lex's Reviews > The Alchemists' Council

The Alchemists' Council by Cynthea Masson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2016-faves, fantasy-low

What to say? The Alchemists' Council is unlike any book I've ever read. It's strange and complicated and incredibly odd, but lovely.

First, to describe the premise a bit more in detail: Imagine that all life and existence stems from a powerful stone thing called the Lapis. In another dimension, the Alchemists' Council interprets this Lapis and thus affects the real world via the manuscripts they create. Those manuscripts and the words on them (written in ink created from the Lapis) can control the world! However, there is a Flaw in the Lapis, one that restricts Council control and gives the outside world free will. That Flaw is also the domain and purpose of the rebels, who seek to not only preserve it but to expand it. The plot begins when bees begin to disappear from the manuscripts and from the world, leading the Council to suspect rebel activity. There are several viewpoint characters, but Jaden - a new Initiate into the Council - is the most important, as she strives to unravel the mysteries of the Council, the rebels, and the Lapis.

In short, The Alchemists' Council is about words, academia, bees, free will, ethics, theory, and so much more. It's just so cool. (I forgot to add, the book is also so diverse! Love it.)

The worldbuilding is complicated as hell, as evidenced by that long paragraph explaining only a fraction of the premise and all its plots and problems. The world of the Council is so intricate and rich and immersive, unlike anything I've ever read before. The only quibbles I had with the novel are that there is so much information it sometimes becomes overwhelming (there are info-dumps that could be much more elegant), and that the plot and the world are so complex that I still don't understand some of it, or I'm not entirely convinced of some of it. I'm not sure whether it's one or the other or both at the moment.

Additionally, this is not a book for everyone. It's dense and slow and quiet - there are no huge events until the second half of the novel. It is more focused on the unraveling of secrets and relationships and pasts than it is advancing the plot in conventional, exciting ways. While I like this - I generally like slow books, and books about studying, lmao - I know many people won't.

Nevertheless, The Alchemists' Council left me reeling and disoriented but also awestruck and fascinated, and I really enjoyed it. If any of the above intrigues you, give it a try.
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Reading Progress

May 25, 2016 – Started Reading
May 25, 2016 – Shelved
May 25, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
May 25, 2016 –
page 3
0.67% "Every time I try to type what I'm thinking about this, I can't order my thoughts. Instead just imagine excited screaming. I hope I'm this pumped for the next 416 pages, lmao."
May 26, 2016 –
page 156
34.82% "This book is so insane, but in a great way."
May 26, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-faves
May 26, 2016 – Finished Reading
November 28, 2022 – Shelved as: fantasy-low

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