Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #1) by Liesel Schwarz Review:

Goodreads Book Blurb:
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.

Genre - Fantasy Steampunk, Paranormal Romance

RELEASE DATE - March 5, 2013

4.5 Big Magical Stars!
This book Completely Blew Me Away! Fun, exciting and different – A Must Read!

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review by Random House Publishing Group through NetGalley.

The Review:
This read was fantastic! I had so much fun reading it and was amazed at the mixture of whimsy, science fiction and paranormal which intermingled flawlessly to create a fantastical world full of extraordinary characters, heroic escapades and anachronism imagery which captivated and kept me glued to the pages until the very end.

A Conspiracy of Alchemists, is set to an alternate history in 1903, where the world is on the cusp of scientific ingenuity and steam propelled machinery competing with old world magic. There are two reigning factions. Light - who are non-magic using humans, and Shadow - who consist of all magical beings, including Warlocks, Cybil’s, Nightwalkers, Fairies, Alchemists and such. The world of magic is slowly disappearing as humans put aside enchantment and turn toward science. Years have passed without a proper Oracle who preserves the balance between Light and Shadow, allowing the magic to slowly slip away.

Eleanor Chance loves to fly. In a time when women have very little political influence and are destined to settle down and make house, she’s loves to wear pants and fly dirigibles. Elle is a unique female and a wonderful lead character. She’s tough, she’s resilient and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her. Unbeknownst to her, she has a predetermined destiny that’s a hand-me-down from her mother’s blood line. Pythia is in her blood and two warring sides of Shadow, the Alchemists and the Warlocks, are after her to use her gift for their own political and power-draining purposes. After the Alchemists kidnap Professor Chance, the world’s leading inventor and Elle’s ingenious father, Elle set out on a course of self discovery, romance and adventure.

Marsh is an affluent Warlock with a long history. His ties to the magical community and his knowledge of its history make him the perfect companion on their journey. As Marsh heads out on a quest to recover an ancient artifact, he decides the beautiful Elle is in need of his services a protector and guide. Traveling by the newly invented gyrocopter, they embark on an exploration that will change both their lives forever and face dangers neither ever expected.

Marsh’s character is valiant, strong and selfless. He’s had years to suffer loss and tragedy which he’s built resilient walls against but it was fascinating watching Elle and Marsh become friends and conquer this venture together.

The Wrap Up:
This was my first foray into a Paranormal Steampunk and I had a blast while reading it. The writing was astounding, the world and character building was phenomenal and the factual history mixed with fantasy was both educational and entertaining. Liesel Schwarz conjures a myriad of impressive visuals and expert writing to weave a tale of adventure, romance and conspiracy in this incredible debut book. Leaving off with a small cliffy, I can’t wait for A Clockwork Heart, the second book in The Chronicles of Light and Shadow, so I can see the continuation of these amazing characters and their next spectacular journey.

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