Category Archives: Historical Romance
Review: The Tower of the Alchemist
The Tower of the Alchemist by Aimélie Aames
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sensual Sorcery & Storytelling
When I saw that this book was out, I was extremely excited to check it out. I was reading something else, but I put it off to the side for a second so I could start on this one. I might have gone a little overboard with that, too… it’s quite a long story, but I couldn’t stop reading. I might have put off a few other things in order to make more time for this book.
It was definitely worth it, though. I was excited to come back to the characters, especially after the last volume. The story starts right in the thick of things, with a lot of sort of magical mystery and intrigue going on. It reminded me somewhat of some of what happens in Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series, with that kind of fantasy suspense and mystery, you know? If you’ve read that, I think you’ll know what I mean, and it’s done really well in this book.
What I really loved about this book is how a lot of the plot and excitement all came together. There were some great hints and foreshadowing previously, but I wasn’t exactly sure where everything was going. It was interesting, though, and I definitely wanted to see how it all turned out. One of my favorite parts of this book was the revelation of the Marechal’s past, and what he’s been searching for all this time. I mean, there were references to it before this, but it always seemed like there was more to it. And… there was! Haha.
The backstory was masterfully done, with a nice hint of love and lust, along with betrayal and redemption. I liked the glimpse into the past from the point of view of Melisse and her present predicament, too. She’s been torn away from her old life and pulled into this new and eldritch world that she’s just beginning to understand. The entire idea is wonderfully fascinating.
I love the world building involved, but one of the things I like most about it is that it’s not too over the top “fantasy” if that makes sense? I like fantasy stories that are more approachable, without too much confusion. This entire series is very well written in those regards, and it makes it a pleasure and a thrill to continue reading. I never felt lost or dazed and confused like sometimes happens with other fantasy books.
I love the romance aspects, too. It’s like a fantasy romantic suspense love story, basically.
I don’t want to give anything away, but I’m extremely interested to know what happens with Melisse and the Marechal, too. There were a lot of additions to their story in here, but I’m definitely wanting to read more about them and their situation. My favorite part was probably with the Goddess Tear from Lys. I just think that sounds so nice and fancy, haha. That part was one of my favorites because I think it started a huge turning point in the series, like the calm before the storm.
Overall, honestly, this is a really great book in a really great series. Definitely a must read for fans of fantasy and romance. If you like paranormal romance, this one is very approachable, too. I know that fantasy stuff can get kind of crazy sometimes, but this is more down to earth and nice. Highly recommended and one of my favorite stories so far.
A New Freebie!
I mentioned in my newsletter this week that I was going to put up a new free story in the freebie section soon, and… well, hey! It’s there now. This is a sweeter one, and some of you may have read it already, but for those who haven’t, I hope you’ll check it out and see if you like it. I won’t spoil what it is, because it’s kind of like a present, I guess? You know, like… it’s fun to find out what it is after you open it (after you go to the freebie page), and then you can either get really excited or bemoan receiving a fruit cake for Christmas (or whatever holiday, I guess. I kind of like fruit cake, though, so maybe that’s not a great example).
Anyways! It’s there, so go check it out.
For those who can’t figure out how to get on the freebie page (because I haven’t figured out how to put good directions for it yet. Sorry!), you’ll need to sign up for my newsletter, which you can do on the side over there somewhere (—->). I send out newsletters on a weekly basis, and include the password to access my freebies from there. You also get fun information about stuff! What kind of stuff? Well, it varies a bit. I’ll mention my new releases and how I’m doing on specific stories, or what’s coming soon, all of that. I like to talk about other random things, too, like what I’m reading, or what I think of book things. And, I include fun little tips and tricks about sexy things (or things I think are sexy, at least. They aren’t always strictly tips, I suppose).
So… yes! Newsletters go out on Tuesdays, generally, and I’ve got two freebies available as of now, so… if you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for?
Kings and Outcasts
Since I’m working on The Monster Within at the moment, I figured I’d take some time today to talk about Solace and Bastion (and maybe Faith or others. We’ll see how it goes). I’ll be trying to keep things as spoiler free as possible, but if you’d like to make absolute certain that you don’t have anything spoiled, then you might want to consider skipping this one. I’d mostly like to discuss concepts and my ideas, so it should be relatively safe, though.
Solace is an outcast in the town of Glenwood, for (currently) reasons unknown. There are some reasons, and they’re pretty good ones once the story gets to it, but for now they’re secretive. I’ve dropped a couple of hints in Ember of Ecstasy, and there’s more to come soon, too.
The thing I find interesting about the whole thing is that Solace doesn’t know why everyone hates her, though. I really enjoy this concept and theme, because I think it’s easy to relate to that in a lot of ways. Why does anyone hate anything? I have some reasons for why I dislike things, and then I have reasons for why I hate things. I try to reserve really good reasons for the things I hate, but I don’t know if everyone does the same. As to the things I dislike? Sometimes I honestly couldn’t tell you why I do or don’t like something. It’s just personal preference and opinion based on bias and preconceived notions a lot of time.
Solace deals with it, though. She deals with it even though literally almost everyone in Glenwood hates her. She never questions it, nor gets upset, she just tries to become better. I like that about her. I can see where some people might think she’s a weak character or a bad one, because of all these bad things that happen to her, but she doesn’t let it get her down. I think there’s a huge difference there, you know? A character who has bad things happen and then just drops into depression is maybe “real” but not very fun? One who has bad things happen and then strives to overcome them, become better (even if there might not be a better), and just continues to live and try despite the odds being against them… well, I like characters like that.
Solace might seem weak or bad or a bunch of things at times, but honestly I think she might be one of the strongest characters in the story. She continues to try when she has no reason to, and I envy that somewhat and would like to replicate it in my own life.
As to Bastion, he’s in somewhat the same position, except backwards. As the Demon King, no one really hates him. I don’t think they can afford to, as there’s bound to be consequences. At least openly, you know? I mean, the occasional disagreement or dislike is probably fine, but open revolt? There’s got to be a huge reason to resort to something like that, and then the consequences could be huge, too.
The thing is, Bastion isn’t a mean person or a tyrannical Demon King or anything like that. He’s relatively nice, all things considered. He and Solace got off to an odd and rough start, but I think that’s understandable. I mean, she’s a human who was sent as basically a sacrificial bride for the ruler of the monstrous host in Runehaven. In her mind, he’s a monster. In his mind, he’s being sent some woman in order to maintain the peace, and he’s expected to marry her, but where is the love?
(Random side note field trip)
Arranged marriages are interesting in those regards. It’s one of those things that isn’t really applicable to a lot of countries nowadays. On a random side note to that, while I have no reference at hand, I’ve heard that arranged marriages that occur in India (I don’t know if they still do, but these were older statistics I was reading) actually have a high percentage chance of working well, and the two people who become married eventually come to enjoy it. I’ve always curiously wondered if it has something to do with the whole Kama Sutra love-making lesson and teaching thing, at least in part. The Kama Sutra isn’t that entirely, but I really like how it teaches and advocates pleasure in intimate unions, you know? I think other places should teach people these things, because to be completely honest a lot of people are oblivious about sex and how to make their partner happy, which is sad.
(Field trip is done!)
And… they’re trying, you know? Bastion and Solace are, perhaps, not compatible at all. They don’t know much about each other, nor do they know if they can even love each other. They aren’t sure if they have a future, or what their future is, or anything like that. They’d like to try, though. Together. Bastion finds that he enjoys Solace and the fact that she’s curious and unsure. I think he might see some of himself in her in those regards. As the Demon King, he’s not really allowed to be unsure, and the fact that Solace is, and is open about it, kind of complements him in a way. Bastion is strong and caring and treats her fairly when no one’s ever treated her that way in her entire life, which is interesting to her, but also leaves her feeling wary and cautious. Is it a lie? A ruse? Demons have a reputation for being less than respectable, at least according to the human books she’s read, and so you can’t really blame her for her initial wariness.
They work together, though. I think they go good together, too. They aren’t the same, not by a longshot, but the similarities that they have are a great base for a potential relationship, and the differences they have complement each other well, in my opinion. There’s a high chance for love there, blossoming and burgeoning.
Except there’s that whole issue of a human inevitably dying when she gives birth to a demon’s child…