ARC provided by Keymaster Press in exchange for an honest review.
1.) The Alchemists of Loom ★★★★
“She was Arianna the Rivet. She was the White Wraith. And she would not scream.”
I devoured this book in one day and one night. It was so whimsical and fantastic, but kept true to its steampunk roots. This book even surpasses The Alchemists of Loom tremendously, and you guys know I loved that. Like, this series is so under-hyped, but is so outstanding. It’s unique, so very creative, beautifully written, completely captivating, and so very addicting.
If you guys are looking for a different kind of fantasy that sits right between YA and NA, please give this a shot. It for sure is mature YA, because this book does have sexy time, but it’s not explicit or anything like that, but it is important to mention if that’s something you’re not comfortable with. But also don’t go into this expecting A Court of Mist and Fury‘s sex scenes, but go into this knowing that it is an older YA book with mature themes that are amazingly written.
“But desire and love and forever were all separate mistresses.”
Book one, The Alchemists of Loom, mostly centers on the world of Loom and seeing how the people are pretty much slaves to the Dragons on Nova. Well, in this book we spend most of our time on Nova and we are able to see how many of the Dragons are not happy with the current ruler. It truly is desperate times for one Dragon house, and our main character, Ari, from Loom might be the only answer to save them.
So, this is book two in a series, but I will do my best to give a little summary, and a big breakdown, that doesn’t give away too much, but still gives you a feel for this amazing world. This world that Elise Kova has built is so very intricate, detailed, and has some of the best world-building I’ve ever read in my life. Honestly, she amazes me and I’m not sure how she has done it, but at this point I’d read anything and everything by her.
There are Two Worlds, Separated by Clouds:
➽ Loom – The main setting of The Alchemists of Loom, and is home to Fenthri and Chimeras and their five guilds.
➽ Nova: The main setting of this book (we do get one amazing perspective on Loom in this book) and the Dragon homeland that is inhabited by three Dragon Houses.
There are Three Main Characters:
➽ Florence – Young Fenthri, whose story-line showcases what’s going on in the heart of the guilds.
➽ Arianna/Ari – The main character, who is made up of nothing short of magic. She’s strong, she’s feared, she’s opening bi-sexual on the page, and she’s amazing.
➽ Cvareh – A Dragon in House Xin, who is trying to change the Dragon’s hierarchy, while also owing Ari a boon of her choosing!
There are Three Races:
➽ Fenthri – Grey, black, white, the weakest of the three races, and have tattoos on their face depicting what guild they belong to.
➽ Dragon – A vast array of colors, very primal, can regrow most things from their bodies, have magical abilities, enslaved Loom and sees Fenthri as servants.
➽ Chimera – Fenthri with Dragon blood and/or organs. They are made by Alchemists, and are very strong.
The Three Dragon Houses:
➽ Rok – Red Dragons! Strongest house, and the Dragon King’s House.
➽ Tam – Green Dragons! Second strongest house, and very aligned with House Rok.
➽ Xin – Blue Dragons! Weakest house.
The Five Guilds of Loom:
➽ Alchemists – Developed Chimeras, and the only guild to not be under the Dragon King’s thumb.
➽ Rivets – Specializes in refining processes in steel mines and applications for gold.
➽ Revolvers – Explores all the uses for guns and explosives!
➽ Harvesters – Supplies all the bare materials to all the other guilds.
➽ Ravens – Moves people and goods all around Loom.
The Fenthri population is completely controlled on Loom, and these five guilds are something that is forced onto you at birth, without choice. It doesn’t matter that you’d be better fit as an Alchemist, if you are chosen to be a Raven. You are given two tests, which you must pass or you will die, then you are branded with a face tattoo according with the guild are you in, and then you will work in alignment with the rest of the guilds granting the Dragons of Nova’s demands.
This sparks an amazing discussion about who we are forced to be and who we truly are when we are able to accept ourselves for who we are. Florence, a Fenthri who is Ari’s assistant, and who has completely won over my heart, has struggled with this her entire life. Her points of view were so amazing and so heartwarming and watching her grow and accept is one of the most beautiful storylines I’ve ever been blessed enough to read.
“Her value extended far beyond the marking on her cheek.”
There is also another very important discussion on how we see certain races as superior and how we build stereotypes and prejudices off of it. Not to get too political here, but this is a pretty close to home parallel for me, and I’d support any book that makes people think twice about judging others off their skin color or other physical characteristics that are unlike their own.
discussion statement that I love that this series makes is how women are the strongest force on any planet. This book has some strong female characters that are constantly represented amazingly. Ari is a wrecking force that I would never want to mess with. She continually shows how strong she is, while never having to prove her worth to anyone. Someone like Ari is so important for young girls to be reading about. She knows her limits, and will tell others when she is within them, she never backs down, while still acknowledging her mistakes, she loves and fights selflessly, and does all of this while not being that perfect cookie-cutter YA heroine.
“She bent before no man, woman, king, or queen—and most certainly no Dragon.”
This book has everything: political intrigue, romance, death duels, betrayals, gunslinging, technology, magic, and freakin’ dragons! Like I said, it is for sure mature YA, with darker themes and some sexual content, but I feel like this is truly a unique gift to the YA genre.
Book three, The Rebels of Gold, comes out in December of this year and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.
📚🐉✨ If you pre-order The Dragons of Nova before the release (July 10th, 2017), you can and get a bunch of cool swag AND help unlock more tiers to get even more swag! The information on submitting your receipt can be found HERE!
“For Loom, there is nothing she wouldn’t do.”
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.