*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*
This was another complex fantasy book in the series with a unique premise and some interesting characters, but I have to admit I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as the first one.
This series is turning out to be more epic than I generally like. I prefer to focus on one or a few characters so that I can get to know them and really connect with them. Since this was the second in a series, I was already connected to Rowena, Anselm, and The Alchemist, but their POVs only consisted of maybe half the book.
The other problem was all the description and explanation of the geography, the history of the world, settings, and machines that I just didn’t understand. I have a hard time concentrating, and history and geography were always my worst subjects.
But of course these are issues of personal taste, not things that make a book bad, and I can still appreciate that the world-building was complex and thought-out and that the POVs provided a lot of unique perspectives and a well-rounded view of the story.
And as I said, I really liked the three main characters. Anselm is especially interesting to me, very rakish and charming but with deadly claws (figuratively speaking). And the Alchemist, “sweet” is not a word most people would use to describe him, but that’s exactly how he is with Rowena. There’s also an adorable found family element between the three of them, especially between Rowena and the Alchemist.
This book also had more lanyani (tree creatures), so it was interesting to learn more about them, how they move and communicate and live and think.
Overall, this book skewed away from my own tastes a bit, but I still enjoyed the time I got to spend with the three main characters, and I think anyone who likes detailed world-building and an epic style with POVs on all sides of the story will enjoy this even more than I did!
Fans of Book 1 in Tracy Townsend's Thieves of Fate series. Anyone who likes alternate Earth fantasy worlds, scrappy underdogs, ex-mercs with soft sides, and cute character dynamics.
More Books in the Series:
An apothecary clerk and her ex-mercenary allies travel across the world to discover a computing engine that leads to secrets she wasn’t meant to know–secrets that could destroy humanity.
Eight months ago, Rowena Downshire was a half-starved black market courier darting through the shadows of Corma’s underside. Today, she’s a (mostly) respectable clerk in the Alchemist’s infamous apothecary shop, the Stone Scales, and certainly the last girl one would think qualified to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders a second time. Looks can be deceiving.
When Anselm Meteron and the Alchemist receive an invitation to an old acquaintance’s ball–the Greatduke who financed their final, disastrous mercenary mission fourteen years earlier–they’re expecting blackmail, graft, or veiled threats related to the plot to steal the secrets of the Creator’s Grand Experiment. They aren’t expecting a job offer they can’t refuse or a trip halfway across the world to rendezvous with the scholar whose research threw their lives into tumult: the Reverend Doctor Phillip Chalmers.
Escorting Chalmers to the Grand Library of Nippon with her mismatched mercenary family is just a grand adventure to Rowena until she discovers a powerful algebraic engine called the Aggregator. The Aggregator leads Rowena to questions about the Grand Experiment she was never meant to ask and answers she cannot be allowed to possess. With her reunited friends, Rowena must find a way to use the truths hidden in the Grand Library to disarm those who would hunt down the nine subjects of the Creator’s Grand Experiment, threatening to close the book on this world.