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