Series: The Chronicle of Light and Shadow #1
Genres: Steampunk, Urban Fantasy
Published by Del Rey on March 5, 2013
Cover Artist: Nekro
Reviewed by: Kate
LEAVE IT TO CHANCE. Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—the intrepid heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, historical adventure, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.
In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun.
When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr. Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.
A CONSPIRACY OF ALCHEMISTS is a good debut novel. While not perfect, it was an easy read, with plot twists, a great leading lady, and a sweet hint of romance.
The world Schwarz created has two parts: light and shadow. The shadow world is where nightwalkers, fairies, and warlocks exist and where magic comes from. A fairy plays a crucial role in the book at the end, and every so often the chapters are interspersed with a page or two from her point of view, which was interesting. Those bits were very abstract, kind of like a prologue to the chapter it was in front of. Otherwise, the shadow vs light world building was a bit sparse. I hope that the author gets deeper into it in future books in the series.
Elle, the main character, is not part of that world until she gets dragged into it unwillingly, and then becomes further entrenched as she learns more about her heritage. At times, Elle drove me a little nuts. She was so stubborn, and didn’t always think things through. She didn’t believe what Marsh was telling her despite evidence to the contrary. It is one thing to not believe in supernatural phenomena in a world where it does not exist, but it is another when Elle was confronted with it in her world every day. But at the same time, she was brave and ambitious. And on the flip side of stubborn, she was also wary, which I appreciate. The frequent instant trust between a heroine and a person that coincidentally appears in their life when bad things start happening always rubs me the wrong way. One of my favorite aspects of the book was the romantic relationship between Elle and Marsh. It evolved slowly and cautiously, and I liked the sweetness of it. I can’t wait to see where they are going as a couple.
A CONSPIRACY OF ALCHEMISTS had its faults, as well. At times, the dialogue was stilted and seemed forced. It didn’t always flow well. There were also a few times where the book dragged a little which was frustrating. This book is definitely not action-packed, and the plot developed slowly. However, I see much potential for the future, and I’m excited to read the next book, A CLOCKWORK HEART, when it comes out in August.
1. A Conspiracy of Alchemists - 3/5
2. A Clockwork Heart
The Eloquent Page - N/A
Badass Book Reviews - 4/5
Bird on a Pencil - 4.5/5
Legacy of the Clockwork Key