A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #1) by Liesel Schwarz

LEAVE IT TO CHANCE.

Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—a high-flying dirigible pilot with a taste for adventure and the heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.

It is 1903, and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light is a wondrous science that has transformed everyday life by harnessing magical energies to ingenious new technologies. But each advance of science has come at the expense of shadow—the traditional realm of the supernatural.

Now two ancient powers are preparing to strike back. Blood-sucking immortal Nightwalkers and their spellcasting Alchemist allies have a plan to cover the whole world in shadow. All they require is the sacrifice of a certain young woman whose past conceals a dangerous secret.

But when they come after Elle, they get more than they bargained for. This enterprising young woman, the daughter of a scientific genius, has reserves of bravery and determination that even she scarcely suspects. Now she is about to meet her match in more ways than one: a handsome yet infuriating Warlock named Hugh Marsh, whose agenda is as suspect as his charms are annoyingly irresistible.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Del Rey

Elle is a strong main character. Very independent, pretty and smart. This is the first Adult steampunk novel that I have completely lost myself in. The others I had read didn't quite fit the expectations that I had for the genre. But sure am glad I decided to pick this one up because it has given me hope to try more! I usually read young adult novels and even though this one is not one, I would still recommend it for all readers.

We start off in Paris, and Patrice is asking Elle to take a package and take a transport in her dirigible as a favor. While discussing the terms in his office, she is also given payment in the form of a diamond bracelet in which an absinthe fairy flies into before she can leave, temporarily locking the bracelet onto her arm. Then all hell breaks loose, she must escape danger, looses the package and gets shot at as she takes off. Only to find out that when she arrives home that her scientist father has been abducted and the group from Paris is still after her.

This leads us on a fun adventure over and through Europe as she must stay ahead of Air Pirates and Alchemists. We meet vampires. oracles, warlocks along the way (to name a few). With her companion, a Warlock named Marsh. She also discovers that he knew her mother and that there is a connection to their worlds that goes beyond her missing father.

The story is interspersed with narration by the absinthe fairy and fun gadgets that light up Elle's eyes during the trip. Her excitement and determination really drive the story and I found it a very fun read. I  recommend this one!
4 Stars

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