The Alchemists of Loom
By: Elise Kova
Expected Publication Date: January 10, 2017 by Keymaster Press
Format: eARC courtesy of NetGalley
Genres: Fantasy, Adult, Young Adult, Steampunk
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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.
The Alchemists of Loom is a compelling introduction to a series that has the potential to be fantastic!
The book’s best feature is, without a doubt, its worldbuilding. The scope was incredibly impressive!
There are three races in the book: The Dragons, but they don’t have scales or wings – they’re more like clawed, magical people with heightened senses and colourful skin and hair; Fenthri, which are basically humans; and the Chimera, which are Fenthri who’ve had Dragon parts spliced into them by the Alchemists. The book spans two worlds: Nova, the verdant world where the Dragons live, and Loom, the barren world of the Fenthri. A number of years ago, the Dragons came down from Nova and kind over took over Loom. One of the changes they made was that they instituted a stratified Guild system to help them keep track of the Fenthri and organize Loom society more to the Dragon King’s liking.
Phew. See? Impressive.
The main character is the Chimera Arianna, who is known as the White Wraith for her thieving abilities. One day a Dragon, Cvareh, crashes to Loom and Arianna tries to kill him immediately. However, Cvareh manages to persuade Arianna to help him with his goal of reaching the Alchemists by granting her a boon. They, along with Arianna’s apprentice Florence, must cross the span of Loom in order to reach their destination, all the while trying to evade the Dragons sent by Nova’s Dragon King to capture Cvareh and, despite being inherent enemies, learning to trust each other.
My biggest complaint about this book was the pacing. The first 25% was pretty much non-stop action. While I did find it enjoyable to read, the constant action meant that I didn’t really get a sense of who the characters were until I was about 100 pages in. Thankfully things slowed down a bit after that!
Since it did take a while to get a sense of who the characters were, I didn’t really care for some of them at first. For instance, Arianna came off as pretty bland, but once I learned more about her backstory, her stoicism made sense. I really enjoyed seeing how the characters and their relationships developed as they slowly learned to trust each other and work together in order to deal with the challenges they faced.
In all, Elise Kova created an incredibly rich world, which I loved reading about. I’ll definitely be picking up Dragons of Nova next year, so I can learn more about it and see what the future has in store for the characters!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.