The trouble begins for Elle Chance when she accepts what should be a small charter job in Paris. The job soon becomes more complex than expected and Elle only narrowly escapes on her way back to London. When she arrives, however, she discovers that her father has been kidnapped and the man who got her into this mess insists on sticking around to keep an eye on her. But there's more going on than Elle could ever know including a surprising inheritance from her long gone mother.
Liesel Schwarz's debut is a mix of steampunk and paranormal sort of in the vein of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorates series. Where Carriger's series is set in the 1800s, however, Schwarz has set her book in the early 1900s.
A Conspiracy of Alchemists begins a bit rocky. The interaction between Elle and Marsh is not unlike that of Alexia and Maccon, but Schwarz doesn't manage to capture quite the same chemistry. The arguments between Elle and Marsh were awkward and seemingly ill placed - or chalked up to a woman's prerogative to change her mind - either way it just didn't quite work for me. Because of the similarities in setting and such, it's hard not to draw comparison to Carriger's work, which may be an unfair comparison except that Carriger's debut was much smoother in comparison to Schwarz's.
Now, this is not at all to say that I didn't like Schwarz's book. Quite the opposite in fact, it's a quick read and I thought it was overall very fun. The world is great and the steampunk elements are dead on. Even the characters - when they're not bickering - are enjoyable. Most of the stumbles I'd put down to first time issues and expect will work out better in subsequent releases. And for readers who enjoy steampunk and paranormal (like I do), Schwarz is a fine addition!
To see more stops on the tour, visit the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Liesel Schwarz, check out her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.