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What: The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

Who: Keymaster Press

When: January 10th 2017

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Keymaster Press for review via Net Galley.

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.

I mainly wanted to read The Alchemists of Loom because I have heard A LOT of amazing things about the author’s Air Awakens series. I also thought that it looked really cool (the cover is so lovely!). All in all, I had four main thoughts on The Alchemists of Loom:

1) This is not about actual dragons.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I read the blurb for The Alchemists of Loom but I thought that there were going to be actual dragons in this book. And there wasn’t. So if you’re super excited about a book about dragons I suggest you look elsewhere.

One of the fantasy beings in The Alchemists of Loom are called Dragons, and I suppose they have dragon-like qualities but they are largely anthropomorphic, as are the other beings (Creatures? Races? I don’t know) – Chimera and Fenthri. Chimera are Fenthri who have killed Dragons and made themselves into hybrids. And Fenthri seem to be pretty much human to be honest.

2) ARI IS BISEXUAL.

So the word isn’t used on page (which sucks a bit) but Ari’s previous lover was a woman, and she has current romantic (possibly sexual) feelings for a guy. It was such an amazing thing to stumble upon because when does fantasy ever have queer protagonists? Answer: hardly ever.

P l e a s e don’t erase her identity because so far I have only seen a handful of people actually mention the fact that Ari is bi, and not mentioning it is erasure. :)

(Ari could also be pan, of course.)

3) It does drag a little.

There are a lot of dramatic fighting scenes, which, to be honest, fell very flat for me. I was pretty bored every time there was a fighting scene, or an ‘Ari doing her magic wielding thing’ scene. They just didn’t have enough to them for me to enjoy reading so many. I will say that there was a lot thought and effort put into them, though. Every detail was very vivid – the scenes themselves just didn’t do it for me.

Aside from that The Alchemists of Loom has four points of view, and for me it was a little too much. I don’t mind multiple POVs when each character’s view gives me something different. But when three out of the four characters are with each other for almost the entire book I was left wondering why the POVs were swapping so much, especially when I felt like they didn’t add anything that the other characters couldn’t have.

Sometimes the POV would change at a really weird time and then scenes which would have been interesting were absent e.g. Ari gets separated from the group at one point and the POVs show her finding them gone and them finding their way out of these underground tunnels. How Ari got out, and why the group had to leave their hiding place to begin with weren’t included which I thought was really weird. It almost felt like the book could have done without this entire section because it wasn’t explored or explained enough.

4) I’ll likely read the next book.

I want more from the characters because I feel like The Alchemists of Loom only just scratched the surface of who they really are. Whilst the whole “evil overlord needs to be taken down” storyline isn’t one of my favourites I’m hoping that there is a more political side to it in the sequel (I LOVE political things in books).

Also, it would be amazing if Ari’s past relationship with her female lover was further explored because she was only mentioned in passing. I want to see how her relationship with Cvareh develops, too.

~

Overall I quite enjoyed The Alchemists of Loom. It wasn’t the most heart pounding fantasy I’ve read but it was interesting and has intrigued me enough to want to keep reading.

© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: cannibalism, multiple murders (including killing a sibling), physical assault, organ trafficking, use of ableist language, and racist elements (presented between fantasy creatures) in this novel

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Posted on: February 17, 2017 • By: Chiara

12 Responses to Review: The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

  1. Haha yeah the lack of the dragons we usually think of was a bit of a surprise, but I am super intrigued by these dragons, particularly how their magic works.

    I definitely reckon Ari’s past with her lover is going to be explored in the sequels because not only is it a massive part of the character Ari has become now, but I get the vibes that whoever the lover was exactly will be important to the plot and the original rebellion. Hopefully it moves nice and quickly for us!

    • Chiara says:

      I was so sad! But these Dragons ended up being pretty interesting, you’re right.

      Right? I am hopeful that her past will be explored a lot more in the sequels because I think it will be key to understanding her more!

  2. Hmm this sounds very interesting. I hadn’t heard of the book before today, but now I am intrigued. Might wait to book 2 before I pick it up.

    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad you’re intrigued, Angel! And I feel you. I often wait for book two before starting a series because the wait is so painful :(

  3. I’ve never read the author but I’ve also seen really positive things about her novels. I’m glad you mostly enjoy this one – though it dragged a bit. I’m not usually all that interested in fantasy novels, so I don’t know if I’ll read it or not. I’m really glad that Ari is bisexual though and I HOPE that’s explored more in the second book.

    -Lauren

    • Chiara says:

      I really love fantasy novels but I end up reading more contemporary because that’s where diversity seems to be at the moment. So it was so exciting to learn that Ari is bi! And yes, I really do hope that it is explored more in the second book – flashbacks would be awesome :D

  4. I have heard so many great things about both this book and the Air Awakens series, but haven’t gotten to read either yet.

    I loved reading that the main character in the book is bisexual, though – I felt all kinds of happy about the main character in Sarah Fine’s The Impostor Queen, because she was also bi, even though it was never actually said. It’s so nice to see fantasy novels that don’t just have a female main character falling head over heels in insta-love for a male character every single time!

    This book sounds so good, and I loved your fabulous review!

    • Chiara says:

      I hope you enjoy this one if you do get around to reading it, Kelly!

      I haven’t heard that about The Impostor Queen! Now I want to read it a lot more. This book does have a male love interest, but I am happy with the bi rep regardless. The lack of instalove was really nice, as well!

      Thank you so much!

  5. Sorry to hear this dragged a little! I dislike it when books do that but it’s good to hear you are interested in reading the next book! Not sure when i’ll get around to reading this book but hopefully soon!

    • Chiara says:

      Yeah, it was hard to push through sometimes but there were other aspects I enjoyed so it was worth it! I hope you like it when you do, Anisha :)

  6. Valerie says:

    Ok so when I get to this, I’ll have to keep in mind that Ari is bi/pan. Because that is amazing!

    I have this for review, and I have read both Air Awakens and Fire Falling (the sequel), but then kind of stopped there. I think for me, there was something missing in both of those books. I’ve been hesitating on picking up Alchemists of Loom because of reason #3, though maybe I should just give it a shot anyways. Hmmm.

    Awesome review Chiara! Sorry about there not being any dragons though! Have there been any new releases that feature dragons anyways?

    • Chiara says:

      Yes! I think she mentions her female lover from her past early on but I wish I would have known from the beginning!

      Oh, no. I think you have to be aware that this is definitely not a fast paced book, and that hardly anything is actually achieved throughout. You get to know the bare bones of a story so this is definitely a case of a filler first book.

      Thank you! I have not heard of any new released with real dragons in them :(

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