Release Date: 03/05/13
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.
My thoughts on the book:
A Conspiracy of Alchemists is an intriguing tale of love and adventure set in a steam punk universe. Fans of the genre are sure to eat this one up. While the novel has some glaring issues, such as pacing, character development, and world-building, I was still able to enjoy the story and will be reading the sequel, if one is in the making.
Elle is supposed to be this kick-ass heroine. I can tell by the way she's set up. However, she came across more as a temperamental and immature simpering miss. She just isn't strong enough for me to buy into the whole kick-ass image the author was trying to portray. Having a fiery temper and being strong are two completely different things. Sometimes emotional control requires more strength than mouthing off. At the end of the day, Elle is unable to take care of herself, just like all the other weak heroines in the YA genre.
Mr. Marsh is your typical arrogant rich guy. He also sucks at communication. Seriously, he was the source of most of the world-building, and I still have no idea how anything in the world works. Also, I have no idea what he looks like. None. Some people like that, but I was distracted the entire book trying to figure out what kind of face I wanted him to have. His back story also isn't entirely clear, and I really didn't feel like I got to know him well enough.
The secondary characters are mostly filler, and I didn't feel a connection with any of them. The most interesting character is the professor, but he, too is a cliche. I just wasn't impressed with the characterization of this novel. The bad guys were so generic, I expected them to actually go, "Muah hah hah hah."
The relationship between Elle and Mr. Marsh is a little insta-lovey. Also, their dialogue is, more often than not, stilted and awkward. There were some awesome lines between them, though, such as when Elle told Marsh that she would rather eat her own foot than marry a man like him, in which he replied that he should propose right then just to see her try. Regardless, I don't know how they could possibly have fallen in love in case there was something I didn't see that happened, like some touching verbal exchange or something. Considering every mundane detail is explained for the first 70% of the book, I doubt I missed anything. The pacing is incredibly slow to start. When the plot picks up, nothing is explained still. I'm a bit frustrated that I don't know how Elle's power works. I'm also irritated at the lame explanations given for the alchemists and warlocks. The last 30% of the book happens in a rush and nothing seems fully developed. Also, the backstabber didn't come as a shock to me. Everything was pretty predictable.
I know that it sounds like I didn't like this book at all, but I did. I enjoyed the idea and I look forward to seeing what happens next. I just hope that some of these issues are fixed in the next installment. This has the potential to be a good series.
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