by Elise Kova
Series: Loom Saga #1
Published on January 10, 2017 by Keymaster Press
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk
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.
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Much like The Alchemists of Loom throws you into the thick of things early on, I have every intention of diving right into this review. There was a LOT going on in this book and the intricate layers to dissect made it all the sweeter a read. Prior to starting this book, I binge-read Elise Kova’s Air Awakens series and fell in love. I knew TAoL was sure to be another success and I wasn’t wrong.
The book begins with Ari, a thief off on a job that no one should be able to do but she can with ease. It brings her into contact with Cvareh, a Dragon and an enemy for being so. But they strike a deal and it starts a chain of events that will have you flying through this book.
To be honest, the beginning was a bit confusing. This book is more akin to the epic fantasies like the later Throne of Glass and Falling Kingdoms books, just without the build of a few books beforehand. You’re thrown right in and making sense of some of the world was somewhat off-putting so early on, but it quickly sped up.
This book has a huge story focus which I loved as I haven’t read one like that in a while, but I don’t think the characters suffered for it, as can be the case sometimes. I loved Ari. When I first met her in the story she reminded me of Inej from Six of Crows (well, more like Inej’s loud, sassy cousin). She can be short and snippy, and her distrust of Cvareh became repetitive at times, but she was also true to her companions.
I also loved her friend and “student,” if you will, Florence. She’s not the primary focus in the story but they have a strong bond that I wanted more of. She’s the balance between Ari and Cvareh who have this “enemies to friends to maybe something more” thing going on.
Cvareh is, not softer exactly, but more accepting and willing to trust than Ari. From the start, while his distaste for the situation is clear, he doesn’t let it stand in his way to the point that he’s spiting himself because of pride. I found him more relatable to read but I still think Ari is my favorite.
One other character gets a few chapters, working against the other three from the Dragon King’s side. Leona definitely had her goals lined up and wasn’t going to let anything stop her I loved that about her.
Now I mentioned the story playing a big role and it does. If you’re familiar with Kova’s other work you will likely find this book a bit shocking in comparison. I read them all back-to-back and the differences were huge. The Alchemists of Loom is unlike a world I’ve ever read about. From the places to the people, each bit of this world requires full imagination. Which, I think, made it harder to immediately fall into it because it’s not as familiar. You’re learning the lay of the land from snippets here and there. It made slow-going for understanding the world more fully but the more I read, the more everything cleared up and started clicking. Loom reminded me a bit of the world in Howl’s Moving Castle, with the combination of technology and magic intermingling.
I don’t really know what I expected coming into this book but it certainly wasn’t what I read and I couldn’t be happier about it. Kova has unleashed yet another amazing title into the world and I can’t wait to see where she takes this series in The Dragons of Nova.
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1 signed finished copy of THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM (INTL)
3 THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM Swag Packs (INTL)