The Alchemist’s Kiss by AR DeClerck

The Alchemists KissSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

London 1869

A dark wizard has arrived in London, at exactly the time unrest among the non-magical community is coming to a head. London is under the protection of wizard and alchemist Icarus Kane and his loyal friends Cora Mae Jenkins and Archimedes Merriweather, and together they must chase down the threat while dodging the riots and the angry poor along the way. Icarus has no use for science, but there will be no escaping it as the aether, the very heart of magic, is threatened. All of London may perish if the dark wizard gets his way, and Icarus could lose his best friend and his lover in the battle. All the world could be destroyed under the tide of the oncoming storm unless Icarus can face his own power and embrace his inner darkness.

I loved this book. It’s been a while since I’ve read steampunk, and this book drew me right back into the tech. And quite took my breath away, truth be told. A simple premise at first glance, The Alchemist’s Kiss carries far more depth than I expected. Despite knowing I was only 25, 50, 75 per cent through the book, I kept thinking “surely this is the endgame?”… and then being delighted to find yet another twist to the story.

Icarus Kane and Cora Jenkins make for two fabulous main characters, and an excellent cast of supporting characters surround them. To me, this is a tale of romance, intermingled with the age-old fight between good and evil, as well as an expert analysis of technological progress. Each of these elements is a well rounded thread wending through the tale, and the conclusions of each are decisive. And I really loved (sorry, I can’t find a better word, really) the way in which love was a key player in the outcome of events through the book.

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