Saturday, March 16, 2013

Book Review: A Conspiracy of Alchemists

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1)Author: Liesel Schwarz
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Del Rey
Series: Chronicle of Light and Shadow # 1

In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun.

When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr. Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.

“It was odd that even in this day and age there were still places in this world where Reason and Enlightenment had not reached.” – Finished Copy pg. 8

“Paris was readying herself for the night.” – Finished Copy pg. 27

“She watched him walk away with the strange sense that there was something more to that invitation. As if she needed his approval.” – Finished Copy pg. 72

“No flight was complete without a cup of tea.” – Finished Copy pg. 119

“‘Sky pirates!’ She banked the ‘copter to the left. Another bolt of spark sailed past them and struck the ground with a crack. ‘And they have spark cannons!’” – Finished Copy pg. 123

“‘You have to remember that the Council does not care about science and progress. It is the very work that your father does that causes the Shadow to shrink and diminish. For each new miraculous modern invention that sees the light of day, a creature of magic in the Shadow loses its place in this world and disappears. At the rate we are going, the world will swing into an irreparable state of unbalance sooner than we think. In fact, come to think of it, the Council may even see the loss of a scientist as advantageous.’” – Finished Copy pg. 151

I am sold completely on Steampunk! Not to mention the fact that this is a debut novel and a brand new series. This book meshes Steampunk, fantasy, action, adventure, and a really awesome heroine together. Eleanor Chance, or Elle as she likes to be called, is not your average Victorian, high society gal. She is so vivacious and full of life and doesn’t have time to be bothered with the simple tasks of every day women. No, this girl kicks butt. She is an airship pilot, and as good as any man, if I may say so myself. Elle’s father, an inventor, may be the reason she despises being treated like a fragile, English lady. Since Elle’s mother’s death, her father has supported every area of her life, and she has grown into an independent woman because of it.

Elle’s docking agent and friend, Patrice, contacts her regarding a new cargo job and wants to employ her services immediately. Her payment is a beautiful diamond bracelet, and although she isn’t your typical lady of the times, she still likes expensive jewelry. She embarks on a new journey, trusting her friend’s orders, and hoping for the best. Elle’s choice turns out to bring her an adventure far greater than she ever imagined. Elle ends up with a stowaway, that Patrice surprisingly forgot to mention, Mr. Marsh. By the time we begin our journey Elle learns that her father has been kidnapped and her airship is being attacked by Sky Pirates. Her life is in danger, and there is only one way out. Up.

One of the reasons that I loved this book so much was because of the journey it takes readers on. We see the Orient Express, Europe, and even the Ottoman Empire. The small details in this book are incredible as well. I cannot tell you how the small detail of having a cup of tea impacted this book. These characters are indebted to their tea, and life isn’t worth living without it. This world was so believable and the character’s actions were so unpredictable. The Alchemists and the Warlocks are described with incredible depth and I guess it is no secret that I love this book and cannot wait for the next one to be released this summer.

Eleanor Chance was the best part for me. If you are an avid reader of my blog, you know that I love nothing better than a stand up heroine who can speak and fight for herself. I loved the character building that happened as the plot thickened and I loved feeling closer and closer to Elle as the story went on. Elle is eccentric and someone that I wish were real! If I recommend this book to you only for Elle and all the tea drinking, then it will be worth it! Pick up your copy today!

***A big thank you to the publishers at Del Rey for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***



  1. I have this out from the library so I am so glad you reviewed (and loved) this-I was debating on whether to read it or not. I love great MCs, and Elle definitely sounds like one from what you described! Thanks for sparking my interest in this one all over again!

  2. I really enjoy steampunk, it's such an interesting genre, and this book sounds like so much fun! I love to hear that the MC is such a great character, I'm definitely with you on liking books that have a female MC that can stand up for herself. Great review, I will definitely be checking this book out!