A Conspiracy of Alchemists (Chronicles of Light and Shadow) Mass Market Paperback – 30 Jul 2013
|New from||Used from|
|Mass Market Paperback, 30 Jul 2013||
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Oh my Steampunk God! . . . If you like steampunk you definitely have to give this jewel a try. It would be a sin not to, really."--Butterfly-o-Meter Books
"A wonderful sense of fun on every page . . . Visit [your] nearest bibliographic emporium and seek this rather magnificent tome out."--The Eloquent Page
"I truly enjoyed this novel and strongly suggest it to Steampunk fans. I'm convinced "A Conspiracy of Alch"emists will rock your world!"--Tynga's Reviews
"Pure fun to read."--Karissa's Reading Review
A thrilling, genre-breaking alternate reality Steampunk adventure. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
The Alchemists will stop at nothing to acquire the coveted carmot stone and its key, and Elle must do everything in her power to thwart their diabolical plans.
Embarking on a perilous cross-continental adventure with the mysterious Mr Marsh, Elle is forced to question everything she ever knew about herself to fulfil her destiny and prevent a magical apocalypse...
The first thought that struck me when I finished reading A Conspiracy of Alchemists is that there is a wonderful sense of fun on every page. Liesel Schwarz is certainly skilled when it comes to putting the reader right in the midst of the frenetic, fast placed world she has created. Though things rattle along at breakneck speed, the good news is that for the most part, the character development doesn't suffer because of this (more on that a bit later).
There are reverential nods to many classic adventure stories and I've been trying to figure out the best way to describe this succinctly. The best comparison I can come up with is - imagine a mash up of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with Moonlighting, and just a dash Bulldog Drummond wrapped up in a crispy steampunk-flavoured shell.
The heart of this novel is the relationship between Elle Chance and the enigmatic, and unexpected, new man in her life Mr Hugh Marsh. Schwarz is obviously having a ball when she wrote their interactions, Chance and Marsh do have some marvellous verbal sparring. The constant back and forth between the two is what made the characters for me. Even the descriptions of the pair are wonderfully evocative.Read more ›
I absolutely adore the steampunk aesthetic, and so when I saw the synopsis of this book, I thought it would be right up my street. And indeed, A Conspiracy of Alchemists gets off to a promising start, bringing us airships, vampires, literal absinthe fairies and magic and technology in equal measure.
Unfortunately, despite this early promise, the book really fails to deliver. This is the author's debut novel, and it definitely has that "first book" feel to it - instead of flowing naturally, the narrative has the feel of someone trying to adjust their style based on advice from a how to write guide, inserting excessive description for the sake of it, or inserting obvious plot devices. Certainly, by about halfway through, reading the book was beginning to feel like hard work.
It's not just a case of unpolished writing, however; the book also fails to live up to its potential when it comes to the plot. Instead of creating a complex and layered world, what we end up with are two fairly bland main characters - Elle, who proves to be far more useless and irritating than she first appeared, and Marsh, the obligatory handsome male lead. Whilst the Alchemists sit back in their chairs and scheme like useless parody villains, the story becomes more about the rather shallow romance between the two main characters than anything else.
Ultimately, A Conspiracy of Alchemists looked promising, but turned out to be a huge disappointment. Admittedly, the plot of the upcoming sequel does sound intriguing, but for me it may well be a case of once bitten, twice shy.
I should start by saying this is my first `steampunk' novel, so in that sense I can't compare it to anything, but I used to read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, so I can see many similarities.
In fact from other reviews I've read on steampunk / sci-fi websites, this book is something of a hybrid, and certainly I would describe it as something of a cross between Jules Verne, Harry Potter and Indiana Jones, with a bit of Twilight thrown in for good measure.
Not that I'm saying this book is written by a modern-day Jules Verne, but Schwartz does, to start with the positives, have a fairly good style which keeps up a good pace and weaves descriptive sights sounds and smells into the prose in a way that really helps to set the scene. She also throws in some interesting steampunk technology which gives the book a bit more interest.
On the downside the dialogue is a bit clichéd and the plot very much remains me of the adventure-film genre of aforementioned Indiana Jones, complete with a series of exotic camera-friendly locations. In fact the whole book reads like one of those novelised write-ups of a movie script, which makes me wonder if Ms Schwartz hasn't got one eye on a Hollywood deal for what apparently is a trilogy.
Another major disappointment is the heroine Elle who, although ostensibly a modern woman capable of standing up for herself, actually achieves very little on her own and needs almost constant assistance from the mysterious `Mr Marsh'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I posted this review on www.geekdad.com on 8/5/2015. It's a review of the entire 'Chronicles of Light and Shadow' series. I received review copies of each of the three books. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Quicksilver
excellent book, give it a try, good story and great heroine.Published 17 months ago by simon spearing
It’s 1903. Elle Chance owns an airship called The Water Lily, piloting charters and errands for various clients. Read morePublished 18 months ago by I Read, Therefore I Blog
If you have never heard of steam punk, this is your perfect introduction. Liesel Schwarz is the mistress of the genre and uses the power of steam and big flying machines to propel... Read morePublished on 22 May 2014 by Soricco
There are much better steampunk titles out there. I was surprised to hear that the author is a Phd literature since the novel is lacking in areas of pacing, plot and... Read morePublished on 10 Nov. 2013 by Mark Lamb
This was my first ever steampunk book and I didn't know what to expect, but I loved it. It was very exciting and very well written. Read morePublished on 21 Oct. 2013 by S. Callejo Paterson
What a thoroughly pleasant ant tantalising story so well told with plot and characters unfolding as you work your way through the novel. Read morePublished on 28 Aug. 2013 by CharlesA
I really, really wanted to read this book. I was ecstatic when I won a copy and after a couple days just admiring the beautiful cover I settled down to reading. Read morePublished on 5 Aug. 2013 by R Mahala Burlingame, the Fabulous Fer-de-Lance
It was all very confusing. Eleanor's head swam as Lord Greychester, the man she had known as Marsh but she now preferred to call Hugh, explained how the Warlocks and the... Read morePublished on 4 Jun. 2013 by Patrick Neylan