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A Conspiracy of Alchemists: Book One in The Chronicles of Light and Shadow [Kindle Edition]

Liesel Schwarz
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $2.00 (25%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

LEAVE IT TO CHANCE. Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—the intrepid heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, historical adventure, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.
 
In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun.
 
When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr. Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.

Praise for A Conspiracy of Alchemists
 
“Oh my Steampunk God! . . . If you like steampunk you definitely have to give this jewel a try. It would be a sin not to, really.”—Butterfly-o-Meter Books
 
“A wonderful sense of fun on every page . . . Visit [your] nearest bibliographic emporium and seek this rather magnificent tome out.”—The Eloquent Page
 
“I truly enjoyed this novel and strongly suggest it to Steampunk fans. I’m convinced A Conspiracy of Alchemists will rock your world!”—Tynga’s Reviews
 
“Pure fun to read.”—Karissa’s Reading Review


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Inventive, lush and full of heart, The Chronicles of Light and Shadow are books to be devoured. Schwarz is a force to be reckoned with" George Mann "The soon-to-be high-priestess of British steampunk" The Independent "a distinctive read, made so much better by Schwarz's undoubted skill as a writer and story teller, creating a world of richly layered environments ... I'm not really sure what else you could ask from a novel: believable characters, an engrossing plot, written by a capable author ... highly enjoyable" sci-fi-online "The world itself is beautifully realised, and mixes a few well-loved steampunk staples (you can't escape airships, for example) with some unique ideas that really bring it to life ... genuine brilliance" GeekPlanetOnline.com

About the Author

Liesel Schwarz, a lifelong fan of nineteenth-century Gothic literature, is a hopeless romantic who loves Victorians, steampunk, fairies, fantasy monsters, the fin de siècle, and knowing the correct way to drink absinthe. She also likes medieval things, pirates, zombies, space operas, and all subjects in between.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1722 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345548264
  • Publisher: Del Rey (March 5, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008TSC83C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,124 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Missing something March 20, 2013
Format:Hardcover
I really wanted to like this book, since I gravitate towards books with female protagonists and historical details. Unfortunately, there was not a lot to like here.

The female protagonist, Elle Chance, was one dimensional and acted more like a spoiled teenager than an adult. When given directions she protested and complained or lashed out rather than asking for more information. I appreciate a character who is not a doormat, but is "Why?" really too much to ask before assuming that someone is trying to order you around for no reason? So much unnecessary melodrama...

The setting, being somewhere in between historical and fantasy, was interesting but not particularly well developed. Fleshing out these types of things would have contributed to world building. Instead of a fully realized world, this book felt like a tossed salad of tropes and things that the author thought would interest readers, with no true connectivity between them. The scenes which involved travel to various European locations didn't have any sense of being in those places or any connection to the locations. Generally if the setting changes a lot in a book, either the travel or the different places serve almost as characters within the story; contributing tension, atmosphere, romantic mood, or something. The settings here contributed so little the whole book might as well have been set in the same city.

Considering all of that, it isn't surprising that the male protagonist and the secondary characters were just as unsatisfying. Also, the plot's primary focus felt forced and sort of silly. Perhaps if the characters were well actualized, or the atmosphere of the locations was felt in the writing, or if the world was fully realized then the lame plot wouldn't matter so much. Unfortunately, with nothing to support it, the plot lacked excitement.

On the whole I was extremely disappointed with this book, and will not be continuing with the series.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A promising debut, 3.5 stars! March 8, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Eleanor "Elle" Chance is far from your typical turn-of-the-century miss, foregoing traditional female pastimes such as teas, dances, and gossip for a career piloting her beloved dirigible, the Water Lily. But being a pilot is a risky and expensive enterprise, and in order to help fund her independent efforts Elle agrees to an under-the-table commission -- transporting a box from Paris to England. The seemingly innocuous cargo proves to be more than Elle bargained for, as she is attacked by an alchemist and barely escapes Paris with her ship intact. Forced into an uneasy alliance with the dashing Mr. Marsh (a.k.a. the Viscount Greychester, a.k.a. a powerful warlock), Elle finds herself thrust into a fight between the forces of Light and Shadow, a fight that threatens to disrupt the delicate balance of the world forever. Forced into a brewing war not of her own choosing, Elle uncovers dark secrets in her past, secrets that force her to reevaluate the world as she knows it and her place within it, promising to change the trajectory of her life forever -- if she survives.

With steampunk stories fast becoming a new favorite genre, I jumped at the opportunity to read Schwarz's debut. I loved her world-building -- she has all of the traditional steampunk elements, from dirigibles to clockwork inventions -- but where she separates her vision of early twentieth-century Europe from the rest is in her delineation between the elements of Shadow and Light. The Light represents Elle's familiar world -- her father's work as an inventor of spark-powered flying machines, a world of scientific, rational thought and technological advancement.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent read March 4, 2013
By Altair
Format:Hardcover
This is a decent book. It's easy to pick up and read; I had no problem following the story. The pacing can be slow but there are enough points of tension and action to liven it up. Liesel Schwarz does a great job with detail. Keeping with the title, Schwarz mixes Fantasy with the Steampunk back drop very well. While reading, you will never forget the setting; the days when steam technology and airships were the future with magic, fairies and even bloodshed incorporated in the tale. The novel tends to get a bit repetitive and predictable at times so keep that in mind.

You don't have to be a Steampunk or Fantasy fan to enjoy this; as I have stated it's easy to pick up and read. If Steampunk and Fantasy are your cup of tea, give it a try. You might enjoy it.

Pros:
Easy to read
Likeable characters
Recommended for Steampunk and Fantasy fans or those curious

Cons:
Slow Paced
Somewhat Repetitive Plot
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Conspiracy of Alchemists October 28, 2013
Format:Hardcover
A CONSPIRACY OF ALCHEMISTS is the first in a series combining steampunk, alternate history, fantasy, and paranormal genres. I was attracted to it because of the blurb, which mentions the world being divided into light and shadow, technology and supernatural.

It took me a long time to read A CONSPIRACY OF ALCHEMISTS. I tried a couple of times, and eventually powered my way through it because I had a chance to read the second book, A CLOCKWORK HEART. I had quite a few issues with the book, which kept me from enjoying it.

As I said, one of the reasons I wanted to read the book was because of the interesting world highlighted in the summary. But I swear there's practically no worldbuilding. So when there were mentions of a war between light and shadow, and even when the "bad guys" kidnapped the main character, I didn't entirely know why it would be such a bad thing if the shadow won.

Because Elle, the main character, is an airship pilot, fighting for her place in an arena (and world) dominated by males, I expected her to be a spunky, strong character. But she was inconsistent, and dare I say it, boring. I preferred the narration of the green fairy, Adele, who lived off absinthe, to Elle. Elle lives in a world where technology and magic work side-by-side, yet she refuses to believe in the existence of magic. So when the reveal comes that she has a pretty big magical ability, she a) doesn't believe it and b) doesn't learn anything about her powers. Then she makes some absurd decisions, which lead her right into danger. Sorry, but I really don't like it when supposedly intelligent characters do stupid things.

And then the last nail came when Elle met the infuriating Marsh. They were attracted to each other at first glance.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice Cover, Shallow Plot
I decided to read this book because the two main characters, Elle and Marsh, were listed on a top ten steampunk couples list somewhere. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Veronica L. Gonzalez
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising New Steampunk Series
Goodreads Blurb:
<blockquote><strong>LEAVE IT TO CHANCE.</strong>

Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—a high-flying dirigible pilot with a taste for adventure... Read more
Published 2 months ago by the_goddess_isis
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent book, I enjoyed it thoroughly
Published 2 months ago by Siegfried Preller
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
I thought the book was interesting. it was a good read. I like historical sci-fi fiction. I definitely recommend this book!
Published 3 months ago by Judy Soy
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read
Steampunk is one of my very favourite genres. This book was certainly fun that the steampunk elements were great! Read more
Published 7 months ago by Preethi
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Okay this is my first steam punk book and I totally loved it! To be honest I really don't know what the true definition of steam punk is but my definition is Victorian era with... Read more
Published 7 months ago by CaliReader
3.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk and Corsets
A bit of fun fantasy with the paranormal and romance all in a steampunk airship action adventure.
The story was a touch stilted at times and the landscape was lacking... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Teresa Pietersen
3.0 out of 5 stars A combination of familiar tropes: Steampunk and romance novels
Liesel Schwarz is very much in the romance novel pocket in “A Conspiracy of Alchemists” (Ballantine, $25, 388 pages) as her two protagonists, Elle Chance and Mr. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Clay Kallam
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story line
A conspiracy of Alchemists is a great debut novel that has entered the Steampunk genre.

The story centers around Elle Chance, dirigible pilot, and her 'mystical'... Read more
Published 9 months ago by BellaChica
5.0 out of 5 stars plucky and entertaining
The story was engaging...fun...entertaining and a page turner. The characters were sympathetic and likable. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
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