An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors
A polymath princess and her faithful musketeer must unravel the plot of a thousand-year-old madman in order to save an a foreign kingdom from a disastrous civil war.Caelum is an uninhabitable gas giant like Jupiter. High above it are the Risen Kingdoms, occupying flying continents called cratons. Remnants of a shattered world, these vast disks of soaring stone may be a thousand miles across. Suspended by magic, they float in the upper layers of Caelum's clouds. Born with a deformed hand and utter lack of the family's blood magic, Isabelle is despised by her cruel father. She is happy to be neglected so she can secretly pursue her illicit passion for math and science. Then, a surprising offer of an arranged royal marriage blows her life wide open and launches her and Jeane-Claude on an adventure that will take them from the Isle des Zephyrs in l'Empire CĂ©leste to the very different Kingdom of Aragoth, where magic deals not with blood, but with mirrors.

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors Details

TitleAn Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 29th, 2017
PublisherTor Books
ISBN0765389592
ISBN-139780765389596
Number of pages384 pages
Rating
GenreFantasy, Science Fiction, Adult, Steampunk, Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors Review

  • Katie Montgomery
    June 16, 2017
    Things Katie Enjoys In A Novel, As Correlated With "An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors":_X_ Calculus jokes_X_ Period-appropriate prose___ Talking cats_X_ Strong, sassy heroines who have no trouble kicking it with the boys_X_ Believable, likable characters___ Pandas_X__ Swashbuckling_X__ Witty repartee, preferably in which a member of the nobility is fearlessly sassed_X__ Magical colleges and/or general graduate-level spell nerdery___ Dragons_X_ People wearing awesome hats_X_ Perfectly executed ge Things Katie Enjoys In A Novel, As Correlated With "An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors":_X_ Calculus jokes_X_ Period-appropriate prose___ Talking cats_X_ Strong, sassy heroines who have no trouble kicking it with the boys_X_ Believable, likable characters___ Pandas_X__ Swashbuckling_X__ Witty repartee, preferably in which a member of the nobility is fearlessly sassed_X__ Magical colleges and/or general graduate-level spell nerdery___ Dragons_X_ People wearing awesome hats_X_ Perfectly executed genre mashups_X_ Court intrigue that is actually intriguing___ Fairytale flavors that induce minimal eyerolling_X__ Spaceships and/or lasers*_X__ Princes/princesses who have their shit together_X_ Romance that keeps it classy_X__ Sword fighting_X__ Dimension-jumping_X__ Character that could be played by Maggie Smith in the BBC dramatization_X_ Satisfying endings*technically airships and ancient tech, but y'know what? Imma allow it.For the record? I think this is the most checks any book has ever hit in this list before. Aside from that, it is just a solid, wonderful novel. GET ON THIS TRAIN Y'ALL, IT IS A DIRECT TO AWESOMETOWN. Craddock is now on my very short list of autobuy authors. It for sure deserves its Kirkus star.
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  • Judy Lesley
    July 26, 2017
    Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan - Tor/Forge for the opportunity to read a digital copy of this book.The three star rating is me bumping my rating up because the author presented such an unusual fantasy world in this novel. I liked seeing his imagination at work. The landmasses, known as skylands, float in the air and are large enough to support cities, towns, and all other expected forms of life. No creepy critters or giants or gnomes or zombies but almost regular people, except of course f Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan - Tor/Forge for the opportunity to read a digital copy of this book.The three star rating is me bumping my rating up because the author presented such an unusual fantasy world in this novel. I liked seeing his imagination at work. The landmasses, known as skylands, float in the air and are large enough to support cities, towns, and all other expected forms of life. No creepy critters or giants or gnomes or zombies but almost regular people, except of course for the clockwork parts added on to some of them. Some skylands are larger than others but they all have one thing in common -- if you fall off the edge you are just plain gone. A great way to get rid of an enemy! Transport between the islands in the air is done in skyships which are equivalent in almost every way to old wooden sailing vessels. Navigation is a chancy thing because the ships float on air currents and some interesting obstacles can happen with wind speed and velocity as you sail near to the place you want to dock (still floating). The people are classified as either clayborn or of a royal house and are strictly ruled by a king, a queen or both. Each kingdom's royal genetic line has its own magical power. Those were really interesting.The characterization of Princess Isabelle is where the author let me down. I have a problem with a main character who goes for chapter after chapter being shunned and abused physically and verbally until she is a cowering, quivering mass of jelly only to emerge instantly from her shell and accept the job of bringing peace to all the kingdoms of this fantasy world. Without a single mention of learning how to even curtsey let alone negotiate with some pretty evil dudes, Princess Isabelle agrees to marry a prince sight unseen in order to convince the warring kingdoms that peace would be better for everybody involved. Plus I waited absolutely forever for Isabelle to discover what her magic power was only to be so totally underwhelmed that I had to go back to read that part again to see what that magic power is. I'm still unsure.So, have no fears, this is just the first book in what will be a multi-book series. I won't be along next time because it is absolutely unheard of for a book to take me over two weeks to read. I honestly thought it was never going to end.
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  • Sandra
    May 8, 2017
    Interesting, a bit slow and confusing at times, but overall getting dropped into this odd world with no warning works well. I like the juxtaposition of crazy fantasy/clockpunk world and very logical, experimentally inclined princess. Somehow the weirdness works better when even the characters have their own 'wait, what' moments. I hope we get to see her experiment more in the future for a look at the world's underpinnings.Thanks to the publisher and edelweiss for a digital arc.
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  • Natty
    May 30, 2017
    This was a magnificent epic tale of a struggling Princess fighting an oppressive conservative society with her hard-won intelligence and learning. There are epic struggles with the religious regime, marriage negotiations, feudal sorcerer royalty, weird geography, sword fights and she still saves the world.
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  • Patricia Hamill
    July 22, 2017
    An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors caught my eye first because of the cover and second because of the description, and I must say that I very much enjoyed it.My favorite part is that Isabelle and Jeane-Claude are both awesome leading characters. Isabelle is a fantastic heroine, headstrong and smart, but in a patriarchal society that would have her killed should she reveal her secret studies into science and math. Jeane-Claude is a king's musketeer whose sole mission is to protect Isabelle, but he An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors caught my eye first because of the cover and second because of the description, and I must say that I very much enjoyed it.My favorite part is that Isabelle and Jeane-Claude are both awesome leading characters. Isabelle is a fantastic heroine, headstrong and smart, but in a patriarchal society that would have her killed should she reveal her secret studies into science and math. Jeane-Claude is a king's musketeer whose sole mission is to protect Isabelle, but he hides behind the guise of a drunken exile so no one takes him seriously. The story follows each of them in turn, and though the story is in third person, I still felt a strong connection to these characters. Besides the well-developed characters, the action and the danger they face insert just the right amount of tension into the story, and add to that the mystery and the political intrigue, the fights and the narrow escapes, and even a little bit of romance, and you have one excellent read. And, the ending is satisfying. No spoilers here, but I wasn't able to guess the outcome, and when it came, I closed the book feeling like it couldn't have ended any other way. I'd love to read another book in this world, but this one looks like a standalone.Anyhow, overall this book was awesome and I loved it. I strongly recommend this to folks who enjoy high adventure, magic, and intrigue with a touch of steampunk.I received the review copy of this book from NetGalley.
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  • Ann Theis
    July 28, 2017
    Booklist Kirkus
  • Kate Sherrod
    April 10, 2017
    This book reads like a cross between Alexandre Dumas and Frank Herbert. Full review soon at Skiffy and Fanty.
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