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(Lord Alchemist Duology #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  442 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The Lord Alchemist must be immune to hostile potions. But in all the country, there are only two known immunes: Iathor Kymus, the Lord Alchemist, and his feckless brother, Iasen.

Kessa is a half-barbarian herb-witch, arrested for crimes she didn't quite intend. But when Iathor discovers her immunity to truth potions, he'll do whatever he must to court her -- guilty or not,
ebook, 1
Published February 24th 2012 by
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Chelly Madock Elizabeth McCoy never put in specific ages so my (very rough) guess based on information from the books:
Kessa is... old enough to have finished her …more
Elizabeth McCoy never put in specific ages so my (very rough) guess based on information from the books:
Kessa is... old enough to have finished her apprenticeships and become a tradeswoman? She and her siblings wouldn't have been able to afford youth potions but no gray hair or wrinkles are mentioned for them. So she's... mid 20s?
Iathor is old enough to have hints of gray in his hair but not have wrinkles. Youth potions keep the body young, so wrinkles are significantly delayed, but they don't work as well on hair (I interpreted "as well" to mean they do delay graying somewhat, so even if he would have grayed early I added an arbitrary +10 years to early graying). It's also mentioned that Iathor's probably twice her age, or more. So 40? 50? older?
Crucible mentions previous Princeps and Emperors "who could reach a century in age easily, and expect another as their due, if naught but poison attempted to befall them." So there is a pretty big range of age that they could be, but I'm guessing Iathor is in the lower half of that range if only based on when Iathor met the clearly older current Princeps (noting that the youth potions were no longer able to keep wrinkles from him or restore color to his hair).(less)

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Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book- if I had two words to describe it- oh hell two phrases: interesting concept with huge doses of frustrating frustrating!

So, Kessa and Iathor.

Kessa is a low class gutter raised "herb witch". She has a chip on her shoulder approximately the size of the universe. She's ugly and has vomit spit dog shit eyes I tell you! I probably shouldn't tell you that though because you will be reading that phrase and variations of about a billion times to describe her eyes and also everyone's re
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book, and bought the second one from my Kindle the second I clicked the last page. Then I spent the next three weeks telling people about it in person and trying to decide how to write the reviews.

So here's what I told people:
It's got an interesting and well-realized world, with the feeling like we are only seeing a very small part of a much bigger map. The character motivations are not baffling or arbitrary, which one might be more tolerant of if it were being sold as a roma
Not sure what I want to say about this one. I kind of like it, but at the same time there's a lot I'm ambivalent about and it has a fair share of problems. I think I shall link to this 3 star review which pretty much sums up a lot of my thoughts without having to repeat them. ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I honestly rarely have good expectations of works that are not published through major publishers. They're usually poorly edited, oddly plotted, and generally either not ready for market or plain bad. However, this book was *excellent*. It was well edited, nicely plotted, thoroughly interesting, and just a darn good read. I wouldn't advertise it as a mystery, or a love story, precisely, though it's technically both of those things. It's a good tale, with a nicely detailed fantasy world. I would ...more
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it
This was pretty good. I like that the main characters aren't some over tan, super buff surfer dudes and siren sex kittens. You know? Like actual people. Normal, real messed up people. What? Original character development? Say it ain't so. Length was good. Editing was good. The flow of the novel didn't feel rushed or too long. The plot was well developed and played out without feeling like you were being led through the scenes or manipulated. This one was a little much for the younger Tweens- and ...more
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I went into this story on the recommendation of another author that I read. I found this world rich and vibrant and thoughtful. There is the temptation in fantasy to handwave the difficulty of painkillers, sanitation, FOOD, and this book delivers stunning worldbuilding in this regard. I have a high opinion of the protagonist and her circle, her struggles are interesting and engaging to the reader. the other characters are nicely drawn and I enjoyed reading it. Working on the second one at a seda ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
All things considered, I very much enjoyed this book. Our MCs are very likeable: Kessa is prickly but fiercely loyal and loving, and Iathor is Trying His Best and also wants to make sure you're eating enough? Very Hufflepuffy all around.

What did not sit well with me were a couple things that had to with female sexuality: the idea of "virgin blood" and these sterilized elite female soldiers from another country that are "wom[e]n in birth only," like??? I guess I'm willing chalk these things up to
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read, 2019
This book was delightful!

I kept saying "I'M SO CONFUSED" through most of it - even as it was so engaging. I even found myself reading it, waiting at (very long, very familiar) red lights.

I loved Kessa - she's SO DAMN SNARLY. And anyone - ANYONE would be blessed to have her as a friend/someone she considers family.
How Kessa describes her eyes breaks my heart though. I also can't picture them at all - but also like, I don't want to?

[Also the imagery in this book ... specifically the color ~schem
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Frankly, I loved it. I read it rather quickly- much quicker than I usually read books. The characters were memorable and sympathetic. The plot was fast-paced and kept me wanting to find out what happens next. The worldbuilding is fantastic, as well; as a fantasy world, there was the potential for a lot of confusion and "world mechanics" that were poorly explained. That did not happen; the explanations of "magic" and alchemy were well-covered, and in a way that felt natural to the plot, as well. ...more
Nov 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, heroine-chic
There is a good story here, and many parts of it are quite interesting. I enjoy books like this one that start out with a major event already unfolding. Unfortunately, the author seems to be obsessed with menstruation to a degree that distracted from the story. Maybe this was intended to be an original take on alchemy? If I could edit out 90% of the bleeding, I would rate this 4 stars. I was also a bit annoyed that the title of the second book didn't leave much doubt as to whether or not the Lor ...more
Gareth Ellzey
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Proposing to the inmate of a dungeon upon first acquaintance is a little peculiar to the proposee, who happens to be an herb-witch. The rest of the story is solidly based in world-building, character development, a dash of mystery, a sprinkle of fantasy/alchemy/magic, and a dab of romance. I totally enjoyed it.
Teresa Carrigan
Excellent fantasy. Highly recommended. I don't give five stars very often.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think that if you like Tamara Pierce or Marion Zimmer Bradley you will find much to like in this book. This is the first book I have read from this author but I plan to read others.
Sep 09, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indie
I can forgive the ugly cover, but I can't get past the ugly writing.
A pity, the synopsis intrigued me a lot.
Chelly Madock
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
TL;DR review: Wow this book was amazing, but also a bit niche. Try the half book sample from smashwords to decide if it's your niche or not. (Also, it's a duology so if you do like it, you'll need both books for the full story)

Full review:
Herb-Witch has really enjoyable world-building. The book isn't rapidly paced, which I felt fit well with the medieval setting and enjoyed, but I know others found the pace too slow. It takes place in a world where alchemy and herb witchery (like alchemy, but w
Andie Cranford
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Review for both books of the duology

The story is told in 3rd-person and the POV swings between Kessa Herbman, an ugly-eyed "half-barbarian" girl who is a herb-witch journeyman in the Alchemist Guild system and Iathor Kymus the Lord Alchemist, head of the, you guessed it, Alchemist Guild.

Through a series of (un)fortunate events, it comes to Iathor's attention that Kessa is the only woman immune to the witchy/alchemical potions in this world. As all Lord Alchemists have to be immune and he wants h
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
exceptionally beautiful, gritty and just so engrossing!
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fans of Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study will enjoy this book. I did. The world building leaves many different possibilities to explore in future stories. The break point between Book 1 and 2 was more abrupt than I expected, but the combination wraps up the immediate tale, setting the stage for more Kymus family adventures.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a little hard to follow at the beginning, but I stuck with it and was glad I did. A fun, quick read.
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. Bought Herb-Wife as soon as I'd finished it, knowing I wanted to read the rest of the story.

Iathor Kymus, the Lord Alchemist, has been searching for a woman who is immune to alchemy so that his sons will have a high chance of also being immune and thus eligible to inherit his position. His current heir, his brother Iasen, has shown no interest as yet in the role.

Kessa is part barbarian, with dark skin and hair, and ugly eyes, to the exten
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Never resolved anything... and ended awkwardly

The while story, I kept waiting for the next stage of the story, or the next stage of their relationship, or for the action and treats to turn into something more intense, but.........nothing! It ended up as a long, drawn out, almost interesting, road to nowhere. I was disappointed! I actually started liking the characters and wanted to keep reading because I wanted to see what happened. Problem was, nothing ever did.....and the it ended! So disappoi
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romantic-fantasy
Herb-Witch and Herb-Wife (the two novels in the Lord Alchemist duology) are the kinds of novels I like but have a hard time finding - fantasy with a strong romantic storyline. A gripping storyline - Who is after Kessa? Will she ever be able to reconcile the life she knows with what Iathor offers her? - with strong characters, who are sympathetic if not perfect or always likable, in a unique and interesting world with a unique and interesting magic system.
Elizabeth McCoy
Feb 24, 2012 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: author, fantasy
The Goodreads link to B&N isn't working because the ISBN isn't showing up at B&N for some reason, and the link searches on ISBN, not title/author. (I'm working on poking people about the lack of ISBN.) finds it, though.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks
I thought this was just going to be a frivolous romance in a charming setting, but it turned out to be much more interesting than that. Well-constructed "world", interesting characters, fascinating plot.
Apr 17, 2012 marked it as to-read
This book is not available for the Nook. I'd like to read it but I don't buy from Amazon. Too bad, it looks good.
Feb 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Could not finish this. It has the makings of an interesting relationships drama, but as the plot has not developed anywhere after 2/3 of the pages, I feel no desire to return to this.
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
It had an awesome heroine...
She knew what she was about
Megan Ringenbach
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
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Lord Alchemist Duology (2 books)
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