ARC Review: A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

Posted March 9, 2013 by Francesca in Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
ARC Review: A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
A Conspiracy of Alchemists
by Liesel Schwarz

3.5 Stars


Released: March 5, 2013
Series: The Chronicles of Light & Shadow #1
Published by Del Rey
Pages: 36
Format: ARC

“This series is definitely one to look out for.  I’m very curious as to where the story can go from here.  It has so much potential and I’ll be reading the next book for sure.” ~Under the Covers

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover.  I saw a huge posted at the Del Rey booth at Comic Con last year and immediately wanted to buy it, only to find out it wasn’t coming out until this year.

Could it be one of those cases where the cover misled me?  Just a little.  Even though the cover is very much representative of the story.  And the story was very interesting.  It just fell a little flat in some parts.

I’m a little confused as to how to classify the book to begin with.  It is definitely historical but it’s not historical romance.  There’s paranormal elements (the alchemists, absint fairies, warlocks and such) but it’s not a paranormal romance.  Even though there is a romance.  And although some might consider this a bit steampunk, I think I’ll go with an urban fantasy.  It best describes the series, just know that the other elements are mixed in as well.

That being said, we have a strong heroine.  Elle is a pilot.  A female pilot at the turn of the 20th century.  She doesn’t normally walk around with gowns and pretty dresses.  She’s unconventional, opinionated, loyal and passionate.  She loves her family and her job.  My kind of heroine.  She’s stubborn but also realist.  She didn’t necessarily go with the flow and questioned things along the way, just like you would expect her to do.

She is asked to transport a box from London to France, without knowing what it contains.  She soon finds herself taking a couple of extra passengers on that trip.  One of those a sexy and rich guy who turns out to be a warlock. Now she has the Alchemist enemies after her.

Marsh was alluring enough to peak my interest and I can see there’s potential for me to really like him in the next book.  He immediately recognizes something in her that is not fully plain human but has to bide his time to get her to come to terms with that and find out what it is.  The sexual tension wasn’t as thick as it could’ve been but it was nice to be able to see into both Marsh and Elle’s heads to find out how they were feeling.  Otherwise, I would’ve never known there was an attraction!

As Marsh and Elle go through France and Venice to find her father, who was kidnapped before she got back home, they get in all kinds of trouble and meet interesting characters.  The plot has twists that I definitely didn’t expect, which was also nice to see.  I did not expect Elle to turn out to be what she did.

Setting this story in the era she did was a perfect choice.  I felt the actual time period and places where as much a character in the story as the actual characters.  It added an extra appeal that worked for me.

However, I do feel that this book suffered from first book syndrome.  Not in a way of info dump like many do, just that the story could’ve been a lot more pulse-pounding than it was.  But not only is this the first book in this series, but the author’s debut.  This series is definitely one to look out for.  I’m very curious as to where the story can go from here.  It has so much potential and I’ll be reading the next book for sure.

*ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley

Did you like this review? If so, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

About Liesel Schwarz

Liesel Schwarz writes fiction. A life-long fan of 19th Century Gothic literature, she is a hopeless romantic and loves Victorians, steampunk, fairies, fantasy monsters, the Fin de Siècle, and the correct way to drink absinthe.

She also likes Medieval stuff, pirates, zombies, space operas and all subjects in between. She is also currently busy with her doctorate in English and Creative Writing at Brunel University.

She lives in London in the United Kingdom and is definitely a cat person.


Follow me


Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I’m a 30 something sun lover living in the Big Apple (read New York).I’m a book and coffee addict and lover of all things elephants.

I get easily distracted by pictures of sexy guys and have tons of book boyfriends.I keep all my alpha males chained to my basement and guard them fiercely.*Back off bitches*I like to see Jason Momoa as a lot of those boyfriends, because ….. mmmmmmm JASON.MOMOA!

I’m a part time graphic designer (yes, everything you see on UTC has been done by me), run my husband's business from home and on a good day I’m a self appointed superwoman (she who can do it all).I love blogging with my girls and I couldn’t do it any other way!My first love is everything paranormal, but in the past few years I’ve re-learned to love contemporary romance.Every once in a while I like to mix things up with a historical romance, a steampunk or an LGBT book.Because I need variety to avoid book slumps.I don’t always need an HEA although I prefer one, and I love authors that can rip my heart out and make me ugly cry.
Follow me

Related Posts

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Under the Covers Book Blog Comment Policy
Please read our comment policy here.

Leave a Reply

2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
TimitraLori Meehan Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Lori Meehan
Lori Meehan

Thanks Francesca


Thanks for the review Francesca!