The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
The Loom Saga, book 1
Published January 10, 2017 by Keymaster Press
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
Her vengeance. His vision.
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.
He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
I didn't think I would love this book as much as I did. But The Alchemists of Loom surprised me in countless ways and I'm already calling it--I'm going to be obsessed with this series.
Arianna is a dragon hunter and, more or less, a thief for hire. Known as the White Wraith, she uses her skills and her partner's weapons to complete heists for the highest payer. During on of these heists, Ari runs into a wounded dragon rider--Cvareh. But instead of killing him and harvesting his organs for the black market, she accepts his deal: a wish in exchange for her getting him to the Alchemists of Loom.
I think the biggest selling point--for me--with this book were the characters. The book is split into four points of view--Arianna, Cvareh, Florence (Ari's partner), and Leona. I loved how Kova wrote her main protagonists; they were fleshed out and underwent amazing development. While my favourite POVs were Ari and Cvareh, Leona's and Florence's were by no means boring. They definitely moved the book along and added their own action to the story, but I was just way more involved with Ari and Cvareh.
This book is wild. The author starts just as Ari is about to start her mission and it certainly gave the book an edge. I was hooked from that moment and it didn't hurt that Ari was a pretty great and sassy character. She takes a lot of risks and has a smart mouth, but she's loyal and caring and she shows this countless times with Florence, someone Ari would die protecting. Although it took some time to find out her full story, Kova wrote it at a steady pace, dropping hints but never dumping too much on the reader. But we are told early on that she's bisexual so that was great! Finding out her story was totally worth it in the end.
I also ADORED Cvareh. I don't even know what it was about him, but I ended up loving him so much, all I want is for him to be safe and happy, two things which probably won't happen any time soon because when do they ever? But anyway, he was both sweet and loyal and despite how Ari treated him in the beginning, he still stood by her and helped her. He also took care of Florence countless times, and I liked that they had a good friendship blossoming.
Ari and Cvareh are complicated. I wasn't sure at first if Kova would pair them up, because it sure as hell wasn't looking like it, but I definitely love how she wrote their partnership. Ari absolutely hates dragons and Cvareh has no reason why. But slow, but surely, they come to slightly be friends, even through their ups and downs. Their back-and-forth turned into thoughtful conversations and at some point, Ari begins to trust him and see Cvareh in a new light, while Cvareh begins to see her as something more.
That isn't to say there's really a romance here. It's totally not the point of the story and it definitely does not take over the plot, but I loved the groundwork of a possible romance. I'm really hoping to see more because these two are my favourite tropes: enemies-to-(possibly)-lovers and sloooooow burn.
Also, I loved the friendship between Florence and Ari. It was clear that they loved each other dearly and Florence would do anything for Ari, while Ari would protect her no matter the cost.
The world Kova wrote is super intricate and intriguing. I loved how she created the guilds that focused on different talents and how she created her dragon race. They lived in the sky and it was super cool how their organs gave them different powers. It's probably one of the most unique magic systems I've ever read about and I'm excited to explore more of the guilds and dragons!
Although there wasn't much of Leona in the book, I liked her as an antagonist! She has an interesting relationship with her dragon king, sometimes which seems obsessive, but she always had her priorities straight and she was straight-up ruthless.
Overall, this was a great book. While I'm sad that book two, The Dragons of Nova, has been pushed back from April to July, I'm still eagerly awaiting it. 4 solid stars for this one!