Saturday, 19 November 2016

Good Characters Make For Good Reading ~ The Alchemists of Loom ARC Review

Say hello to Elise Kova's brand new fantasy steampunk series.

Yes, you're reading that correctly! Elise Kova, author of the amazing Air Awakens series, has written a new series for us to read and adore...the Loom Saga. When I discovered that I'd been approved for an ARC of the first novel, The Alchemists of Loom, you can bet that my fangirl dance mode was activated!
^^ This is a pretty accurate representation lol ^^

A big thank you to Keymaster Press and Elise Kova for my beautiful review copy (look how freaking adorable it is! That cover art is everything).

Good characters can turn a 'great' book into an unforgettable one.

There's no denying that Elise Kova writes great books - that was a fact even before I began reading The Alchemists of LoomBut as I began reading I realised that although the book's plot was wonderful (with its world building, twists and turns, and brilliant base concepts) the plot wasn't what elevated The Alchemists of Loom to the next level.

That was a job for the story's diverse cast of characters. There was an instant connection. 'Connection' is actually the perfect word to describe the way that you, the reader, find yourself invested in Elise's characters' and their gritty pasts and uncertain futures.

So prepare yourself for tonnes of fangirling, a sneak peek into the book, some Loom reading playlist suggestions, and my honest thoughts on the book...

Title: The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1)
Author: Elise Kova 
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Release date: January 10th 2017

Genre(s): Adult (YA Crossover), High-Fantasy, Steampunk

Page(s): 380 pages

SynopsisHer 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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Prepare for a winner of a steampunk storm.

The Alchemists of Loom is a mechanical masterpiece whose cogs and gears work in harmony to create breathtaking tension and unforgettable characters.

It's as brilliantly written as it is addictive. So if you're looking for a book that won't have you obsessing over it for weeks on end...then this may not be the book for you. Elise Kova's books and characters tend to make you do things like browsing madly through fanart, or conducting fire summoning rituals. You know, totally normal stuff!

The world building is A+++.

What I wouldn't give to have a tour through Elise Kova's brilliant mind! The concepts that make up the plot's structure are genius, from the lands of Loom and Nova, to the Five Guilds and their talents and contrasting differences.

Just like the Air Awakens series, The Alchemists of Loom starts off with clear tensions between certain groups of peoples. In the case of the Loom Saga, these groups are the Fenthri and the Dragons.

There isn't any need for long paragraphs of boring backstory, reoccurring flashback scenes, or conveniently placed characters who lead our protagonists through the series' lingo and lore. The information is fed to us when it's necessary, in perfect amounts that inform but don't overwhelm.

Our heroine Ari is causing me problems.

Mainly in regards to loyalty. Because...because dammit, I swore awhile back that Vhalla from Air Awakens was the most badass heroine around! And now I may very well have to break my word and admit that Ari is the 'One Heroine To Rule Them All'.

Why? Because she's multi-faceted. She's fierce. Unapologetic. Raw and real, struggling with a million burdens, and making her way through the darkness in order to survive. She's also as prickly as a hedgehog and intensely mistrustful with emotional walls many miles high.

And when she loves, she loves with everything in her. And underneath all that strength is a vulnerability that connects with you and makes you root for her to succeed even more.

Cvareh...oh Cvareh.

*sighs* Yep, I know what you're thinking. "Now Booknut is going to fangirl and flail over another beautiful Kova male character."

But you'd be wrong. I'm going to talk about why Cvareh is an incredible character in his own right and I'm going to fangirl lol.

When I met Cvareh at first, I thought he was going to be predictable. That the tension between him and Ari was there simply to be a filler until a well-placed moment allowed for romance to blossom.

Instead, he pushed back. He stood up for himself and didn't take what Ari was dishing out. The tension between them was realistic because it wasn't romantic, it was personal. It was hurtful and toxic. Both of them knew it, Cvareh most of all.

This book touched on a powerful message.

Cvareh at one point has enough of Ari's prejudice. Of her constant distrust of him and her pointed comments.

"We are people, not worlds," he says to her. "And you commit the faults you blame me for. You judge me for the actions of my entire race. You see me as a Dragon before you see me as a man. You ignore my good will and attempts at peace, only looking for banners of war between my words. And when you find none you invent them, so that I better fit your expectations."

This is such a powerful message for the time we're living in. Do we see a person when we look at someone else or do we see their gender/race/religion, etc.? Do we acknowledge the good that exists within them or do we search only for the negative? Do we try to put people into boxes and brand them instantly so that we can convince ourselves that we are right?

There are so many other quotes I could list here (including another fave of mine "Tattoos should be choices, not brands") and they all have such heart and emotion behind them. And when these characters utter such words, they become so lifelike and the connection with the reader deepens.

But I can't forget Florence and the machines!
^^ No, not this Florence (although she's also amazing!) ^^

I'm so sorry I couldn't let that pun slip by! The character of Florence was another highlight of The Alchemists of Loom, along with the vast amount of awesome weaponry and mechanical creations that appear in the novel.

Florence is the yang to Ari's yin, and they're like two sides of the same coin. Their friendship and partnership is so wonderful to read about and is definitely a testament to #girlpower! 

The Alchemists of Loom is a novel that takes steampunk and shapes it into a vehicle of literary magic, bringing the genre to new heights.

I adored this book and cannot wait to see where the Loom Saga takes us next!

During my reading of The Alchemists of Loom I listened to a selection of awesome tunes that really enhanced my reading experience. Here are a few of them for you to browse through and enjoy....and I've included a few hints along with them!

Tune #1: Heart of Courage
**Hint** Leona meets her match

Tune #2: The Arena
**Hint** "I finally know..."

Tune #3: Mechanical Heart
**Hint** A certain heroine

(There were honestly too many to choose from! I narrowed it down to 32...and after many tearful judging sessions managed to narrow those down to 1. My apologies to the quotes who were left behind I LOVE YOU ALL <3 )

'He could smell the tang of regret harrowing her behind every shadowed awning of her memories. He could hear the echoes of longing crying out through the lonely hallways of her daily consciousness. He could feel the heat from the flames that consumed her waking moments whole, a pyre in the lighthouse of her wayward morality that burned for one thing alone: vengeance.'

Interested in learning more about author Elise Kova and her books?

Connect with her and find out more via:

Although I was provided with a review copy by the author and/or publisher, all opinions expressed in the this post are purely my own. To find out more, please visit my disclaimer page.

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