This book was sent for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the book or the content of our review.
Published by Keymaster Press on January 10th 2017
Amazon ♡ TBD
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.
My review in one sentence: My love for Elise Kova continues.
No, seriously. I loved the Air Awakens series so much, for both its own merit and what it brought into my life (amazing friends like Jamie and Iris). I was a little nervous, I’ll admit, about reading THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM, as the way Elise described it made it clearly a different beast to her first series. For a start, it was set in a steampunk world with non-humans. I wondered if she could possibly make me fall in love with another world and characters.
And she did!
Yes, this book is very different in many way to the AA series, but Elise continues to do several things exceptionally well.
- World building – the worlds of Loom and Nova are incredible. They’re thought out in a lot of detail, with societal rules crafted alongside the geography. The notion of houses and guilds isn’t a new one, but anyone who likes Harry Potter knows the joy of belonging to a house. That same joy can be found in belong to a guild in the Loom world. (I, for one, am part of the Alchemists, the scientists in this world.) Everything has a history and a reason for being the way it is, something that I know Elise works hard to construct and connect. Oh, and for you map lovers out there, there is naturally a map of Loom in the book.
- Magic system – Elise came up with something very new and exciting in THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM. In this universe, Dragons have all the magic…in their bodies. As in, various body parts give them their powers. Yeah. Do you know what that means? It means that those organs can be used to give Fenrhi (the people down on Loom that Dragons control) certain powers through the creation of Chimeras (Fenrhi with Dragon transplants). Have you read anything like that before??? Because I haven’t, and it’s AWESOME.
- Characters – once again, I found myself wrapped up quickly in these characters, particularly Florence. Everyone was just so badass. (Actually, I think that sums up the book quite well.) I did struggle a little bit at first with Cvareh and Ari, but OMG was I shipping them hard towards the end. HARD. That being said, romance was not the focus of the book. No, being awesome and self-sufficient and just plain dangerous was.
- Twists – so many. So, so many. And the reveal about Ari towards the end. WHAT.
The one really cool and different thing about THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM is the level of creepiness. What does it say about me that I thoroughly enjoyed all the gruesome cannibalism involved in Dragon society? This, alongside the older characters, is what makes this new series from Elise not YA. The decision to make this more appropriate for New Adult/Adult readers opened up the door for her go all out with the goriness and cruelty involved in her fight scenes…and the creepy(/sexiness) of her heist scenes when Cvareh and Ari have to team up. (YES SEXINESS OKAY.)
Overall, yet another win for Elise. My Elise Kova shrine is getting another addition come January 10th, when this baby comes out (in hardcover, naturally).
Anytime you read a book by an author you love, you have that momentary jolt of panic thinking “Am I going to like this? What happens if I don’t?!” and that’s how I felt going into THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM. I loved the AIR AWAKENS Series by Elise Kova and had those butterflies upon starting Loom, but I shouldn’t have. THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM has a great magic system, complex characters, and lots of action to keep you on your toes. If you’re a fan of MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson, you will enjoy THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM.
I liked that this one started off really fast paced: We met all of our POV characters pretty much right away. Switching POVs allowed us to move the story along and understand the world from the perspective of every class of person that would have a say in the world. I think it was a really wise idea to show the perspective of everyone because it allowed us to understand where the Dragons are coming from and where the humans are coming from in terms of how they view the way the world works. I especially liked Arianna’s conversations with Cvareh about how the Guilds were so much stronger without Dragon influence because now they are throttled and not allowed to grow as much as they did when the Dragons were still on Nova.
The world building was really intriguing. I liked the idea of different territories for different Guilds and how to travel between them. I also liked seeing a bit of some of the different Guilds to understand how each Guild lived differently and why. The descriptions were wonderful because I felt like I was walking around in this world and experiencing everything our characters did. I would love to be able to transport myself into this world just to see the sights. Everything was really logical and made sense, especially the heavy magic coming from the Dragon blood. I think it is a really interesting and cool system with much more yet to be discovered about it.
I really liked all the characters, but ESPECIALLY Leona. Leona was legit my fave which is awkward since she is a Dragon and technically the enemy of the main characters. But girlfriend knew what she wanted and did whatever she had to in order to get it and I am so here for that. I thought all the characters we met were really well rounded (if not, you know, a little off their rocker) and I am really excited to see where things go from here for all of them. Arianna is a mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a bitch (thanks OTH) but she is still a great character. I liked seeing her bring down her walls for Florence and View Spoiler »that at the end she started to do the same for Cvareh « Hide Spoiler because it made her human. I am excited to see what else she can do in the future.
The one thing I was a little meh about was the ending. I felt like the main conflict of this one ended a tad too early and the final chapters, while interesting and setting up the next novel, left much to be desired. I am excited to see where the next novel takes us and to see how Arianna grows as an individual (and how her relationship with Cvareh adapts and changes). I also think we were left with a few too many questions at the end. We could infer a lot from the conversations at the end and some of what transpired, but it was never outright said which means that my ideas could be completely wrong, altering my perspective of certain characters and situations. And while it is good to have questions about the future (View Spoiler »i.e. What dragon will Arianna ask Cvareh to kill for betraying them? « Hide Spoiler), I shouldn’t have just as many questions about our main character at this point. I like that she is mysterious and has a tragic past, but I needed a few more nuggets of information before this one ended to really satisfy my curiousity.
This is another fresh and fun Fantasy series that is sure to be a hit. I loved the world, the characters, and the magic system. I was meh on the ending, but I am very excited to continue reading! I think if you’re a fan of Brandon Sanderson or Brent Weeks, you will enjoy the start of Elise Kova’s newest series.
It is awesome. Buy it.