Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Keymaster Press
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.
The Alchemists of Loom has almost all the right elements for a great fantasy novel, but ultimately fails in its writing.
There is no introduction to this very imaginative and unique world. The reader is thrust into action from the first page with no information about the world or the slang being used. It’s confusing and disorienting. There are two species, the Dragons, who live above the clouds, and the Fenthri, who live on the ground. It’s not until several chapters into the novel that that the reader is told the Dragons are not actually dragons, but humanoids with dragon like features. It’s little oversights like this in the world building that fail this story.
The action scenes feel like they’re pulled from a Michael Bay movie. They’re chaotic and confusing. It isn’t clear what’s happening and is a disservice to the characters. I understand that real that battles are chaotic and rarely organized, however when trying to demonstrate a character’s prowess and competence through exciting action scenes a certain level of clarity is needed. This clarity is not achieved throughout the entire novel.
The magic system in this novel is barely addressed. There’s little to no information about how it’s used, how it’s gained, or where it came from. The magic is referred to multiple times, but never explained in any meaningful way. It’s frustrating trying to understand the world and how it works when no information is given making the story hard to enjoy and connect to.
The characters are two-dimensional at best. They feel like cardboard cutouts of fully formed individuals with distinct personalities and character arcs. The main character, Ari, is the only character with potential, however it’s thrown away. There is important information about Ari that is withheld the entire novel. It’s hinted at strongly throughout, but is never revealed. Withholding this information is a mistake and did not make me more interested in reading the sequel. If anything, it made me annoyed and less inclined to continue the series.
Cvareh would have been an interesting character had his development not taken place through another character barely featured within the story. Almost everything the reader learns about his mission and purpose is through another character, thereby diminishing anything interesting about him. For the majority of the novel he’s clueless about the world he lives in, more specifically the Fenthri, and the purpose of his mission.
Florence is your typical sidekick to an almost invincible character that goes through her own redemption arc. I thought there was something more to Ari and Florence’s friendship that was hinted at throughout the novel, but never comes to fruition.
Overall, The Alchemists of Loom is an interesting idea for a novel in theory, but is executed poorly. The magic system, characters, and world building are lacking in detrimental ways making the story boring.