CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 30. . . .April 6, 2018
Jaden, a new initiate to the Alchemists’ Council, was only recently plucked off the streets of Vancouver and recruited to join a mysterious group of Alchemists who are tasked with maintaining elemental balance in the world. The elemental balance of the universe is maintained and represented by the Lapis, a sacred stone, and the Flaw, a flaw in that stone that prevents all beings in the universe from becoming a united One. The Council maintains balance in the regular world, unbeknownst to those who live in the world. The Council is challenged by the Rebel Branch, rouge alchemists that seek to control the Lapis and the Flaw and decrease the influence of the Council.
The Alchemists’ Council exerts control over the outside world by the carefully calibrated release of Lapidarian Bees. When members of the Alchemists’ Council discover that Lapidarian Bees are vanishing from the pages of the alchemical manuscripts and consequently from the world, itself, they fear the influence of the Rebel Branch. Despite her lowly status as a Junior Initiate, Jaden and her fellow Junior Initiate, Arjan, are drawn into the fight to solve the mystery of the disappearing bees and prevent the Rebel Branch from interfering with the world. As Jaden becomes embroiled in Council politics, she begins to question some Council teachings and learns that all is not as she has been taught. With a war brewing between the Alchemists’ Council and the Rebel Branch, Jaden must decide were her allegiance lies.
The Alchemists’ Council is a highly original novel with an intriguing premise. The book is engaging, and the political machinations between members of the Alchemists’ Council bring nuance to the characters, leaving the reader guessing about motivations and alliances. The novel suffers somewhat from a complex premise and a slow start, but once the action gets going, it is an enjoyable read. A good purchase for public and school libraries.
Tara Stieglitz is a librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.