A CONSPIRACY OF ALCHEMISTS
Schwarz delivers an exciting mix of paranormal and steampunk fantasy in her debut novel. Elle’s love of flying is reminiscent of the relationship between pilot and ship often seen in space operas, and her fierce attitude is refreshing. Set in both Edwardian England and Paris, Schwarz’s universe is split between two worlds: The progressive, modern Light and the supernatural Shadow, a dark space filled with unusual and often threatening creatures. The dynamic between both worlds, along with Elle’s disbelief in the Shadow’s magic, propels the plot and sends readers on an immensely entertaining adventure.
English airship pilot Eleanor “Elle” Chance makes her living transporting freight across Western Europe, and when her docking agent, Patrice, offers her a well-paying job delivering a small, mysterious box from Paris to London for his colleague Mr. Marsh, she can’t say no to the seemingly simple gig. But after she’s robbed of the parcel and chased down by Parisian authorities — barely getting her ship off the ground in time — Elle knows there’s more to the box than she thought. After arriving at her home in Oxford to discover that her father, a respected scientist, has been kidnapped, Elle, Patrice and Marsh are determined to recover both Professor Chance and the missing box, even if it means dealing with the unsavory Nightwalkers who lurk within the realm of the Shadow. (DEL REY, Mar., 352 pp., $25.00)