2013-10: The Alchemist Of Souls by Anne Lyle

Book two of the 2013 ten – ten books I haven’t read before, by authors I haven’t read before!

Alchemist of Souls was good…. but.

There’s nothing like damning with faint praise, I know. But that was definitely the feeling I came away with. “It was good, but…”

The prose was good, but the pacing was off.

The characters were likeable and engaging, but their motivations often weren’t really explained.

The idea was first-rate, but the climax was disappointing.

The title was good, but was only barely relevant to the story.

The history was good, but the Plot McGuffin was huge and unwieldy.

Honestly, I enjoyed reading it at the time. I liked the characters, the portrayal of Elizabethan England was realistic and engaging, and I do always enjoy alternate histories. But when I finished the book, I found myself feeling kind of unsatisfied. The plot wasn’t resolved well, and too much of it had just leaped up out of nowhere in the last third of the book. I’m sure a lot of people would read and love this book – I like to see the gun on the wall in act one, before it gets used in act three, but people who don’t mind the author holding back would no doubt enjoy the twist.

Nevertheless, the prose and characters were excellent, and I wouldn’t hesitate to read more by Ms Lyle.


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