Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Alchemists Of Loom By Elise Kova

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Format: Audiobook narrated by Tim Campbell & Erin Moon
Source: Audible
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

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 have seen Elise Kova's name come up a lot lately in the blogging community, but I kept on being like, "yeah, yeah, I'll get to her books one of these days" and I really didn't think I was ever going to get to her books, but that's where my audible subscription comes in handy. The first in her Loom Saga series was part of one of the audible sales, that I ended up getting it and decided to finally start it. And oh man, what a fool I was to dismiss Kova so quickly! She blew me away with the first introduction to Loom in The Alchemists of Loom!

First of all, I can't remember EVER reading a fantasy that didn't include humans into the equation. I think this is the first fantasy book I have read that centered around non-human protagonists. It made the story really unique to read. The world building in this one was really amazing, and I really got a feel for how Dragons, Fenthir and Chimera all lived together in this war-torn world. Also, this book was steampunk! I haven't read a lot steampunk, but I think Kova really weaves the two genres together almost seamlessly. When listening to this audiobook, everything about this world made sense to me. It just "worked" in the contents of the story.

This story had some great descriptions so I felt like I could "see" all the different dragon characters in this one. The descriptions were done really well, and it really made me understand this world and everything that was going on in it. It really took my imagination to some great places. The story is also really rich in the history of this world, so you get a feel for why there is so much conflict between Arianna and Cvareh. We don't really get the full story for awhile why Arianna hates dragons so much, but based on the learned history in this book it is very understandable. It was so fascinating to me to read about how the Alchemists work to create a Chimera and all the different mechanical things they create.

The narrators in this book were awesome! Erin Moon who does the narration in Arianna's point of view was really amazing and had some really great range of voices. It looks like she tends to do a lot of books about dragons, so I think it makes complete sense she did this one. Tim Campbell does the narration for when we get Cvareh's point of view. I think he was good too, but I felt like there was much more of Moon that it felt like having a different narrator just for Cvareh was unnecessary. You definitely get a feeling of his superiority in Campbell's narrator, but I felt like Moon could have just done both. Not knocking Campbell's narration at all, I just wonder why they decide certain books need to have two narrators. I will probably try to do the second book in the series on audio, because I loved this one so much. The production was really good too, which I didn't used to pay attention to that much, but I have learned from listening to some really badly produced audiobooks lately. This was not one of them!

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Arianna and her apprentice Florence. I was kind of unsure of their relationship for a little while, and I'm not sure if that really matters to the story. When Cvareh gets added to the mix it shakes up their relationship and it was really interesting to see how they changed because of it. It was also interesting to note that the Fenthir aren't heteronormative, and I am always glad to see representation in fantasy books!

This book was just something totally unexpected, but a wonderful story rich in descriptive imagery and action-driven characters. If you are looking for a fresh take on fantasy, I highly recommend this one.

Happy Reads Everyone!