Well, how’s that for a long title? Anyway, no matter. Now, I’m very excited about giving you all this book review. The reason being, it’s my first requested review! Ms. Escobar contacted me at datbookreviews.gmail.com to ask I I could review her book. I put up the ‘What Can I Do For You?’ page ages ago, but haven’t had any interest. Until now, yay! I’ve really enjoyed speaking with Ms. Escobar, and I’d love for you to visit her blog here. It’s been a pleasure chatting with Ms. Escobar via email, and she has very kindly provided me the second book for reading as well!
Isabella is a trained wizard – an alchemist by distinction. She’s working for the Allies’ Special Operations, and it’s World War 2. She’s tired though. She’s had enough of fighting, and hands in her resignation saying this mission will be her last. The mission? Extract the Warlock Veit Heilveig from where he is creating chemical weaponry for the Germans. Under the guises of Emelie and Noelle, Isabella makes as many enemies as friends as she strives to find Heilveig. When she finds him, though, he is not the person he is thought to be – and nor is she. As secrets of her dead father begin to circulate, Isabella has more and more to contend with; and love not least.
The plot of this book runs well. I wouldn’t say it’s an easy read, but it doesn’t chop around so as it doesn’t make sense. The book is written in the first person narrative voice, which means that the whole of the book is shown through Isabella’s eyes. This means that we aren’t confused by swapping perspectives and hopping around, which can make a book difficult to read. The plot moves at a fair pace, and you won’t find yourself getting bored! I myself was compelled to keep reading. I didn’t feel like the ‘romance subplot’ was a major element of the book, more a subtle undertone. However, the book isn’t a romance novel, so I think that this is right. Whether or not the author will choose to expand on this or not I’m not sure, but I found it to be an interesting part of the novel. It is kept on edge which way Isabella will go, so it isn’t a drab “yeah, she’ll choose the unlikely one”. Another subplot that Ms. Escobar has going is that of Isabella’s father. Thought to be dead, Isabella is beginning to not be so sure. It begins as a small thread of the story – a subplot if you will – but towards the end of the book it becomes more and more entwined with the solid plot, and it’s set to be a main string of the next book (I love my rope analogy – the story is a rope, and the subplots that make it up are it’s fibres. Loose ends are the frayed ones that stick out of the end, and weaker parts of the story is where the rope is worn). Either way, this plot will definitely keep you hooked.
Writing in the first person voice can be a risky manoeuvre. If you can’t feed the constant thought and emotion into the character, then it can feel like a cutout paper character with no depth. This doesn’t happen here. One thing I’ve found is that in writing first person, the perspective character seems to draw off of the personality of the author or somebody the author knows well. Let me say this; Ms. Escobar either has, or knows somebody with a very interesting personality! Unfortunately, I don’t know her well enough to say. Isabella is a very interesting and depthful (it’s a word now) lady and a pleasure to read about. You can very much tell that she has strong feelings about how she no longer wants to play the game, and the hate she has for the warlocks, especially the vampiric Cruenti. We feel her pain as she loses two of her friends, and it is all very real. There are quite a few different characters that can get a little confusing, but if you’re on the ball then you’ll manage just fine. It’s just the small difference between Brande and Bernarde (I thought it might be a nickname, but they’re separate people). I also thought Ernest and Gabriel were one person (they aren’t). It’s not something that takes from the book, just something you should watch out for. It also doesn’t help that most people go by other alias names for their spy-work, so just keep on top of it all.
I’d just like to write a little about new authors. This book has opened my eyes to the fact that a book doesn’t become a bestseller off of the printing press. The authors all start somewhere. Just because you haven’t heard of the author, doesn’t mean that it won’t be as good as a printed published author. The Tower’s Alchemist is better than a good few of the books that I have on my bookshelf that are sold physically in major chain stores. This book has no reviews on iBooks, and before now I would have glided over such a book as a risky purchase. On Amazon.com most of the reviews are very good, and the overall rating is 4.5 stars. Some nut on Amazon.co.uk has given it a 2 star rating which I feel is highly unfair as it is a very good book. Shame on you, Bob. Therefore, I’d like to say thank you to Alesha for opening my eyes to the fact that authors are real people, and it isn’t popularity that makes a book, it’s the book that makes the popularity. Thenceforth, I am going to try and take this blog in a new direction in helping new authors gain publicity. Subscribe and watch the blog for more information on this.
Now, for the rating! I hope you can tell that I think thi has been a greta book, and I dearly hope you’ll all read it. It’s $2.99 for Kindle – that’s like a packet of cigarettes you don’t need, or a coffee, or maybe a McDonald’s burger. I don’t believe there’s anybody who can’t afford a coffee for a good read and to help a great writer keep writing. I promise you won’t regret this book. I’m not a big reader of spy-books, but I really enjoyed this one.
The Tower’s Alchemist left me wanting more, so I’m giving it a 9/10. What a book.