Author: Laura Bickle
Published by: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Geologist Petra Dee arrives in Wyoming looking for clues to her father's disappearance years before. What she finds instead is Temperance, a dying Western town with a gold rush past and a meth-infested present. But under the town's dust and quiet, an old power is shifting. When bodies start turning up - desiccated and twisted skeletons that Petra can't scientifically explain - her investigations land her in the middle of a covert war between the town's most powerful interests. Petra's father wasn't the only one searching for the alchemical secrets of Temperance, and those still looking are now ready to kill. Armed with nothing but shaky alliances, a pair of antique guns, and a relic she doesn't understand, the only thing Petra knows for sure is that she and her coyote sidekick are going to have to move fast, or die next.
“As above, so below”
I almost kept scrolling when I first came upon Dark Alchemy, but then I noticed Laura Bickle is the author and immediately knew I had to read it. I friggin’ love her Hallowed Ones series, so had high hopes for this. There’s mystery and magic and mayhem. Oh, my! Can’t go wrong with that.
Petra is a geologist who arrives in in Wyoming after a horrific accident at her last job. She has ulterior motives for picking this place, though. It is where her father’s trail goes cold. She soon finds herself facing some pretty weird and unexplainable stuff that turns deadly.
I like Petra. She’s a tough cookie who looks at thing logically, and she doesn’t back down from much. There are some great secondary characters too. Maria is a strong female presence, and I love how she and Petra kind of bond and become quite a formidable duo. Of course, there’s also Sig the coyote, who definitely lives up to the trickster reputation.
I’m not really sure how to describe this book. I know the cover makes it look like it is set in the old west or something, but it isn’t. However, the tiny Wyoming town with a population of 412 kind of gives off that vibe. Only slightly, though. So it’s kind of like an urban fantasy sans the urban. And for such a small town, there’s some crazy stuff going on.
There’s a creepiness to Dark Alchemy that Bickle does so well, but it’s subtle. Well, mostly subtle. There’s the mystery of Petra’s dad, but also another mystery of calcified bodies popping up. Then some crazy magic dude wants something of Petra’s by any means necessary. Oh, can’t forget The Hangman’s Tree! *shivers* Bickle did a great job weaving everything together and bringing all the treads around for a very intriguing story.
Dark Alchemy is a fairly quick read, yet totally satisfying. Plus, it’s a standalone! I’m just so glad I didn’t miss out on this book. You shouldn’t either!