The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
Series: Loom Saga #1
Rating: 3.5 stars
Published: January 10th 2017
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.
I would like to thank Elise Kova for providing me with a review copy of The Alchemists of Loom. This does not effect my review in any way.
Elise Kova crafted a vivid and intricate world in her new series, The Alchemists of Loom. We follow the adventures of Arianna, the infamous White Wraith of Nova, as she makes a perilous journey to the mysterious Alchemists Guild. Accompanying her is mentee Florence, and a Dragon of the Xin house, Cvareh. Cvareh actually stole something of importance from the Dragon King, and so in an attempt to retrieve it, the King sends his Dragon Riders, the most deadly of all Leona. All four of them have alternating POVs in this whirlwind steampunk magic tale.
I would recommend The Alchemists of Loom to fans of Truthwitch, because both series have this in common - very complex world building! That being said, as readers, you're thrown into the midst of the action, so it takes a bit of in-depth reading and inference to assume certain lore. For instance, Dragons are not actual fire-breathing dragons, nor are Chimeras equipped with a lion's head and wings. They are beings of a genetically modified kind. There's also a very fine line in regards to magic and machinery that involves gold. It's all very intense and for some readers, a bit off-putting to be in the middle of it all at the beginning of the book. What does one do with all this knowledge? Luckily, there wasn't too much of an info dump and readers could pick up clues as they read on.
Also this may be a me thing but worldbuilding that doesn't introduce me straight up to what exactly is what can be jarring and hard to pull through. So at times I was struggling, but everything does make sense in the end.
Also, steampunk, magic, and machinery gave me this weird visual of it taking place in a world akin to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Which was pretty cool.
I found the story to be very action-packed; never was there a dull moment, or a slow one at that. It was constantly moving and forever keeping me on my toes. However, with all the action, I found myself lacking in terms of character development. The world-building was pretty consistent with dropping hints and clues, but the characters, despite their POVs, did not connect to me as much as I liked. I knew how they felt about other characters, but their own motivations and desires remained somewhat of a mystery to me. At best, Florence had the most potential growth, as she definitely matured over the course of the novel. Arianna, for all her mystery, was still as mysterious from beginning to end.
For an ambitious novel, it pulled through in many aspects - vivid imagery and neverending action. In terms of characters, I would like to see them grow in the sequel, which I will be picking up.