I’ve seen some complaints in the past that steampunk books are too light, that they are all madcap romps and such. Well, if you prefer your steampunk dark, The Alchemy of Stone might be to your taste. You have a main character who is an automaton with lingering free will issues finding her way in a city rife with racism and in the midst of three-way political struggle. In addition, in December 2009, io9 called The Alchemy of Stone one of the 20 best science fiction books of the decade. Not too shabby.
The official description:
Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets – secrets that can completely alter the balance of power in the city of Ayona. This doesn’t sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart – literally.
You can read the first chapter over at Fantasy Magazine.
Here are a few reviews to get you started, although there are many more out there.
- In Depth Review at Steampunk Scholar
- Review from io9
- Review from SF Signal
- Review from Fantasy Book Critic
- Review from The Walrus Said
- Review from Locus
So, if you’ve had a chance to read The Alchemy of Stone, leave a comment and let people know what you thought of it. If you’ve reviewed it elsewhere, feel free to link to your review.