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.
I felt like it took me a while to get into this book but I don’t think that was a fault of the book? I started it for FemPowerAThon and then when the readathon ended, so did my frantic reading pace and other books came to the forefront.
I got another cup of tea at the cafe I was staying in just so I could finish this book. It really picked up and I loved the characters, the plot (especially that twist about 89% into the book) and the villain! I mean, I rooted against her the whole time but she was such a good villain because I could completely understand her motivation and she was so competent. You don’t want a weak villain because then your heroes look weak and Ariana, Cvareh and Florence are definitely not weak. I loved the three of them, not only how they have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they also have their own character arcs throughout the book. There is a bit near the end where Ariana and Florence have a conversation and it’s obvious that neither of them were the same as they were at the start of the book, despite Ariana wanting them to be the same. There is romance between Cvareh and Ariana but it’s definitely not put above the relationship between Ariana and Florence and that was really good. I liked how the romance developed slowly and how it’s still not established, it’s more Cvareh and Ariana learning to trust each other than anything else.
The plot was a classic ‘running from bad guys towards some secret place’ and it did it brilliantly. The foreshadowing especially, it makes me want to go back and reread the whole book just so I can look at the places where the ending (and the twist) was hinted at and appreciate it that much more. Each place was richly described and I adored the world-building. The history and the structure of both Fen and Dragon societies and the differences between them was really interesting and I loved how we got bits of information, instead of being dumped all at once.
I think the only thing I disliked about this book was it was a little slow to start but I would still give this five stars and I am definitely going to read the sequel.