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Gunpowder Alchemy

(The Gunpowder Chronicles #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  542 ratings  ·  143 reviews
In 1842, the gunpowder might of China’s Qing Dynasty fell to Britain’s steam engines. Furious, the Emperor ordered the death of his engineers—and killed China’s best chance of fighting back…

Since her father’s execution eight years ago, Jin Soling kept her family from falling into poverty. But her meager savings are running out, leaving her with no choice but to sell the la
Kindle Edition, 287 pages
Published November 18th 2014 by InterMix
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K.J. Charles The author said on Twitter that rights have reverted, so the series isn't available now but she will be self publishing, hopefully in September. …moreThe author said on Twitter that rights have reverted, so the series isn't available now but she will be self publishing, hopefully in September. (less)

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Average rating 3.64  · 
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Sherwood Smith
A couple of decades back, I attended a martial arts tourney for tai chi students, at which one of the judges was a woman visiting from China, her tiny daughter in tow. This was before tai chi became popular, and at least in my area (I had a thirty mile drive to the studio) it was mostly men who studied it. So after the tourney, because we were two of the few women present, I fell into conversation with the female judge. Her English was good and she seemed to be glad to describe how she'd come to ...more
K.J. Charles
I have a love-hate relationship with steampunk, which is basically that in theory I ought to love it (alt Victorian fantastic worlds! Gaslight and shadows and plots!) but in practice I rarely do. Hence this novel has languished in the furthest reaches of my ereader for years. Which should teach me, because I loved it. (It is really noticeable that all the steampunk I've liked has been written by romance authors. Does mainstream steampunk's concentration on justifying implausible things made of c ...more
Althea Ann
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it
If you're looking for a G-rated YA romance set in 19th-century China - this is the book for you.
I see from the author's bio that she's known for her historical romances with a Chinese setting. If you liked those, I'm sure you'll like this one as well. However, I was persuaded to read this by the touted 'steampunk' angle - and in that, I was disappointed. All of the 'steampunk' elements in this book could easily have been inserted with half an hour's editing of a completed manuscript. None of the
Krista Claudine Baetiong
Interesting story set during the Opium War, great characterization and character development. I normally don't read steampunk novels but I have to say I enjoyed this a lot. ...more

I’ve finally decided to stop hoarding Jeannie Lin books and read the few I’ve yet to start. Sob. What will I do when I run out of Lin books?
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was pretty fucking great.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What does loyalty mean? What price does it take when a man is loyal to saving his Empire but at the cost of his sovereign's pride? What is more important in the end? Upholding an illusion ingrained in a people for centuries at the cost of their lives or destroying that illusion as a price to save those lives?

Steampunk! Politics! Opium! Romance! Engineering I don't understand! Guys welcome to Jeannie Lin's new series the Gunpowder Chronicles. Before I go further and so we're all clear on this,
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review posted on Got Fiction? book blog

4.5 stars

When this came across my inbox, I saw 2 things that made me click YES! Jeannie Lin, and Steampunk.

There’s no blurb up, at least not one that tells much, so I went in fairly blind. All I knew was that it would be set in China during the Opium Wars (Boxer Rebellion), and it was a Steampunk.

That was enough for me. And it was such a fantastic read!

I’d probably classify this as a Steampunk Adventure, rather than a Steampunk Romance, only because the r
I already knew I loved steampunk romance, but I’d never read steampunk romance set outside the Western world until this book. And it’s awesome! Set in an alternate version of China’s Qing dynasty (mid-1840s), Gunpowder Alchemy is full of political machinations and gunpowder engines and fun widget-y machines. It’s hard to tell who is good and who is bad--I love books that explore the gray areas of loyalty and morality. And while the romance takes a back seat here to the action and adventure, I re ...more
Nov 18, 2014 rated it liked it
ARC courtesy of NetGalley

2.5 Set in mid 19th century China, with some mechanical elements that suggest a steampunk world, although the society doesn't seem impacted much by the technology. Or is it that I just don't know enough about 19th century China to see the differences between it and this purportedly steampunk world?

Jin Soling and her family were once members of aristocratic Manchurian society, but after her engineer-father is executed (taking the blame for China's defeat at the hands of t
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
While Jeannie Lin admits to taking some liberties this historical, alternative fiction captures the atmosphere and customs of the period while weaving in steampunk fantasy. Beautifully descriptive from opium addiction to gunpowder-powered ships I completely slipped into this world.

Eight years ago, the Emperor executed Jin Soling’s father an engineer when he spoke out for the need to learn and progress like their enemies. His name was stricken from the history books and Jin and her family were ba
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

In fairness to this book, I was reading this as my gym read, and I do worry that I'm not quite able to give a book my full attention when I'm huffing and puffing and sweating like a mo-fo which on the elliptical.

On the other hand, if I'm enjoying a work-out read it tends to get elevated to a main read - such as the case with Cinder which I recently started while working out and then quickly elevated and ended up really enjoying.

So, really, I'm trying to make excuses for the book, but maybe it
Jessie H.
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5 Stars.

*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm a bit conflicted on this one. I loved that this book was Steampunk and set in China. I LOVED that! It is fresh and exciting! The balance between the technology and the historical parts fit together well and was totally believable. The opium side plot is fascinating and I really want to know how that figures into the rest of the series.

The characters were believable and complex and j
*Source* NetGalley
*Genre* Historical Fiction, Steampunk
*Rating* 4.0

*My Thoughts*

Gunpowder Alchemy is the first installment in The Gunpowder Chronicles by author Jeannie Lin. This series is a mixture of steampunk and historical elements that took place after China's first Opium Wars with the west. In 1842, China’s Qing Dynasty quickly fell to Britain’s steam engines and was forced into agreements that allowed the English to have complete access to major ports. Furious, the Emperor ordered the dea
Laura (Kyahgirl)
2.5/5; 3 stars; B

So much potential here and really tidy, competent writing but the characters and the plot didn't touch me enough to want to continue with the series. I'll definitely try another book by this author though because I think she might be someone I really enjoy reading.
Jaymee Goh
I can see why this didn't take off like it should have--it refuses neat genre categories: it's too slow to be an action adventure book, the romance is complicated by a history of betrayal and duty, the steampunk is deeply rooted in Chinese technological history. Nonetheless, where these might be flaws for people expecting something to more closely fit their expectations of a particular genre, these are actually the strengths of the novel. I found myself wanting to re-read several passages and fo ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
When most steampunk fantasy takes place in an Anglo-Saxon, predominantly British setting, Gunpowder Alchemy mixes steampunk and a vivid, original Chinese setting. All the familiar elements of steampunk are present, except for one: an English (specifically Victorian) environment. There is definitely a place in steampunk for different cultural and historical settings, and this book demonstrates that very well.

The world is absolutely unique to the genre, given the Anglo-Saxon world’s predominance i
All Things Urban Fantasy
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

One of the best things about GUNPOWDER ALCHEMY is the fact that the worldbuilding takes place in China during the Qing Dinasty. I so rarely read books predominately set in Asia so it was refreshing to see steampunk mixed in with Chinese customs and history. I enjoyed seeing some of that culture play a role in the fast paced plot such as the Opium Wars, arranged marriages, and mentions of foot-binding.

Along with this being a historical fiction filled wi
Talk Supe
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
GUNPOWDER ALCHEMY has so much to offer from beginning to end, the pace was fast but not hurried, just enough time to feel things out. There are a substantial amount of characters but JLin didn't parade them like it's a pageant, we actually get to have adequate time with each important player, get a their vibe, and position them accordingly in the story. I do find the reunion part very interesting between Soling and her father's former team and the anecdotal stories shared about her parents and S ...more
disappointing compared to her others; that might have been because I was expecting a romance rather than a steampunk adventure. great setting, but lacked the strong, complex character development I expected.
Nov 18, 2014 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Angela by: Meljean Brook
When Meljean Brook says a steampunk book has "fantastic" worldbuilding - I'm sold.

Must get.
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: adelynne

Gunpowder Alchemy
Opium War, Book #1
By Jeannie Lin
Author’s website:
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Adelynne


Since her father’s execution eight years ago, Jin Soling kept her family from falling into poverty. But her meager savings are running out, leaving her with no choice but to sell the last of her father’s possessions—her last memento of him.

Only, while attempting to find a buyer, Soling is caught and brought before the
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This joint review was originally published at The Book Pushers

E: I have enjoyed reading Lin in the past so when I saw she was starting a new series I was extremely curious. Reading the blurb made me even more curious since Lin seemed to be combining several interesting historical elements, some culturalisms, a determined woman, and social change. I enjoyed the combination and the subdued slow growing romance threaded through the story.

Marlene: I have also enjoyed reading Lin in previous outings.
My only complaint about this book is that (at least in my copy) there was a weird continuity error that made things very confusing for me. Soling was reflecting that she couldn't stop thinking about her first kiss, and I was like "whaaaat? when did they kiss and how did I miss that?! I have to go back and find that scene right now!", but after a lot of fruitless searching and rereading I finally established that the first kiss doesn't actually occur until two chapters later. I guess that line so ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such a great read - I absolutely love Jin Soling: her courage and strength of mind, her skills and her compassion. I look forward to reading the sequel.
I love steampunk fiction, so when I came across Gunpowder Alchemy on NetGalley, I downloaded it immediately. Happily, this one did not disappoint. Despite the fact that this one did not have the highest level of steampunk elements that I’ve seen in the genre, I fell in love with the unique setting. There are a lot of steampunk books out there, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across one that not only features Asian characters, but an Asian setting as well.

I’m not Asian, so I can’t speak about th
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Originally posted at SmexyBooks-

Favorite Quote: The empire rewarded loyalty by asking even a greater sacrifice. And it kept asking and demanding more until there was nothing left to give.

Jin Soling’s father was a skilled engineer in the employ of the Emperor of China. When he and his fellow engineers were unable to halt the British invasion in 1842, the Emperor rewarded their failure with death and stripped their families everything. Soling has spent the l
Dec 01, 2014 added it
During the first Opium War, China suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the British Royal Navy. The treaty that followed led to rebellion uprising against an already unpopular regime. In her novel Gunpowder Alchemy, Jeannie Lin reimagines this period of 1842, introducing steampunk elements. She hasn’t altered history (just yet). The Qing Navy is still outclassed by the British, but in her world, it’s engine against engine, gunpowder against steam. She also delves inside the revolution th ...more
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book for free through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review in any way.

Okay, so I am behind in reviewing this. Like, way way behind. But there's a reason.

I just couldn't get into it.

I loved the world that Lin created - the steampunk elements are so perfectly entwined with the Chinese society of the time, that I could easily believe it's all true. I would definitely be interested in reading more books like this, with Steampunk el
FV Angela
Review originally posted at

I’ve seen recommendations for Jeannie Lin’s historical romances all over Twitter and Goodreads, but haven’t actually had a chance to read her yet. When I saw that her first book in a new steampunk romance series was available for review I thought this would be the perfect way to introduce myself to her storytelling.

Jin Soling is our heroine and since her engineer father was put to death by the Emperor her family has been barely
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 26, 2016 08:11AM  

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USA TODAY Bestselling author Jeannie Lin grew up fascinated with stories of Western epic fantasy and Eastern martial arts adventures. When her best friend introduced her to romance novels in middle school, the stage was set. Jeannie started writing her first romance while working as a high school science teacher in South Central Los Angeles. After four years of trying to break into publishing with ...more

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The Gunpowder Chronicles (2 books)
  • Clockwork Samurai (The Gunpowder Chronicles, #2)

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