A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
DISCLAIMER: I received A Conspiracy of Alchemists as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
This review can also be found at The Title Page
Rating: 3.5 Stars
A Conspiracy of Alchemists follows air-pilot, Elle, and her warlock companion, Hugh on a quest to find her kidnapped father. Elle discovers that she holds powers she never even imagined in this adventure that takes place in a magical, historical, alternate universe.
This book starts out interestingly enough, pushing us straight into this universe with no explanation. I was able to pick up enough from the setting and character description to figure out some of the mythology going on throughout the book, but it took a while for me to fully understand what was going on. I ended up googling different mythology just to get an image in my head of certain characters.
The characters were very in-depth, I enjoyed the people I was reading about. Consistency could have been better. In the beginning of the novel, Hugh was a hardened gentleman with a snarky attitude but by the end of the book he had turned into a useless boy pining for a girl’s love.
Everything seemed to move slower in this world too. Elle is determined to find her father (who she fears may be dead), but only after she’s had her breakfast. Hugh and Elle travel to Venice to speak to the only people who can help them, but the first thing they do is check into a hotel. Once Elle is kidnapped, Hugh visits a few friends and checks into a hotel for a few days before finally freeing her. They just seem really calm in the situations they’re in. Panic should be their first reaction.
And then, of course, in the end we have the inevitable ‘bad guy reveals entire plan because, hey “you’re going to die anyways”’ cliche, that I did not enjoy from such an original novel. And we wouldn’t miss the Prologue designed only to set up for the next novel. (which I really think it could have done without. This book would have been a great standalone novel, I fear the sequels will only bring it down.)
I was not overly impressed with the novel, but I didn’t hate it. The world building was fascinating, if not a bit overwhelming. It’s a good read, but not the top of my list.
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