Andy Gavin's Reviews > The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi
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's review
Aug 08, 12

Read from July 29 to 30, 2012

Having recently read Baciqalupi's excellent Ship Breaker I thought I'd breeze through his fantasy novella — and breeze I did. Written in first person, yet with a bit of almost Arabian Nights allegorical style, this is a story about a world where all magic has consequences, specifically in that it feeds deadly bramble vines, causing them to choke and strangle the city. As usual for Baciqalupi the world building and the writing is first rate. This a very contained story with a small character count and a lot of focus so it isn't bogged down by some of The Windup Girl's problems. The mains are good too, but I did find the villains slightly contrived. Like many shorts there is a bit of a twist.

Overall, the vibe of the story is excellent, and this is conveyed through the skilled use of voice. A tasty snack indeed.

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