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.
Arianna is a whole lot more than she seems and when we meet her, she's a mercenary, a tutor, and all-round badass. I wasn't sure if someone who hunts dragons in order to harvest their organs would have redeeming qualities but Arianna has depths and honestly you really should trust the author initially.
Cvareh is introduced as a dragon on a mission for his sister. He's desperate to make contact with the Alchemist resistance and get their aid in defeating the Dragon King. Now here's where it gets tricky; dragons are not what you expect and are basically human-like in form but with magical tweaks. It's their magic that's so astounding as each organ contains something else; dragon lungs can control time, a tongue can persuade, and I'm thinking you probably get the idea. Those who surgically enhance themselves are Chimera but for me the barbaric practice felt way too yucky.
Okay, I'm supposed to say what I felt about the plot and characters but I just didn't connect with them although possibly Florence, who is Arianna’s companion, felt the least detached. Also, there's obviously something happening between Arianna and Cvareh but it's perhaps more a mental than a physical connection. I did like that he started to see beyond their physical differences but Arianna is still a conundrum albeit a reluctant one.
There's definitely war coming between the two realms with the Dragons of Nova at the moment controlling those who live below in Loom but I'm still not sure just who will come out on top. One thing is for sure, The Alchemists of Loom is very different to other fantasy books about Dragons and the steampunk vibes just add to the fun.
Not what I expected but well worth a read, but to find out more you would need to keep going with this series.
This is my voluntary take on an advance reader copy.