoying and awful and so flawed, but you completely understood why she hated the Fenthri and loved her King. Same goes for Ari and why she hated Dragons so much. There was good reasoning behind it. And Cvareh, you got he knew nothing of Loom and the Fenthri and was learning as he went along. He went down to Loom blind and hoped for the best. And Ari and Cvareh grew and learned to overlook their original thoughts on one another (even when they really didn’t want to) they had major character growth and they grew and developed.
And Flor. God, I loved Florence, precious flower that she was. She was so sweet and optimistic and she was always willing to see the best and the positive. She trusted Cvareh, despite him being a Dragon and her learning they were bad. Unless he acted otherwise she was willing to believe he was good. She also seemed to act like salvation and a moral compass for Ari leading her in the right direction, even when Ari didn’t want to go. I definitely want to see more of Florence and Arianna’s friendship in the next book. Florence was a favourite for me.
World Building Is Awesome
I love some good old world building and this is done really well. I think it helps that you are dropped in head first with no boring explanations and world building instead you’re already in the world and the action happens and you have a steep learning curve. That may not be for some, but it works. The reason it works is because of the multiple POV we see throughout. Each character knows something about one world and they help you learn as it goes on. I love that about this book. I normally hate multiple POV because I don’t like characters and I get invested in one story over another, but in this book, you need all the multiple POV to guide you through this new world and learn. It was genius! It was genuinely amazing.
I Loved The Societal Structures
You may think this is linked to world building, and it is, but it’s also really not. The thing I loved was the differences between Dragon society and Fenthri society. It was really interesting, especially as you see the effect of the Dragon’s forcing the Fenthri to conform to their view of how society works and how hindering and unsuccessful it is because that is not how Fen society works. I mean, the mere fact that it is addressed that another’s world view doesn’t work when forced onto others was just on point. Especially when you have Ari, a strong proponent of the old ways and how much more successful they were. I definitely wanted to know more of the old ways of the Fenthri and how they used to work. I won’t mention specifics, but it seems the old ways were way more successful before the Dragon’s view of family and structure should work. I do also want to know more about Dragon society because it was so damn interesting.
So there you have it. If I haven’t convinced you now I may never succeed in doing so. Have you read this, what did you think? And have you read any of Elise Kova’s books, are they just as good as this one sounds?