The Alchemists of Loom (The Loom Saga, #1) – Elise Kova
Ever since the fall of the resistance, Arianna has been working in the shadows to bring down the Dragons who ruined her world. In the city of Dortam, she is known as the White Wraith, a ghostly figure who even the dragons fear, an organ thief who sells to the highest bidder. Stumbling across a wounded dragon in a back alley is as close as she comes to having a good day. Cvareh is determined to help bring down the Dragon King and establish a new order. Stealing the King’s schematics and fleeing the sky world of Nova is just the first step on his journey to the Alchemists Guild. Now he just needs someone who understands this strange, grey, ground world of Loom to get him there.
I first heard about this book on Booktube, the corner of YouTube run by book bloggers, authors, and publishers where you can find anything and everything you want to know about books. Anyway, I first heard about The Alchemists of Loom from Sasha Alsberg of ABookUtopia, Regan of PeruseProject, and Lindsay Cummings. Their fantastic recommendations put this book pretty high up on my radar, and I was already planning to buy it when I passed a random Barnes & Noble here in Boston at the end of February and saw a poster of the cover in the window.When I went in to get a better look, it turned out that the author was there for a signing that was starting literally at that very second. Naturally, I purchased the book and then headed up to the area where the signing was.
When I went in to get a better look, it turned out that the author was there for a signing that was starting literally at that very second. Naturally, I purchased the book and then headed up to the area where the signing was. Let me tell you, Elise Kova is awesome. It was a small group, which was great because it was my first book-related event ever, and we all got to ask questions and chat freely. You can check out the post I wrote about it here.
Ever since the event, I’ve been dying to read The Alchemists of Loom, but I already had a bunch of other works scheduled for reviews and things so it wasn’t until I hit a reading slump this month that I finally gave in and picked it up, schedule be damned.
I really liked it. And not just because it was recommended by other reviewers whose opinions I trust, or because I met the author and she’s pretty awesome, but because the story was fresh, and new, and exciting! And even though I was thrown into this world I’d never been to before, with new words and things I didn’t understand for, like, 100 pages, it was totally immersive and relatable. Resistance. Revenge. Class Systems. Guilds. There is so much going on in this world that the only way to learn it is by complete immersion. As readers, we would get nowhere if Kova stopped to explain what things were every other paragraph. Instead, you learn about Loom at about the same pace that Cvareh (pronounced Sah-var-ay) does, which works perfectly with the timing of the plot and the development of the characters. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend this as anyone’s first dip into fantasy because I there is a lot going on and you will get overwhelmed if you don’t have some sort of background in reading the genre.
The only gripe I have is about a scene near the beginning in Arianna’s apartment in Dortam (pg 44 in the hardcover). I feel like an action is missing – like something got deleted accidentally. Right after an item is exchanged, one of the characters is suddenly across the room walking somewhere. Maybe I’m just confusing myself, but when the item exchange happened I pictured the first character standing in one place watching to see what the second character’s reaction would be, not giving them the item and then continuing to walk across the room. It just didn’t feel like a natural progression and I had to reread the scene like five times to figure out what happened.
The book overall was just totally engrossing. I devoured its 382 pages in 2-3 days. I enjoyed learning about the characters, the pacing was good, and the plot compelling. I definitely recommend reading this to anyone who enjoys their fantasy with a dose of steampunk (although this is more of the magically powered than steam powered variety). I can’t wait for the next two books in the series!
HHC Rating: 4.5 Stars