The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
Series: Loom Saga #1
On Sale Date: January 10th 2017
Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Keymaster Press, 380 pages
My Rating: 4 Stars
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
The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova combines intricate and exciting world-building with characters unlike any you’ve read recently. Steampunk gadgets, magic, and mythic creatures roam the pages of this book while a high fantasy novel is laying down its roots for the start of an amazing new series.
So, I admit, I fell in love with this cover immediately. But, Ms. Kova has been on my TBR list for a long time and I jumped at the chance to read her newest sci-fi/fantasy featuring a Chimera and Dragon as lead protagonists.
This world created for the Loom Series is surprisingly intricate and layered. There are three races that appear in the story (the Chimera, Dragon, and the Frenthri) each being unique in abilities and appearances, giving the story such a great and diversified vibe.
Separated by clouds and power is the realms of the Loom and Nova. The Loom houses five guilds (including the Harvest, Alchemi, Revits, Ravens, and the Revolve Guild Brands) that build and tinker with awesome steampunk gadgets and magic while the Nova is home to the three Dragon Houses (Rok, Tam, and Xin.) I don’t want to give you too much detail, as discovering everything is half the fun. There’s an appendix at the end of the book that makes for a great reference until you get familiar with the world.
Each character is fleshed out and compelling. Kova carefully reveals their innermost fears and desire, while keeping some great twists and reveal until the end. Though told mostly from Ari and Cvareh’s perspectives readers also are treated to a few important secondary characters that help round out the story.
Arianna (Ari) is the main character and is known also as the White Wraith. She is kick butt. A dagger-wielding, she leaps across the boundaries of Loom, vaulting into the night with only a golden cable as gears click in time to her falling. Bestill my heart, readers, she reminded me of Laura Croft (only she’s a Chimera bent on revenge) for a moment. Determined and driven, she has a plan and let no one stand in her way. A rogue, she uses her clockwork abilities and magic against Loom’s Dragon oppressors.
Cvareh is from the Dragon realm. Colorful and intense he is in appearances and manners all things opposite of Ari. He wants to help his sister usurp the current Dragon King and needs the Alchemist of Loom’s help in order to destroy his power. From the moment he appeared on the pages, I was hooked by his character. He’s fierce yet not afraid to let Ari lead in all her badness.
The relationship between Ari and Cvarech is very slow building. From basic enemies to something more. There are intense moments between these two and the dynamics are some of my favorite moments in the book. Verbal sparring is sprinkled throughout.
With all of these fantastic factors, I do want to mention that - though I really enjoyed The Alchemists of Loom, I struggled with the pace at times which is not normally a problem for me. I wanted more interaction between Ari and Cvarech and there was pages of what I call ‘travel’ that slowed it all down for me. I set the book down but always came back eager to know what happened next. There is some really wonderful groundwork being laid for this series and I would just advise going into it with some patience.
The Alchemists of Loom is a great start to a new fantasy series. I’m excited to see where the next book goes and can’t wait for more of this exciting world and its characters. Recommended to readers who like intricate world building, weapon-wielding heroines, dangerous action scenes, and dragons that you might be tempted to kiss.