A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1)
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A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #1)

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3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  795 ratings  ·  300 reviews
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 transfor...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2013)
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From Paris to Eternity by Clio FreyaDie for Me by Amy PlumA Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel SchwarzConfessions of a Paris Party Girl by Vicki LesageEiffel's Tower by Jill Jonnes
Eiffel Tower on the Cover
3rd out of 47 books — 36 voters
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2nd out of 100 books — 15 voters


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Community Reviews

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Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
A Conspiracy of Alchemists is a surprisingly fun debut, a wonderful blend of steampunk, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. It’s perfect for fans of Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series. The worldbuilding may be slightly inferior in comparison, but that’s only because Meljean Brook is the untouchable queen of the genre. Leisel Schwartz did not disappoint with her fabulously imaginative world full of alchemists, Nightwalkers, absint fairies and warlocks. The steampunk elements were great (gyrocopte...more
Snuggles with Rainbows
Oh how painful this book was. Sorry guys I’m too cranky to make this a long, and drawn out affair. So this will be a short and hopefully civil review.

Let’s cut to the chase, so here is the run down on all its shortcomings:

1. The main character is SO boring. She has no personality what so ever. The people around her were more fun than her. It would have been kind of nice if this was Ernest Hemingway doing his fly-on-the-wall story thing…but it’s not and this was lame at best.

2. The story was just...more
PhoenixFantasy
This keeps happening to me lately. The blurb of a book sounds absolute genius, but the book itself falls far short of the mark. I’m the first to admit that the publishing world often baffles me, and I could be miles out here, but I’m assuming that the marketing wiz writes the blurb? Seems to me, more and more, that the blurb wizmasters should be the ones doing the writing.

In fairness, I’ve read a lot worse, but as a Steampunk fan who enjoys the likes of Carriger, Priest and KW Jeter, this really...more
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Okay, I give up.

I made a resolution this year to give each book that I begin a fair chance and read at least 50 pages before dropping it. I was literally counting the pages until I could put this book down. It isn't that this book was bad technically, per se, but it was incredibly boring. So boring that I had a hard time focusing and getting through the story. So boring that I cared not at all about any of the characters that we met. ::sigh::

It is such a shame because I had high hopes for this...more
Lucinda
A dazzling debut novel that delicately interweaves past & present magnificently, creating something refreshingly original and exciting!

Cleverly crafted and indisputably exceptional this inspired novel astonished me, with its distinctiveness and imaginative vision. Entwining acute historical detail with elements of nineteenth-century gothic fiction, in addition to a classy contemporary twist makes this a most evocatively atmospheric work. Spectacular steampunk embellished with impassioned ro...more
AH
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars. A fun steampunk debut novel.

I’ll admit it. I’m intrigued by all things steampunk. Having heard some great things about this debut author, I just had to read this book. I was drawn to the lovely cover – The Eiffel Tower, airships, strange runes – the book looked like it was full of win for me. I was not disappointed.

I adored the world created by this author. Set in both France and England at the turn of the 20th century, the story follows a young woman named El...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I was desperate for a book that would let me escape from life for a while, and had downloaded this from NetGalley. It is a perfect blend of steampunk fantasy based in just enough historical detail that you can almost believe the faeries and nightwalkers, Alchemists and Oracles. The reader also gets to travel from Paris to Oxford to Vienna to Istanbul, so add this to the list of books I'll read this year that have a tie to Turkey!

The main character is Elle Chance, a female airship pilot in a time...more
Booknut
Rating: 4.9

'When I was young and living among my people, the Dryad, I once had a different name. But that was many years ago, at a time when anise and wormwood were nothing more than plants that made up my world. A time before sacred dreams could be bought for a few sugar cubes.

I knew from the moment I saw her she would offer salvation. But salvation often comes at a price.'



Meet Eleanor “Elle” Chance - airship pilot and and daughter of the famous spark-reactor scientist.

Flying airships is a ris...more
Heidi
Three and a half stars: A smart blend of steampunk, historical and paranormal.

Elle is anxious to board her airship and be on her way. Her friend Patrice corners her in the tea shop and asks her to transport a small box for him. He is tight lipped about the contents of the box. Her payment is a lovely diamond bracelet that Elle snaps on her wrist, only to find that the clasp won't undo. A small absinthe fairy, immediately flies into the bracelet and takes up residence inside the diamonds. Elle fi...more
Sarah
Elle is not your average young lady, she isn't interested in ball gowns or finding the perfect husband and would much rather be independent. She loves to fly and ever since training as a dirigible pilot she has enjoyed travelling across Europe in the ship she is so proud of. When she is employed to carry a mysterious item from Paris back to London she suddenly finds herself caught up in a battle between the Alchemists and Warlocks. Both sides are determined to get hold of her cargo and they will...more
Jeffrey
A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz is another in a recent spate of alternate history steampunk fantasies. I have not been disappointed with these offerings.

Elle Chance, a pilot of an airship, raised by her famous inventor father, is swept up in the war between the light and the dark. Her father has been kidnapped by agents of the shadow. She wants him back. Of course, it is not chance that Chance is swept up in events, as she, unbeknownst to herself, has a magical birthright of immense...more
Christal
See this review and others like it at BadassBookReviews.com!

I was originally drawn to his book because of the stunning cover, but A Conspiracy of Alchemists proved to be a really fun start to this new steampunk series. Liesel Schwarz has created a novel filled with quirky and humorous characters. It seems like they could fill many more books with the troubles… I mean adventures… they are sure to find themselves in!

Eleanor “Elle” Chance was wonderful as the lead female character and I liked her i...more
Taylor
Two stars seems a little harsh for this book, but really was just OK. The book read like a first draft, not anything close to polished and ready to go out into bookstores. To be fair, I received an advance copy, and I'm sure that this is part of the problem. But there were too many plot holes and inconsistencies for me to ignore. Most of them weren't serious, but there were a lot of them and it detracted from the story.

The main characters have a very strange relationship: it's the typical "I lik...more
Dragana
Since A Conspiracy of Alchemists is Liesel Schwarz's debut novel I didn't know what to expect. The cover promised a lot of steampunk-ish goodness and that it will be set in Europe, Paris to be exact. I am glad to say that the book fulfilled all the promises and excited my expectations. It's rare to find a true steampunk novel these days. A lot of them seem like steampunk is added as an after-though to increase the sale - but that is not the case with A Conspiracy of Alchemists. This book is over...more
Lisa
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

Conspiracy of Alchemists is a refreshing change to the current spate of urban fantasy. As the first novel in what I hope will be a series, the readers are introduced to a unique world where steampunk and magic are mixed into a delightful universe. The heroine, Elle Chance, has a strength and vulnerability that I Iook forward to seeing develop as the character matures. I also enjoyed the way the major and minor suppor...more
Vincent Ripley
On a recent trip to Paris, I visited my favourite Parisian bookshop, Shakespeare & Company, situated in the breath-taking region of Notre Dame Cathedral. It was an especially welcomed visit on a particularly cold and rainy day. This was the first book that I selected fron the vast shelves of books. The cracking book cover first drew me in. However, it soon turned out to be a book that I particularly liked the sound of. Interestingly, the book begins in Paris in 1903 - that'sfate if you ask m...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: Elle’s hidden gift is all that can keep the world in balance and running from her destiny could prove more dangerous than embarrassing who she really is.

Opening Sentence: This was the place where people came to give their souls to fairies.

The Review:

Schwarz has created an amazing universe in this book. The world is divided into Light and Shadow. Everything in the Light believes only in science and solid fact while the Shadow is made up of a...more
Rayven
Steampunk as a genre itself has taken off like gangbusters and we have seen an influx of stories being published and not all of them good. However Steampunk author Liesel Schwarz has done a fantastic job with “The Conspiracy of Alchemists”. Keeping true to the genre this story is full of swashbuckling adventure, Intrigue, steam powered flying machines, myth and magic! What more could one ask for?

The story follows the spirited heroine Eleanor Chance, who is in a class all her own. Captain of her...more
Fangs for the Fantasy
Though society would much prefer that Eleanor Chance to remain docile, akin to all women of good breeding, Eleanor refuses to live such a confined life. Having turned her back on a making a good match at her debut, Eleanor now supports herself as a dirigible pilot transferring freight. Things were going well for Eleanor until Patrice, an acquaintance, arranged for Eleanor to fly a small package from France to England, much to the distress of Mr. Hugh Marsh. From the moment Hugh and Eleanor meet...more
Jaclyn
A Conspiracy of Alchemists is a steampunk novel. Elle Chance is a pilot and has come to Paris to transport some cargo via her regular contact, Patrice. The cargo turns out to be a mysterious box and it comes with a passenger, the irritating Mr. Marsh. Before she leaves Paris, Elle is attacked and rescued by Mr. Marsh leading them to race to England to evade the forces that have targeted Elle.

The world building in this novel was pretty interesting with fairies and other mythical creatures being...more
Jenea Whittington
This is the first in The Chronicles of Light and Shadow series, and it was a great start to a new Urban Fantasy and Steampunk series. This starts off with an action packed beginning, and I knew I was in for something that was going to be interesting and something that I would not want to put down.
We first our two main characters, Eleanor (Elle) and Hugh Marsh (Marsh), when Elle arrives in Paris to meet a prospective client. She has been hired to carry a couple parcels to England. Elle is inquisi...more
Brandy
Fantasy meets Steampunk meets Historical Fiction!

Eleanor "Elle" Chance doesn't live her life according to society's expectations. She would much rather be flying her airship and having adventures than finding a suitable match in fashionable London society and settling down. Little does she know that this latest job will turn her well-ordered, scientific world on its head. Accepting a job from Hugh Marsh, a mysterious member of the nobility, and an attempted kidnapping puts Elle in the middle of...more
Beth Cato
I received an advance reader copy of this book through NetGalley.

I've been reading a lot of steampunk, and have been disappointed by a number of titles. Some of them think throwing in a few airships and goggles is all the genre needs. This one hits the steampunk vibe just right; it's dark, it utilizes the technology, and it features a smart and savvy heroine who struggles against the expectations of propriety for a woman in her time. It's set in the Belle Epoch, only a few years into the 20th ce...more
Leanna
An enchanting read!

A Conspiracy of Alchemists really is a book that encompasses many genres: steampunk, historical fiction, romance, paranormal, fantasy, mystery, adventure... Where else can you find absinthe fairies, Alchemists, Warlocks, ancient goddesses, dirigibles, gyrocopters, Paris, Constantinople, The Shadow World, heartwarming romance and a good old-fashioned adventure?

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. I went solely on the title + cover, and the me...more
Sue
This book has it all and knows how to use it. A Conspiracy of Alchemists is a historical fantasy of the steampunk type where magic and science co-exist in a delicate balance. Romance, adventure and humor are also mixed in, and the overall effect is dazzling storytelling. The book begins in Paris with fairies who live in, and live on, the bottles of absinthe found in a bar run by a vampire. There are mysterious boxes, sinister strangers, scheming alchemists, flying machines, and Eleanor Chance--p...more
Tim Roast
The book starts off at a great pace with much intrigue surrounding a box that Eleanor (Elle) Chance, a female dirigible pilot, has been tasked with transporting. But straight away there is a chase as the box obviously contains something of value.

And after a rip-roaring start the pace slows a bit and Elle manages to escape to Oxford with her companions Patrice and Mr Marsh but finds out that her father has been kidnapped. Bit-by-bit, with the help (or hindrance) of Mr Marsh or Lord Greychester a...more
Francesca the Fierce (Under the Covers Book Blog)
3.5 Stars



The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover. I saw a huge posted at the Del Rey booth at Comic Con last year and immediately wanted to buy it, only to find out it wasn’t coming out until this year.

Could it be one of those cases where the cover misled me? Just a little. Even though the cover is very much representative of the story. And the story was very interesting. It just fell a little flat in some parts.

I’m a little confused as to how to classify the book to begin...more
Kimba (Caffeinated Book Reviewer)
I get a little nervous when someone says a book offers a blend of genres as nine times out of ten one of those genres suffer and usually it’s the one I bought the book for. So it was with trepidation that I began reading A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz. My fears were quickly put to rest as I slipped into this delightful steampunk fantasy wrapped in paranormal and historical elements. I found I could not put this action packed tale down and quickly consumed it.

The tale takes place in...more
a_tiffyfit
Disclaimer: Received from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

This was a fun, well-paced steampunk fantasy romance! I thought it was a strong start to a new series that I will be snatching as soon as available. It starts off with intrigue and action and keeps it up throughout the book. I loved the absinthe fairies and the inner monologue of Adele as she travels with Elle on her adventure.

I've always liked Wonder Woman and the archetype of strong, self-efficient feminin...more
Celeste
This was my first book finished in 2013 and what a way to start the new year. I absolutely loved this book. Liesel has captured the essence of Steampunk and given us a story full of adventure, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, travel and a little romance thrown in for good measure. Elle is a wonderfully capable protagonist. She a pilot and so very much more. I like the way her character grow so much in this first book of a trilogy. I can't wait to read the other two books. That is the one draw...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Add series description for "The Chronicles of Light and Shadow" 3 18 Aug 15, 2013 07:58AM  
Early review 1 17 Nov 04, 2012 10:54PM  
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6458963
Liesel Schwarz has an MA in creative writing and is currently completing her doctorate in English and creative writing at Brunel University.

A life-long fan of 19th Century Gothic literature, she is a hopeless romantic and loves Victorians, steampunk, fairies, fantasy monsters, the Fin de siècle, and the correct way to drink absinthe. She also likes Medieval stuff, pirates, zombies, space operas a...more
More about Liesel Schwarz...
A Clockwork Heart (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #2) Sky Pirates (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow, #3)

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“Of all the arrogant men in this world, you are possibly the worst.” 4 likes
“Their mouths met. The touch of his lips sparked an energy that plunged to the very depths of her. In that moment, she knew that this was the one kiss of her life. It was the touch of him she would remember forever. The kiss she would dream of when she was lonely. It was the kiss she would relive when she was alone. It would transcend the physical, the realms of Shadow and Light. All other kisses that followed, if there ever were any, would not compare.” 3 likes
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