Review: The Alchemist of Loom by Elise Kova || Black markets ain’t never seemed so intriguing

The Alchemist of Loom

Loom Saga #1

Elise Kova

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Her vengeance. His vision.

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. 

Publisher: Keymaster press

Published: January 10th 2017



Trigger Warning





Cannibalism, Murder, Organ Trafficking, Ableist Language, Slavery

“It doesn’t matter who she was. It matters who she can become.” 

I wasn’t initially planning on reading this. But the price was good at the time, then I started looking up reviews and became intrigued. I mean, there’s dragons. And a cool main character. And a black market system selling dragon organs to give you dragon abilities. This sounds so cool. And it was.

In a world where people are separated based on what guild they are in, Arianna— known as the White Wraith, makes her living working in the black market where dragon organs are sold. When she’s sees a fallen dragon— Cvareh, before taking his organs, he offers her a boon in return for her helping him get back home. Insert Ari’s assistant Florance who is great at making explosives and we have an adventure.

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The wasn’t one moment where I was bored and the world is so vivid. A lot of action packed situations happen and there are so many other plot lines that all interconnect with each other. On occasion, we’ll get a villains POV or the assassin after the groups narrative and that’s a cool conceptletting the reader have a 360 on what’s happening, yet still keeping them in suspense.

But at the heart of this story is examining the abuse of power, of oppression, of subverting stereotypes, of women being in positions of power, of sexuality not being an issue, of taking back said power for the little guy.

And information isn’t infodumped, which I’d expect from a fantasy with such an expansive world-building. I can’t even accost that to this being a series, it just felt cleverly done. 

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“Progress was never meant to be stinted, and even failures weren’t to be destroyed.” 

There’s colorful dragons and factions and chimera’s, yet the characters themselves were the head of the story. Cvareh, the red orange? haired blue skinned dragon, was a bit of comic relief. With the air of royalty he had surrounding him and his comical love for fine clothes, he was a fun character. Florance, though sweet, wasn’t my favorite. She was so devoted to Ari and it was clear that they both cared for each other, but towards the end, Florance kind of irritated me.

the alchemist of loom fan art


It was Arianna who was the star of the show. Ruthless and lethal, she was amazing. Her past, while slightly mysterious, is told to us and it’s a bit sad. It’s a constant motivation and what makes her who she is today; I like that  this isn’t forgotten throughout the book. We have reasons for her prejudice towards dragons and it makes sense. She’s also a canon bisexual, which yes. 

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“She waited for him to say something more. The silence held ciphers of truths that lingered between them, written in a script that neither knew yet how to decipher. This would not be the moment they were given sound.” 

I wouldn’t count anything between Cvareh and Arianna as a romance, but there are hints at future development. I’m not sure if I’m aboard the train, but I’m kind of interested to see where this leads. Their bickering was fun to read about and being in each of their heads added to the experience.

We do get a few chapters from the POV of the villain(s) and instead of being bored, I kind of enjoyed it. The pacing was action packed and perfect, the characters were great and I had fun. I can’t wait to dive into the next book.


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