Author: Kylie Lee Baker
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: 3 October 2023
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: ARC via NetGalley
Zilan dreams of becoming a royal alchemist, of providing for her family by making alchemical gold and gems for the wealthy to eat in order to stay young forever. But for now, she’s trapped in her impoverished village in southern China, practicing an illegal form of alchemy to keep food on the table—resurrecting the dead, for a price.
When Zilan finally has the chance to complete her imperial exams, she ventures to the capital to compete against the best alchemists in the country in tasks she’ll be lucky to survive, let alone pass. On top of that, her reputation for raising the dead has followed her to the capital, and the Crown Prince himself seeks out her help, suspecting a coming assassination attempt.
The more Zilan succeeds in her alchemy, the more she gets caught in the dangerous political games of the royal family. There are monsters lurking within the palace walls, and it’s only a matter of time before they—and secrets of Zilan’s past—catch up with her.
The Scarlet Alchemist was another enjoyable fantasy work from Kylie Lee Baker. The premise was interesting, the world building nicely handled, and the action proceeded at a good pace throughout. Zilan was a well drawn and captivating character; however many of the supporting cast were not quite so deeply fleshed out. The ending left me intrigued to know what would happen next, so I would be keen to continue reading the series. This opening volume gets 4.5 stars from me. Recommended if you like alternate history fantasy with a little blood and gore.
I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.