I read the first book in this trilogy, Blood, a couple of years ago and had mixed feelings. Being a little OCD about series (particularly from authors I enjoy) I decided I should read the second book as well. Alchemy, picks up basically where Blood left off:
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?
As a number of reviewers have noted, Alchemy is a stronger book in many ways than Blood; which is a little unusual for a series. But like many second books in a series it also has that awkwardness that comes from carrying the story forward but not bringing it to a complete conclusion.
As with the first book, I should offer a caveat: I am not really the intended audience for this book. I don’t tend to read young adult paranormal romance about vampires.
That said, I enjoyed Alchemy and would recommend it to those with stronger ties to the genre. The strength of the story lies in the improved voice for the lead character Will and the interesting twist with his archenemy Wyndham. Wyndham’s background story is told through a journal entry that begins each chapter while the rest of the story is told in third person. And we finally get a look at Lorcan Labraid.
Will seems like a more flushed out character, with more of a balance as far as emotions and motivations. As is typical of Wignall there is a calm and cool tone throughout but Will continues to have a sort of melancholy temperament because of his longing for Eloise. Her involvement in his life also brings back the longing for normalcy; a longing that can’t be fulfilled obviously. The only thing that can give purpose to his life then is the search for his destiny and the mystery behind it and hope that the search reveals wider options.
There is not a great deal of action until the end but Wignall balances the suspense and romance aspects with the larger story arc and action scenes. It has a bit of a Gothic feel as well. Despite the lack of thriller type pacing and action you feel drawn into the story and the search for answers. Having been immersed in this world and characters you really want to get some answers; just like the characters. And Wignall plays on this and uses it to build suspense and tension. Loyalties are questioned and answers are hard to come by.
All in all in was an enjoyable and intriguing read. And thankfully there is only one book left so we will finally get some answers, right Wignall?
Snark aside, if you enjoy young adult paranormal romance or vampire books be sure to check out this series if you haven’t already.