October 6, 2012

Review: Alchemy, by K.J. Wignall

Author: K.J. Wignall
Title: Alchemy
Series: Mercian Trilogy (#2)
ISBN: 9781606842652
Publisher: Egmong USA (September 25th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Hardcover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the thirteenth century, William, heir to the Earl of Mercia, was attacked and turned into a vampire. For 750 years, Will has spent his life in the shadows. Until he met Eloise.

Together, Will and Eloise must destroy an ancient evil that has led them to Marland Abbey, where Will’s ancestors lived and Eloise attends school. Here they uncover the truth about the four vampire kings, Will's past, and an uncertain future.

But the mysterious sorcerer, Wyndham, is still hunting Will and using Eloise as bait. To protect the girl he loves, Will goes in search of answers—but does that mean walking right into the enemy's trap?” GoodReads’ blurb

Alchemy is the second volume in the Mercian trilogy, and I for one believe it outdid its predecessor. Since I did like book one (you can find my review of that one here)to begin with, this is wonderful news!

The biggest change I found when coming back to Will is the style, the “voice” itself. Perhaps it’s because it’s been a year between one book and the next, or because I’ve read so much in the interim that my brain’s saying something silly, but I think that Wignall has truly improved. The story is presented in journal like entries, this time pertaining to the “villain”, and third-person narrative. In book one, the narrative was good but felt slightly out of tune... This time, I totally believed in Will. Simply put, I bought him, his past, his fear, his love, his bleak future... it convinced me in ways Blood couldn’t have. And that’s before we get into the plot: just style!

The plot itself picks up from the point Blood let off and builds forward. Will has a little more information, but not much. He’s still largely blind to the destiny he so desperately seeks, and while he knows there’s people out there ready to kill him, he doesn’t truly understand why, or who they are. And this is what Alchemy did best: propel Will forward, blindly, stumbling in the dark... and somehow take us along in the same lightless, unknowing path without confusing us or loosing us in the interim. Kudos!

Admittedly, the trickle of information is slow. Very slow. Things will be found out, or stumbled upon, and then snatched away. Answers will only present more questions. But this didn’t bother me, because I felt like that’s the way it’d have to be in reality. If there was a 750 year-old vampire trying to find out and meet his destiny, his fate, it’d be hard to unravel, to figure out. That’s why I liked the risk taken.

Will and Eloise, the main characters, are consistent with their previous adventures but furthermore, their changes are consistent with what happens to them. Perhaps, since in Alchemy they are already in love, I didn’t let the pseudo-insta-love color my impressions anymore, but the fact is that this time, they felt like a better fit. Like a more real relationship. Actually, it’s like they are more real themselves—which I write down to the better writing quality found in Alchemy as much as to the extra space the author has had to develop them.

The villain is the one I can’t truly like. I mean, I get that he doesn’t think himself as a villain, which makes him more human. I get that he might even be the real hero, as he believes. But his journal entries, his past, it just didn’t resonate much in me. I didn’t feel pity or compassion or fear for him. This might be because I’m too cold... or because by this point I’m too invested in Will to care for someone who seeks his destructions, which would point to an excellent work on the author’s part. I’ll let you be the judge on that one.

So, to wrap it up, do I recommend Alchemy? Absolutely. If you held back with Blood, waiting to see more information before actually buying, let me tell you that you should go right ahead and read this series, because it’s only getting better.

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