The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny {Pirates & Puritans; 1}

“The Alchemy Thief is a well-researched and thoroughly planned story of time traveling amid tumultuous times.”

Review by Rayleigh Setser

A tale of hope, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of a woman, this is a sweeping story about what happens when technology and magic collide.

2019: An American college student finds a relic engraved with a mysterious symbol. In a daring heist in Morocco, a rare book is stolen that bears the same symbol. Peri suspects the symbol is the key to a dangerous secret.

1657: Transported back in time, Peri’s hunt for answers leads her to an alchemist who teaches her magic which involves understanding the natural world. When the alchemist warns her not to let these secrets fall into the hands of evil people, Peri fears the worst may have already happened. But she can’t get home to the future to warn those she loves.

Accused of witchcraft, she flees for her life onboard a tall ship. But the ship is captured by pirates. When the captain searches her for weapons, he finds her cell phone from the future. He swipes it like he knows exactly how to use it. But this is 1657. Her worst fears are becoming a reality.

How will she ever return home?

Release Date: 07/16/2021

Genre: Historical Fiction | Time Travel

Pages: 474

I received this book for free from the author. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.

The Alchemy Thief is a well-researched and thoroughly planned story of time traveling amid tumultuous times. It's an example of the classic "accidental hero", as Peri is thrust into a world that she doesn't understand.

While I found the premise and storyline to be engaging and exciting, I regret to say that I did feel bogged down by the writing. There are many info-dumps in strange places and scenes often felt rushed and jumpy. I think one of the biggest turnoffs for me was how the story was heavily "told" and not shown. For example, we didn't get to experience Peri's interactions in ways that allowed us, as the reader, to understand her feelings and choices. Her dates with Liam were summed up with "he made her feel special" or some similar phrase, without even sharing conversations that reflected those feelings. So, to me, Peri often appeared naïve and gullible; and I'm fairly certain she's supposed to be smart.

What I'm pinpointing as the cause of this is that it feels like the author wanted to present only facts or key points relevant to the story, and omitted as much of the "fluff" as possible. So, The Alchemy Thief strikes me as a very bare-bones and to-the-point story, without time spent on emotional or otherwise "fluffy" content. It's presented to you straight like it happened and there's not a word wasted on things that aren't relevant to the plotline. And as I mentioned earlier, the plot itself is very good and well-researched.

As for my personal opinion, however, I prefer writing styles that include the fluff and I would've enjoyed the book a lot more if I had experienced the emotion and character development that I found lacking. If you're a fan of to-the-point stories and typically prefer to skip things like relationship building conversations or prose-heavy descriptions, and you just want an exciting story, this book might be more your style!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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Content Ratings:

Action & Gore:

Rating: 5 out of 10.
5. Action present (frequent and mildly descriptive battles/fights)

Romance & Spice:

Rating: 3 out of 10.
3. Moderate content (heavier kissing, but no grabby hands).

Cursing & Vulgarity:

Rating: 2 out of 10.
2. Frequent substitute cursing (commonplace "craps" etc. and book-specific words).

Other Trigger/Content Notices:

Content Disclosures: Some heavier topics from action-heavy scenes (t3rrorism, b0mbs, etc). There was no cursing, however, and some minor, undetailed kissing scenes.

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