Alchemy of Glass

Barbara Barnett. Pyr, $17 trade paper (376p) ISBN 978-1-64506-013-0
Barnett follows 2016’s The Apothecary’s Curse with this well-researched but convoluted sequel about the ways in which an alchemist’s attempts to free himself from the curse of immortality cause dangerous ripple effects through the centuries. Scenes set in 1826—told in ornate, period-accurate language—see immortal apothecary Gaelan Erceldoune resettle in a town just outside of London. Soon Gaelan becomes embroiled in local drama, saving the life of a young woman who took a risky measure to end her pregnancy and hiding her from her angry family. At the same time, an illness thought to have been eradicated sweeps through town and the only cure is somehow linked to the immortality curse. Alternating sections set in present-day Chicago demonstrate how a mishap while curing the illness led to a catastrophic future. Barnett overloads her tale with historical and medical detail, delving into worldbuilding minutiae at the expense of narrative momentum. This ambitious fantasy is strictly for series completionists; new readers will be lost. Agent: Katharine Sands, Sarah Jane Freymann Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/29/2020
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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