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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Enchanting Steampunk Fantasy

    I was totally captivated by this enchanting steampunk fantasy filled with magic, chimeras and dragons. When Ari comes across an injured Dragon, he offers her the one thing that Ari desires the most, a loon, if she takes him to the Alchemists of Loom. Though sworn enemies, Cvareh and Ari must work together if they wish to achieve their goals. During their quest they begin to discover each other’s worlds and its people whilst trying to evade the Dragon King’s dragons that are eager to retrieve what Cvareh stole from the Dragon King. Ari is a chimera with one thing on her mind: seeking revenge. Her single-minded focus is on achieving this and she does not let her emotions, weaknesses or her past interfere. She takes on the persona of the “White Wraith” who is legendary and seemingly invincible. I found Ari a compelling, intriguing character and loved her close friendship with Florence who is not as defenceless as she first appears. Cvareh is a dragon who is focused on his mission, to usurp the Dragon King, but he cannot do it without Ari’s help. Her world is strange to him, with their different appearances and culture, and Ari has the skills and knowledge to get him to the Alchemists of Loom. The world building was imaginative, detailed and impressive. I was drawn into Ari, Florence & Cvareh’s quest and their worlds. It was fast paced with unexpected twists, great characters and plenty of action and suspense. I loved how the steampunk machinery is woven into the story and how Ari & Cvareh work together using intellect, magic and gadgets to get out of their many tight situations. I found it to be a rewarding read, well written, and entertaining. I'd recommend any fantasy fan to give it a try. I am definitely looking forward to the next book, The Dragons of Nova
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    Amazing characters makes a good book remarkable

    I need a moment to process this. This book was… everything! It was very different from Air Awakens, but I loved it just as much. The writing was amazing, the plot was interesting, the world-building was magical, and the characters were relatable. I am absolutely in love with this book! I loved the characters. Ari, Cvareh and Flor were all characters that you just couldn’t help but root for. I loved reading about them all, and seeing their journeys. I especially loved Flor. I could really relate to her, she was fun and interesting to read about, and I’d say she went through the biggest journey of them all. She really changed through the book, she grew a lot, and I loved following her journey. That’s not to say I didn’t love the other characters. I loved Ari and Cvareh, too. Ari was totally badass and independent and cool, and I loved her. There are still a lot of mysteries surrounding her, which, I admit, drew me in. I needed to find out what had happened that still affected her so. I still do. I need The Dragons of Nova, like, now! Cvareh… Sigh. I loved him. Seriously loved him. Maybe as much as I love Aldrik. Maybe more. I’m torn on that one. I don’t even know where to begin to describe him. He was just an amazing male, and it was impossible to not fall in love with him. Any fangirl with a beating heart would fall in love with him. And the romance between him and Ari was great. It was slow, which was good, because in the beginning, Ari hated all Dragons as a principle. Watching them grow closer, very slowly, was both amazing and difficult, because I need them to end up together! Dragons and Chimera and a whole new world make for an intriguing plot! Yes, you heard that right. Dragons. But these dragons aren’t the ones you know, no, they’re much cooler than that! I loved learning about the Dragons and the Chimera and the Fenthri. The world-building was amazing, but that was expected. I already knew Kova has a way to write a whole new world in such a way that you feel like you are really there, you forget about the real world, you forget that you’re reading. She also introduces the world in a great way, not all at once, a history lesson of Loom in the first chapter, but gradually, throughout the whole book. And she makes it feel so natural, not some stilted conversation just to teach the reader something about the world, but it’s actually a part of the plot. That ending. You all know I hate cliffhangers, right? Well, I do. And TAOL ended in one. But, and here’s the surprising thing, I didn’t mind it. It just felt right that it should end there, although I was really sad it did, because now I just want more, and I don’t know how I’ll survive for six months before TDON! Out of all the great things I’ve listed above, the best thing, the thing that made this book truly magical, was the characters. They came alive on the page in such a way that I couldn’t put it away, that I just had to know what would happen. I stayed up way later than I should’ve, and seriously considered skipping school to read (which is the first time I’ve ever considered that). When I was done, it felt like parting with old friends, after just one book. This book is the perfect example that amazing, relatable characters can have such a big impact on the plot. The further I got into the story, the more I needed to know what would happen to Ari, Cvareh and Flor. This book was so much fun to read, throughout it all. But be warned: if you’re not looking to be hooked, for characters that will seem so real, it feels wrong when you stop reading and they’re not there, this is not the book for you.
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    Kova is a genius!

    Elise Kova is genius! New characters, new world. Fantastic story! Absolutely in love!
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    A thrilling read set in a masterfully built world

    The Alchemists of Loom is an action-packed and nicely paced young adult book that presents to us Elise Kova's unique take on the steampunk and fantasy genres. Long gone are the typical mechanical dragons that fly through the air, puffing steam from their noses. Instead, we have humanoid Dragons that zip through the air on magic-powered gliders. The world building is like a piece of clockwork, a masterpiece at that. Snippets of information are given to us, allowing us to slowly understand their culture, their habitat, and their history. These pieces of cogs gradually fit together to form the two worlds introduced to us as Loom and Nova. The book starts off with Arianna carrying out a heist and gave us our first glimpse into her personality. While I was able to pin down a few of her notable characteristics, such as the air of confidence she carries around her due to her experience and competence at her job and the skilled precision with which she completes her missions, none of them gave me reason for root for her. There wasn't much to her other than her quest for revenge on the Dragons and her desire to protect Florence, her initiate. It was the hairline cracks in the walls she built around herself that allowed me to get a peek into her past that sparked my interest. Now Florence is a character I really like. I notably remembering her offering a cookie to Cvareh when they first met (but not before reminding him that she will kill him in her teacher's place should he give her reason to). She's young, talented and hopeful, and that gives her a lot of room to grow. She's also the one who undergoes the greatest character development, from the inexperienced girl that does not want to partake in any fighting to someone who has found her purpose and wants to put her skills to good use. I believe that Arianna sees a bit of her past self in Florence, back when she still had hope that this war between Loom and Nova could be stopped, that they can drive out the Dragon King's dictatorial rule, and that's why she's so adamant on ‘protecting’ her. While the ending was a bit of a letdown as the action was rather stagnant towards the end, there is no doubt I will be ready to jump back into the worlds of Loom and Nova in the next book, The Dragons of Loom.
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