The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova
Published: Keymaster Press (Jan 10, 2017)
Posted: Cross-posted (Dec 31, 2016)
(5 / 5)
The Alchemists of Loom marks the beginning of a new fantasy series by Elise Kova. Combining Steampunk and high fantasy, the author revitalizes the questing-high fantasy genre, creating a detail-rich world with unparalleled originality. Alchemists may be extremely easy to read, but don’t let that fool you, there’s a lot to love here!
Loom is a world of opposites. Controlled by a powerful race of magic-wielding beings known as Dragons, the downtrodden, gray-skinned Fenthri are forced to live under the Dragon King’s restrictive reign. Dragons dictate policy from their multicolored sky world of Nova. The Fenthri must contend with frequent Dragon incursions and their world’s native monsters in order to survive. The setting has plenty of intrigue from above but also features solid, down to earth characters.
Unable to look to the stars for support, a new group of heroes is forged.
Arianna, the infamous and mysterious criminal known as the White Wraith, has a chip on her shoulder. Her sole desire is to liberate the once great Steam-driven world from Dragon control. While her exact motives are unclear, her dedication is unyielding. Ari’s quest for vengeance is put on hold only when a fallen Dragon (Cvareh) promises to help her in exchange for her escorting him to the most isolated place on the planet… the Alchemists’ Guild.
“Numbers remained consistent. Numbers and facts attempted to bring order from a chaotic world, to make sense of the impossible. They were the foundation for colossal structures and the tiniest of clockwork machines alike.”
The narrative never wastes a second of the reader’s time: like a fine timepiece, the story is always precise, always moving. The Alchemists of Loom reads like quick action fantasy but has enough depth to rival the classics. While the older generation had the Forgotten Realms novels, Loom creates its own foundation that doesn’t rely on the rolls of an icosahedron. Society is split into five interconnected Guilds – Ravens, Harvesters, Rivets, Revolvers, and the Alchemists – we learn about these as the book unfolds, not in huge info dumps. In that sense, every description in The Alchemists of Loom is well written, every character reflection is meaningful.
“I want Nova to burn.” – Ari
In a world with sleek golden airships, Ari’s knowledge of engineering and her ability to control magically attuned gold fit the story and setting perfectly. The Fenthri dress style in cities is nearly Victorian: the blend of steam and magic complement the world itself. More importantly, Ari never seems overpowered or irrelevant in those cities. Forced to make a deal with a Dragon, her reactions to unfolding situations are true to life. A force of destruction ends up possessing a lot more depth than I was expecting. Simply put: Arianna is outstanding.
The other characters such as Leona, the frighteningly calm Yveun Dono, and Florence are all well done. Leona’s feelings and desires are plausible from an entirely alien perspective. You really get her motivations immediately. Florence is probably one of my favorite characters. Her sisterly relationship with Arianna is heartwarming yet surprisingly not juvenile. While other authors would use Florence as a “tag along” character, possibly a comic relief, this character is serious and strong-willed.
If you’re a fan of steampunk and fantasy, The Alchemists of Loom is well worth checking out. It features great characters, an excellent story, descriptive writing, and an action-packed pace. I predict that the Loom Saga will have great success in the months to come. Tired of stale high fantasies about jewelry that can sunder kingdoms? Give The Alchemists of Loom a read. 5/5
(This book was received from the publisher for a fair and honest review.)