Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Alchemy of Stone | Ekaterina Sedia


Mattie, one of the very few automatons intelligent enough to warrant emancipation from her creator, Loharri, has been asked by the Gargoyles to user her alchemy to help them from turning to stone in the sunlight. At the same time, the city is feeling major unrest with the current political system. The peasants are being forced into mining work since The Mechanics replaced them with automatons in the fields. The Alchemists have worked hard to gain political favor, at the cost of the lower classes and immigrants.


I'm really not sure where to begin with this book. It is a good book, don't get me wrong. The city is interesting, though I do wish we could've gotten more information about the world. The characters were interesting, though I found it hard to empathize with any other than Mattie and the Soul-Smoker. 

I truly did feel for those characters. Mattie's relationship with Loharri was so abusive and controlling that I was truly disgusted. The lengths that man went through to make sure Mattie could never truly leave him was beyond creepy. He had essentially programmed her to always think of him when she needed help. He held onto the one key that she needed to keep herself wound. He literally held her life in his hands.
"You were ill," he said, "because you went went against your desire to see me. I told you that you always must do so. Didn't I?"
Then, Ilmarekh, the Soul-Smoker, cursed to carry the souls of the dead that refused to pass on. Forced to use opium to keep them all happy. Forced to always be listening to all of their stories and needs, never a moment alone, yet always alone because the living feared him so much. The only time he can quiet the dead is when he stops taking opium. Then he has to deal with the withdrawal which is made all the more difficult by living completely alone and being completely blind.

What little lore we got on the alchemy of this city, and even less the alchemy of the world, was interesting. I do wish we could've gotten more of it. Then again, I'm always a bit of a geek for the technical stuff. It was clear a lot of the technology of this world was steam based, but very little detail went into it. The book focused a lot more on the political unrest and drama-based relationships, which are not my favored books.

This was an engaging read. I had no problems reading through the whole thing rather quickly. Never felt I needed to put the book down. It was good, just not quite great. If you're interested in steampunk drama, by all means give this book a try. For me, I'm giving it 3 hoots.



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