Thursday, May 9, 2013
A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Leisel Schwarz
352 pages, YA Urban Fantasy/Steampunk, Paranormal (Warlocks & Fairies)
The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #1
My Rating: 4 stars
LEAVE IT TO CHANCE.
Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—a high-flying dirigible pilot with a taste for adventure and the heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.
It is 1903, and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light is a wondrous science that has transformed everyday life by harnessing magical energies to ingenious new technologies. But each advance of science has come at the expense of shadow—the traditional realm of the supernatural.
Now two ancient powers are preparing to strike back. Blood-sucking immortal Nightwalkers and their spellcasting Alchemist allies have a plan to cover the whole world in shadow. All they require is the sacrifice of a certain young woman whose past conceals a dangerous secret.
But when they come after Elle, they get more than they bargained for. This enterprising young woman, the daughter of a scientific genius, has reserves of bravery and determination that even she scarcely suspects. Now she is about to meet her match in more ways than one: a handsome yet infuriating Warlock named Hugh Marsh, whose agenda is as suspect as his charms are annoyingly irresistible.
My 2 cents
I'm not really sure what genre to classify this under. It has an urban fantasy feel, as well as some steampunk, along with paranormal (warlocks, fairies) plus a little mythology thrown in the mix! All are elements that I love, and I really liked the uniqueness of it!
The story is mostly adventure and action from start to finish. There isn't a lot of sitting around--Elle is in danger constantly of being kidnapped, while also trying to find her kidnapped father, and she also isn't sure who to trust. She throws her lot in with an old friend, Patrice, and his friend, Hugh Marsh.
Most of the character development came from Elle and Marsh, and I really adored both of their characters. Elle is a typical spitfire redhead (love it!) and Marsh is a handsome, very intelligent man who likes to butt heads with Elle constantly. Their relationship goes through lots of phases--hate, indifference, slight friendship, hate again, mistrust, and eventually, the stirrings of love! Although there is a hint of some romance, it doesn't take up much of the story. Elle and Marsh are too busy running for their lives!
Their journey takes them from Paris to England, then Vienna, and lastly, Constantinople. The plot was very well done, with a few twists here and there and a slow climax to the end. The ending was a little strange and not really all that believable, but this is steampunk, and I've found that its pretty normal to get carried away! This is the first book in the "The Chronicle of Light and Shadow" series, and I can't wait for the sequel, "A Clockwork Heart" to come out in August!