Release Date: January 10, 2017
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Length: 380 pages
Source: eGalley for Blog Tour
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.
Characters: When Ari and Cvareh have a chance meeting, that nearly leads to a brutal battle, they find themselves seeking something the other has and are willing to trade. Ari wants vengeance for those she's lost due to the Dragon King, and Cvareh needs passage to the Alchemist's Guild on Loom, in exchange, he offers a boon, a wish that he's bound to do anything to fulfill. There are other characters who the pair come into contact with, most notably their traveling companion and Ari's student Florence, and the Dragon King's right hand who will do anything to see Cvareh dead. I'm a sucker for a book with multiple perspectives, especially when those perspectives are in the third person. The author does a fantastic job giving each character's perspective it's own voice so even if you don't see who's chapter it is, it's obvious by how the chapter is written. Each of these characters are so compelling and even the "bad guy" character's perspective even as she hunts our heroes, is so enthralling. One of the things I love that this author did was give us these badass characters, but over time we get to see their flaws and shortcoming and we get to see them even overcome some of them.
Romance: There isn't a lot of romance in this book, at least not a lot of obvious romance. I feel almost like admitting there's romance in this book is a spoiler because of how slowly things burned between two of the characters. I went into this book expecting a fiery romance born from the opposition between Ari and Cvareh, but what I actually got was (while similar) something different. The chemistry between Ari and Cvareh is off the charts, even when they're fighting there's this palpable tension between the two that makes you live for the moments when they let their walls down and show each other their vulnerabilities. The romance is a very slow burning one, so slow that at times I wasn't even sure if there was a romance in this book. However, what I found ironic was that I was far more invested in this slow-burning possibility of a romance than almost any romance I've read before.
World Building: Something unique I found about this book is that there aren't large info-dumps in the beginning of this book to let you get to know these characters and the world they live in. Instead, the author drops you right in the middle of this world without so much as a road map (though there is a map in the beginning of the book and an appendix in the back) and you discover what's going on in this world bit by bit, and the best part is that the storyline described in the synopsis doesn't take a third of the book to start, instead it happens by the end of the first chapter. As you learn about this world bit by bit it starts to come alive and, if you're anything like me, you begin to care for this world and its denizens. I don't want to talk too much about this world because I feel if I say too much that I'll ruin the experience of discovering it through the book, but it's pretty intense. I loved watching the world unfold before me and while there was never anything I would describe as an info-dump, by the end of the book, I felt like I had a pretty good, if not excellent, grasp on the world and what was going on, and yet there's still so much more to explore.
Predictability: This book was far less predictable that I'd care to admit. The author does an astounding job at hiding things from the reader. Since we learn about this world and these characters bit by bit, when big aspects of these characters are brought up, significant moments from their pasts, it was always a huge surprise to me. In fact all of the things I was able to predict I'm sure the author meant for readers to be able to figure out before the reveal. Then there were things I thought were going to happen that didn't, which I'll talk about more in a bit, regardless, this book was incredibly well plotted out and while I still have a great many questions about this world I'm sure I'll get my answers soon and in a way I didn't expect.
Ending: This is one of those books where I'm unsure quite where the ending really starts. The final climax, or at least what would traditionally be the final climax happens earlier in the book than I had anticipated and while there was still a great more to discover in this installment, I knew from the moment a certain chapter ended that we wouldn't get a traditional ending to this installment. In fact, as the end drew nearer I was expecting a huge twist, something that would have me reeling until the next installment in this series, and yet, one didn't come. That's not to say that the end of this installment wasn't great it was, there was some really profound character development, but that final bit of excitement I was hoping for never really came.
Going into this book, I didn't expect to love it as much as I do now. I love how the author takes her time to tell this story bit by bit and only revealing enough to keep you interested. While I do there was a more explosive ending, I'm still waiting with bated breath for the next installment in this series!
About the Author:
Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).
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