The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga, #1)

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga, #1)
Publisher Name
Silver Wing Press
Age Range
Release Date
October 25, 2022
The Dragon King holds Loom in his bloody claws, and one woman has vowed to be his demise.
Arianna lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds of Loom fell to the Dragon King. Now, as one of the world's most notorious thieves, she uses her unparalleled gift for merging magic and machine to take on any job that will thwart Loom's tyrannical oppressors.
Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King. His family's house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung of Dragon society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild on Loom might hold the key to their triumph, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King's assassins.
When Arianna stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse.

But Cvareh sees an opportunity to cut a deal with the one person the king's assassins might fear. He offers her the one thing Arianna can't refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.
Joined by a trigger-happy gun mage, the trio will make their way across the steely, gear-crusted, and deadly landscape of Loom, in a story of a world divided, where magic clashes with machine, and the cost of power is blood.
The Alchemists of Loom is the first book in a dark fantasy trilogy set in a divided world of magic versus machine, gritty adventure, brutal and bloody sorcery, enemies to lovers, and deep friendships. It is perfect for epic fantasy readers looking for a unique and deep world.

Editor review

1 review
enthralling dark fantasy read
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THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM is an engaging dark fantasy adventure with intense world-building and enthralling characters. The story is told from the perspectives of intertwined characters. Arianna (Ari) is known as The White Wraith, and Florence is a young girl of 16 who works for her. Though she is Fenthri, she holds great power and uses it to oppose the Dragons whenever she is able. The Dragons live in the sky and have regulated and destroyed the Fenthri that live below on Loom - their magic has given them a power that allows for them to maintain control, unless the Fenthri can manage to take it from them.

Cvareh is a Dragon from the lowest house, House Xin, and he has been tasked with a critical mission by his sister, the head of their house. He has stolen something from the Dragon King and needs to deliver it to the Alchemists. With assassins on his tail, he strikes a bargain with The White Wraith to grant her a boon in exchange for her help with getting across Loom to the Alchemists. The boon is a powerful chip, and with it, Ari could ask anything of him that he could deliver, including his own heart, the only thing that can kill a Dragon, and which, when ingested, would allow a Fenthri to gain the magic of a Dragon for a short time.

As the three set off across Loom, they are racing the clock against the Dragon King's assassins and all the dangers that lurk in the dark.

What I loved: This contains such fantastical and intricate world-building. These are other species with their own worlds that are different from our own. The book contains both front and backmatter that I found indispensable when reading at first, as it lays out the structure of Loom as well as the titles and other key information about Dragons/Fenthri. Later in the story, it becomes easier to remember as the reader learns the characters and situations, but this is a fast-paced read that begins with action, so there is much to remember/learn.

The three main characters are all compelling in their own ways. Individually, they all have their own pasts, and while we catch glimpses into these during the course of the story, their personalities are all very distinct. Ari is driven by her past and the wrongs she has felt and has committed. While the details of these are not known to the reader until later, the echoes play out in her interactions with both Florence and Cvareh, as she searches for redemption and revenge. Cvareh is also an intriguing character, who has embarked on a seemingly impossible quest without all the tools he would need to accomplish it. The confidence and arrogance of Dragons come alive in him, though he has an open mind that really behooves him quickly in the story. Florence is someone who has not fully realized who she is and who she wants to become. While she works with Ari, she is still defining her own future, something that she becomes more aware of as the story continues. Her growth during the journey is the biggest of the three, and it will be interesting to see how she continues to grow in future books.

Themes around trust, power and abuse of power, the importance of self-determination, politics, and compassion were really thought-provoking. Magic here is power, and it is what has allowed the oppression of the Fenthri on Loom by the Dragons on Nova. Magic, however, is also transferable to an extent with great pain, and at times, death. The lengths that people will go to for this power is explored in a few contexts, as well as the connection that shared power can bring, and the pitfalls of its abuse. Self-determination is another theme with the regulations passed down by the Dragons limiting the possibility of such, with many patronizing connotations as well as practical issues. This has impacted the main characters in different ways and remains a major theme of the story throughout, as to whether and how they chart their own paths. The value of trust and compassion is another theme that shines through the dark elements of the story. Both could be weaknesses - but may also prove to be strengths.

What left me wanting more: While this is definitely something that strengthens in later parts of the story, the beginning is a bit tough to follow as there is so much that is new about this world. However, with the front and backmatter, it does become easier, though it requires some flipping. I would definitely recommend sticking with it, as the payoff is great for the latter half when it really hits its stride!

Final verdict: Enthralling and fantastical, THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM is a twisty and thought-provoking dark fantasy read. Highly recommend picking this up if you enjoy intricate world-building and compelling characters.
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