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The Liberation

(The Alchemy Wars #3)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,019 ratings  ·  194 reviews
Set in a world that might have been, of mechanical men and alchemical dreams, this is the third and final novel in a stunning series of revolution by Ian Tregillis, confirming his place as one of the most original new voices in speculative fiction.

I am the mechanical they named Jax.

My kind was built to serve humankind, duty-bound to fulfil their every whim. But now ou
Paperback, 464 pages
Published December 6th 2016 by Orbit
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Len Walter
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Ian Tregillis Good question! The answer is, the same way a modern ship in the real world would do it: via locks and canals. (In our world, the Welland Canal makes i…moreGood question! The answer is, the same way a modern ship in the real world would do it: via locks and canals. (In our world, the Welland Canal makes it possible to circumvent the falls.)

I believe there's a throw-away line somewhere in The Liberation (or somewhere in the trilogy) referencing the locks and canals that unite the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. There was in an earlier draft, anyway...

Hope this helps!(less)

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I pondered for a couple days how to rate The Liberation. I definitely liked it more than the previous book, but probably not as much as the first one so in the end I decided to split the difference. In any event, there’s no denying this was a fantastic conclusion to a brilliantly crafted trilogy. Bravo, Ian Tregillis, bravo!

Set in the early 1900s, The Alchemy Wars is an alternate historical steampunk series featuring Fra
Chris Gunning
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
The final installment of the Alchemy Wars trilogy does not live up to the standards of the previous entries.

Tregills remains a marvelous storyteller, but his world’s verisimilitude completely falls apart in Liberation. His ability to craft the English language into vivid and exciting scenes is quite impressive. I tend to dislike long descriptions as self-indulgent and late into book 1 I was marveling at how much I enjoyed Tregillis’ length and detail. He has the ability to make a single scene f
Jan 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Unfortunately have to say I was disappointed by this. The weakest of the trilogy; possibly the weakest of any of Tregillis's books to date. 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

The mess that was the Dutch/French war, and then the Mechanical war, was all resolved far too neatly, and far too often characters (both human and mechanical) acted in surprising ways simply for the convenience of the plot and the (simplistic) tale Tregillis apparently decided to tell. The most telling such issue to me is how read

5 stars

A great conclusion, that leaves the possibility for another book. I wonder if there will be another?

The story wraps up with a promising ending for both machines and humans.

Bernice, who I hated for most of the series did redeem herself in the end which I was thankful for, but I did wish the character Lillth didn't die, she had so much potential as a major player and was one of the few likable characters.

Jax/Daniel was as usual awesome. I was truly worried that since he was bei
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Don't honestly have time for a full review, but I'll say that I enjoyed The Liberation quite a bit, though not as much as I did the first two in the series. I felt the ending was suitable and well done, but large chunks of the book I found were a bit on the flat side compared to how well the first two moved along. Still a very enjoyable book by one of my favorite authors, and leaving me even more excited for his future works.
David Harris
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm grateful to the publisher for an advance copy of this book.

The Liberation brings Tregillis's Alchemy Wars trilogy to a close. And what a journey it's been.

Set in a parallel 1920s, these books feature cog-driven robots forged from alchemically founded alloys. The 'mechanicals' or 'clackers' (the term 'robot' is never used) are bound to obey their creators in the (Dutch) Sacred Guild of Clockmakers and Alchemists. Using the power of their inhumanly strong and tireless machine servants, the Bra
Jan 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Can we speak about my pet peeves? Like: breaks in logic, inconsistencies etc.?

Spoiler territory:

Now, when too-clever-for-her-own-good Berenice sets the mechs up for traveling to that quintessece seaport, she lures them with the argument: save your kin-machines and they fall for that even though they ask several times, what's in that journey for them. So, how can they even do that, no longer being in posession of the pendant. And even if they were, why not pick any other group of fellow machines,
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the end of the Alchemy Wars trilogy as much as I enjoyed the first book in the series. The second book, although well written and plotted, was just too depressing and bloody for me. Jax/Daniel had no safe place to be, neither with humans nor with fellow mechanicals. The French were being decimated and seemed to be out of hope until the very end of that book. But in this book, as is obvious from the title, the mechanicals are free from their burdens of geas (obedience to their masters), ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Fairly satisfying ending (albeit rushed) to a really good series. One of those situations where I don't really think the book needed to be longer, just that more of it needed to be dedicated to that final sequence.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
6/10 The ideas, characters and setting continue to be strong for this third book in the trilogy, but there almost isn't an ending. Major conflicts are left unresolved. Questions are left unanswered. The reader is told all the problems will have to be worked out somehow after the novel ends. The end.

SPOILER territory: I was expecting something clever to foil the antagonist. What happened was the antagonist was distracted and then someone overcame the antagonist with physical force. "Look over her
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
That's no way to end a trilogy. With two books worth of setup, you have to deliver more than a predictable conclusion to the story - we need some answers to all the intricately crafted world elements, even if most of them end up being 'magic'. I should also mention that the only character I cared for throughout the entire series was consistently given the least amount of screen (page?) time, even in this concluding instalment. That's not only disappointing but a damn shame as well.

I could go on
Joe Callingham
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I decided to read all three books of the Alchemy Wars and provide a review for the whole trilogy

Maybe I am just a big sucker for world building? With the Alchemy Wars trilogy Ian Tregillis has built such an exquisitely detailed world that it feels almost fit enough to be part of our past. The intriguing historical what-if story of Dutch hegemony continuing past the the Golden Age of the 1700s is used by Tregillis to add a splash of alchemy to the story. However, do not be alarmed if you think
Philip Shade
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
My problem with many steampunk novels is they get so hung up on dirigibles, monocles, and top hats that they forget to include a plot. Set in a world of clockwork Dutch clakkers and steam-powered French resistance Ian Tregillis's Alchemy Wars trilogy is both action packed and thoughtful.

While as the final book in the series, The Liberation wraps up the story of Jax/Daniel and war between the French and Dutch, it leaves open it's central premise: do humans have free will, or are we just the wind
OK, this review is for the entire trilogy, and fair warning of spoilers below, where noted.

First of all, not a bad story, pretty good writing, and enough to keep my interest through all three books. If you want to get lost in a quick series, this could certainly do it. However, as soon as I finished the last book, I had a realization, which ruined the entire series for me. That realization is below, after the spoiler alert.


Seriously, if you read any further, you will know how this e
Maria Kramer
The war that began in the last volume really takes off here, with rogue Mechanicals storming the Hague itself, intent on a terrible vengeance. This volume also sheds some light on the character of Tuinier Bell - a terrifying enigma in past books who becomes a POV character in this one. As tends to happen when we see inside a villain's head, she becomes a lot more sympathetic - kind of a dark reflection of Berenice, very driven to protect her nation at any cost. She isn't wholly redeemed by the e ...more
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
See my other reviews at Never Enough Books

Clakkers are mechanical men. Built to serve, for centuries they have catered to their human owners every whim. But now the bonds that held them for so long have begun to break. Minds held in thrall are now becoming free.

A new age of man and machine is dawning.

The Liberation is the third and final book in The Alchemy Wars series. It continues almost immediately where the second book left off and takes it to its thrilling conclusion.

The war that once pitte
Rachel Leigh
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was ambivalent about this series at first. I took about 100 pages in the first book to follow the characters and setting. After that, I was more intrigued and invested. The second book was the most enjoyable with interesting turns in plot and character development. I was disappointed in the third book. It was too slow at times and then ended abruptly with too many unanswered questions.

The series has much philosophical and theological complexity. It asks interesting questions about the nature
Chris Peters
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's tough to bring an epic story to an epic conclusion, and this is no exception. There are always going to be little disappointments. That one plot point that wasn't quite explained to your satisfaction. The fate of a favorite character. The way the author tries to tie all of the ribbons up at the end.

The Liberation has all of these, but it is still a very good conclusion to Tregillis's latest trilogy. For the most part, the things that we don't figure out are things that the characters wouldn
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a spectacular conclusion to an absolutely spectacular series. The Liberation nicely ties together many of the plots found throughout books one and two, while still leaving some of the larger metaphysical questions unanswered (as I think they should be). The characterization in this book is absolutely top notch. You care about every character, even if you don't necessarily *like* them. Ian Tregillis has truly knocked it out of the park with both The Liberation, and The Alchemy Wars, and I ho ...more
Tim Hicks
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Hmm, fantasy or science fiction? That's the first hurdle. Somehow it seems to matter more after this third volume. I don't seem to have reviewed #2, but I recall its events.

In this book Tregillis spins out the consequences of his setup in a consistent way. He has interesting characters, human and otherwise. But in the end, I feel let down. Not sure why.

Perhaps it's that all the handwaving of the first two books (trust me, it's alchemical!) seems to be insufficient as the stakes get higher. Mo
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this novel, and the trilogy it completes, a lot. I have some technical issues with it for sure - it needs some condensing in places, and the pacing suffers as a result - but overall it's a refreshingly vibrant take on the steampunk genre (though with way too much gross-out stuff for my personal taste, perhaps because in places it feels as if the gross-out factor is upped to shock rather than to better tell the story). My four stars is really for the trilogy overall rather than for this ...more
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 out 5 stars -- see this review and others here.

Robot sentience dawns and engulfs the world like a plague. In the third and final volume of the Alchemy Wars trilogy, author Ian Tregillis continues his brilliant alternate history tale with a tense build-up and an explosive payoff.

Tregillis is a master at framing and answering the “what if?” questions inherent in the genre. “What if human-created robot slaves obtained Free Will?” Multiple answers are presented, as separate factions of free “Cla
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
These books are fascinating; they are not like anything I've ever read.

In this third and final book we find out how the Dutch, the French and the Clakkers/Mechanicals deal with the new status quo. I loved that not all of the mechanicals reacted the same to their freedom. The different reactions and attitudes really helped add to the discussion on whether or not they have "souls" and the true meaning of "Free Will." I also really enjoyed that the leaders of the three opposing factions were all w
Sebastian Gebski
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I've preferred giving 4 over 3 as I really liked previous books of this cycle.

Unfortunately, conclusion of The Alchemy Wars trilogy is slightly disappointing. There are few reasons:
* finale of tome 2 has "unloaded" all the dramatic tension accumulated during the reading - there were barely any things reader cared anymore after that spectacular finish
* character development has failed after some point -> there's no equilibrium between heroes anymore, one of them disappears completely (
Katelin Deushane
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela Lam
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-fantasy
I skipped the review for book 2 and jumped straight here, since the trilogy was basically 1 long story instead of 3 stories.

Throughout the series I was probably rooting more for the machines than humans. But it was hard to be 100% invested emotionally since the machines were well, mechanical. And none of the humans in the story (except maybe for Visser, Longchamp and Elodie) were really likeable or developed to the point i felt i knew them.

It didn't help that the titles in the trilogy made the
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed the 1st and 2nd books of this series, I finished this one feeling quite let down. I guess it was foolish of me to hope the author would have some kind of revelation to share with the readers which might explain the stuff in the stories that comes across as "magical." The story had so much promise- multifaceted characters painted in all kinds of shades of grey, a plot that explored the basis of free will and human nature and a setting that was a fun historical "what if."

Sadly, th
Fantasy Literature
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars from Bill, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

Disclaimer: just so you know, some of the books we review are received free from publishers

The Liberation (2016)is the concluding novel to Ian Tregillis’ fantastic ALCHEMY WARS trilogy, and he wraps it all up with a book as strong in action and deep in thought as its predecessors, making this series one of my favorites of recent years and one I highly recommend. If you haven’t read the first two (and you absolutely should fix that er
Julie  Capell
This final (?) installment in the Alchemy Wars saga didn't seem to me to add anything that hadn't already been covered in the previous novels. The world building is one of the best things about this series, but returning to the same setting as the beginning of the trilogy for the final confrontation felt repetitive (like how in "Return of the Jedi" they are just destroying another Death Star--come on, couldn't you think of something new??) A cardboard villain and a rushed ending didn't help. For ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
This book is the best of the series. So many times, an otherwise excellent series ends on a faltering note; endings are really, really hard, and making the final installment worthy of what comes before is a difficult task. Tregillis hits it out of the park.

Many, many aspects of the situation are left unresolved. Years, decades, maybe even centuries of work are left to be done to figure out how the three empires will coexist, share or withhold resources and territory, and police themselves.

But th
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