Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1)

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Scwarz

First in The Chronicle of Light and Shadow series

3 stars

Eleanor “Elle” Chance is a pilot and she finds herself in a world she never thought to be. The year is 1903 and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light, science is embraced and used to transform everyday life by harnessing magical energies to develop new technology. With each advance of science, the shadow- realm of the supernatural- loses a part of itself. The alchemists have a plan to gain back their right to magic and it involves a sacrifice a young woman with special powers that harness the magic of the Shadow. Elle is the daughter of a scientific genius and she is determined to get the job her friend, Patrice has assigned her. With the help, much to Elle’s dismay, of a Warlock named Hugh Marsh. Elle’s dragged into the world of the battle for the Shadow between Warlocks and Alchemists. A Conspiracy of Alchemists is far from perfect. It’s not an amazing debut, but I consider it to be a pretty solid one. This story has elements that will appeal to all audiences. There’s steampunk, romance, paranormal, fantasy, history, and action. This book dragged a lot for me in the beginning and even in the middle. It didn’t pick for me until 60%. That’s why I’m giving it three stars. It’s worthy of four stars or even three and half stars, but it dragged far too much for me to give it a higher rating. When there wasn’t an interesting action scene going on there was a lot bantering between Marsh and Elle or talk of science and technology. I’m terrible at science so this is a pain for me and I had to reread a lot of those parts to understand what they were talking about. The banter between Marsh and Elle was actually hard for me to like, but they both started to grow on me. I found myself enjoying their arguments even if they were stupid.

The main female character is Elle. Elle isn’t a bad heroine. She has a backbone and I actually really liked her. I didn’t like her all the time, but she was a character that had substance. She wasn’t just there. I liked her love for flying and science. Elle is very unconventional for a woman of her time and I love that in a historical. Elle has determination and it’s a very admirable trait. Although sometimes it made her incredibly stupid because of her stubbornness, but that’s not a bad thing. I like when characters are stubborn, it shows personality. Elle also has a power that not very heroines have in YA and I actually really liked the concept behind it. I want to talk more about it, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 8.5

The main male character is Marsh. I like Marsh. I don’t love him like Damen or Dimitri, but Marsh isn’t half bad. The more we learned about Marsh, the more I liked him. By the end of the book I can happily say that I was routing for Marsh and Elle.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 7.5

The Villain- We knew who the villain was early on because we got his POV, but there was a huge twist I did not even see coming. The signs were probably there, but I didn’t think anything of it.

Villain Scale: 8

Patrice was a part of the book for a really long time. There was also a brief meeting with a Nightwalker (vampire) and Elle on the train to Constantinople. I really liked that encounter and I want to see more of this character in the future. Mrs. Hinges was hilarious and I really liked her. Is it just me or are most nurses/maids really funny?

Character Scale: 8

I did have problems with the pacing and I almost gave up on it, but something told me to keep going and I’m glad I did because this was pretty good. It’ very different from typical YA, but I really liked it. It has a bit of everything and I like when books have more than one genre. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel and I can’t wait to see where Elle and Marsh go next because that epilogue was absolutely great (even though I saw that part coming).

Cover Thoughts: The cover is gorgeous. I wish I had a physical copy of it. Yes, there’s a girl on it, but she’s not really the focus. The whole cover fits the story pretty perfectly and I love how different it is.

A copy was provided by Netgalley and the publishers for an honest review.


  1. I have heard a lot of bad stuff about this series... I still am thinking of giving it a go though.

    I nominated you for the Liebster award if you are interested :)

    1. Thank you, Renee! I've very flattered but I'm not accepting awards at the moment. :D I hope you enjoy the series. When it's ,it's really good. It just takes a while to build up.