I binge read the first two books of this series and read almost 900 pages in two days. That could have been painful, but Elise Kova is some sort of fantasy genius and she managed to keep me enthralled the whole time.
These books are serious fantasy—I called them the most fantastical of fantasies for a reason—there are complex magical worlds, highly developed societal systems and richly drawn characters. Sometimes books with such elaborate worldbuilding can be hard for me to connect to, but that was not at all the case here. I never felt like I didn’t know what was going on or how aspects of the world worked—somehow I understood it all, even though it was complex. Plus, Kova weaves such strong characters that it’s impossible not to be engaged in the story!
The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
Series: Loom Saga #1
Published by Keymaster Press on January 10th 2017
Source: Blog Tour
My content rating: Adult (Characters have sex but it's not shown, Some violence)
Her vengeance. His vision.
Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.
Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.
When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.
He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.
The first book in the series introduces us to the elaborate world of the Loom and to these amazing characters.
Ari is tough, smart, no-nonsense and a little bit distant. She looks at the world as a place to conquer and a puzzle to solve. She’s definitely one of those heroines who falls into the morally gray area—I wasn’t quite sure at the beginning of the book if I should be rooting for her or not! Cvareh is a Dragon (though not exactly the type of dragon you’re imagining—more human than that), which automatically makes him Ari’s enemy, but when he makes Ari an offer she can’t refuse she begrudgingly decides to work with him. The tension between these two makes the entire book—both the dramatic tension and the romantic tension!
Ari and Cvareh find themselves on the run from powerful dragons, and the action in this book is unrelenting. There are plenty of showdowns between our two leads and the big bads in the book—the Dragons who are hunting them. Ari just wants to free her world from the oppression of the dragons, and Cvareh wants to release the Dragon King’s hold on his world. The question is, will their two missions align or end up tearing these two apart? Finding out is half the fun as we learn about these two characters’ pasts and what drives them.
The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova
Series: Loom Saga #2
Published by Keymaster Press on July 11th 2017
Source: Blog Tour
My content rating: Adult (Sex, Violence)
Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust -- hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything -- and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh.
While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills -- and quick-shooting accuracy -- makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons.
Before the rebellion can rise, though, the Guilds must fall.
This second book in the series jumps in right where the first left off, with Ari on Nova. There is a lot for Ari to deal with in this book—she can’t just jump into Nova and start bossing people around, the way she’s used to (though she does try!). She has no standing in this new society and she’s way outnumbered. At first, I was frustrated that Cvareh didn’t seem to be working very hard to help Ari (and Ari was frustrated about that too!). She sort of has to figure out things on her own for quite awhile. Of course, she’s used to that, but I was hoping for more Ari-Cvareh interaction a little bit sooner. Still, don’t worry—there’s plenty of development between these two!
Since this book takes place in Nova, we get to learn a lot more about how the dragon society works and what goes on there. The stakes are very high, and there’s plenty of action and danger to keep us interested. We also learn a bit more about what went on in that first revolution that made Ari so bitter toward the dragons in the first place.
The book adds a few POV’s: Florence, Petra and Yveun. I’ll admit that I wasn’t as interested in Florence’s POV as the others, but it keeps us apprised of what’s happening back on Loom while Ari is on Nova, so it was definitely necessary.
There was certainly no middle book syndrome here: Kova keeps the plot moving forward and builds the tension in a way that makes the book practically impossible to put down. I give this one 4.5/Stars.
***Disclosure: I received these books from the publisher via Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the Loom Saga.
Wow, these must’ve been good if you read 900 pages in two days! I have to be in the right mood for SUPER fantastical fantasy since it’s hard for me to focus sometimes, and those books take more focus to remember stuff, but these sound great! I especially like the sound of the tension. And those covers! Glad you loved them!
I have to confess that reading the 900 pages in two days was more of a necessity than a choice (I got behind), BUT normally that would have been a painful experience and in this case it definitely wasn’t!
GAH you reminded me that I really need to read book 2!! It’s definitely super high fantasy- in fact, I did find the world a wee bit overwhelming in book one, but I definitely want to continue the series! Great reviews 😀
I didn’t ever feel too overwhelmed, but I could definitely see how some people might. I was just so incredibly impressed that I was able to fly through it so easily.
HOLY CRAP 900 PAGES. It really must have been good! I’m not typically a High Fantasy fan, but I would certainly make exceptions for a series this good 🙂
It was amazing that I managed to read 900 pages so fast! Just shows that the books were that good!
We have the exact same issue. Elaborate world building makes me struggle. That’s why I had a hard time with Julie Kagawa’s 1st book in her Iron Fey Series. But then it became one of my favorite series. These books sound SO good but I was nervous about how the world building and I would mesh. Maybe I will be like you and it would turn out fine, thanks for the heads up!
I love Julie Kagawa, but I remember feeling a little bit like that with that first book as well.