Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Conspiracy of Alchemists, by Liesel Schwarz

Elle Chance is a strong woman, in a time when women are rarely seen as strong.  A female air captain in the Golden Age of steam powered cars and machinery, Elle has no concept of her own power within a world divided into Light and Shadow.  She becomes entangled in a dangerous caper thanks to some mysterious cargo she was hired to transport, and it turns out she plays a much bigger role in the world than she ever imagined.

I quite enjoyed the premise of this book.  It was sort of a steampunk paranormal romance mashup.  But not your typical steampunk, and not your typical paranormal.  The steampunk aspects were pretty subtle, as far as steampunk goes, and sprinkled throughout the book.  And the paranormal aspects, while much more prevalent, were different than any I have encountered in other books.  The world is divided into Light and Shadow, and the Shadow side is rife with warlocks, vampires, and fairies.  Yet, as with all things, some Shadow dwellers are good, and some are evil.  It was interesting to see this dichotomy within a dichotomy.  I felt like the story world was complex, and richly developed.

I liked Elle as a character, but never felt as if I got to know her as well as I would have liked.  I appreciated that she was a strong female protagonist, and while her story had an aspect of romance, it was not the weak willed do-anything-for-a-man type of romance that is so prevalent in paranormal romances.  Elle has real power and strength.  I also liked the voice of the fairy, which we see sprinkled throughout the book.  It took me a bit to realize it was the fairy's point of view in these passages, but once I did, I really felt it added a unique, whimsical air to the book.

All in all, I found the book interesting and engaging.  The story has a lot of fast moving action, so it held my attention well.  It will appeal to fans of steampunk, paranormal, and romance genres, as it sits in a sweet spot where all three meet.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

 



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