‘A Conspiracy of Alchemists’ by Leisel Schwartz



A Conspiracy of  Alchemists15849472

by Liesel Schwartz

Del Ray

352 pages

Pub. Date:   March 5, 2013

Book received from:  Purchased


Genre:  Steampunk/Fantasy- Adult

Series:  The Chronicles of Light and Shadow  #1

Cover:  Love it!  It is actually what caught my attention first, and really tells quite a lot about the story.

Characters:  Quirky, bickery, and complicated.  The leading lady was dynamite.

Tagline:  Leave it to Chance

Quote:  “And while we’re on the subject, where is my shadow?  It disappeared yesterday and I haven’t managed to find it.” ~Elle

Rating:  4  out of 5 stars

Worth the read?  Oh yes.  A solid addition to the world of steampunk.

From the Cover:  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.

The Short & Sweet of It:  After seeing the cover, I knew I had to read this one right away.  Once I began reading Elle’s story, I really had a hard time putting this one down (just ask my guy- I had to have it pried from my hands so I didn’t drop it in the chicken I was cooking.)  At first, the writing is a bit dry and I found myself asking tons of questions about where it was all leading.  About 50 pages in, this all changed.  Secrets began to be uncovered and the darkness of the story revealed bit by bit.

Schwartz really has a way of stringing the reader along juuuust the right amount.  I know there is still more to the story that has yet to be revealed in further books, and it is really nagging at me to find out now- just as the mysteries of this book drove me crazy to discover them.  I was frustrated, nervous, overjoyed, and left mouth hanging open throughout the story.  And I loved it!

A steampunk world filled with darkness and light and allies across the boundaries.  Throw in a quirky absinthe fairy and a brooding, mouthy Warlock and I was convinced.  I am not much of one for romances, so I really liked that it did not overwhelm the story, but rather added to the layers of the characters.  Their constant banter kept me chuckling throughout.  The steampunk elements were spot on and the history was surprisingly accurate (excluding the parts which the author confesses to changing in the author notes- read those, they’re important.)  The only thing that lacked at all for me was the writing being, as I said, a bit dry at times.  I don’t mean boring or overly descriptive.  Just that the author had not fully developed a personal voice yet, but I think we will see a lot of growth in the two remaining books to this trilogy.  And I, for one, am going to keep reading this dynamic series.  I just have to know where Elle, the feisty, strong-willed, independent, and oh-so-important-to-the-world leading lady is headed.  Oh, and she’s a redhead, so…yeah…there’s that.


For more info & to purchase:

Author Site

Barnes & Noble




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