To a master alchemist like Addie, impossible is just another word for challenge. When a fiery explosion destroys the Alchemica, the premier alchemy institute in the United States, she’s left with nothing. No home, no colleagues, and no memory. Learning what happened seems impossible, but she still has one strength, and in her opinion, it’s the only one she needs. She hasn’t forgotten a thing about alchemy.
Addie brews a potion to restore her lost past, but remembers only the flames of the Alchemica’s destruction—and a man among the ashes. A man with the elemental power of fire, who just happens to be the leader of the magical community. He might know what happened, but getting him to tell her will require some…creativity. The magical aren’t fond of alchemists. Some say it borders on hatred, but Addie isn’t one to back down from a challenge, even if that challenge happens to be a man who can turn her to ash with a thought.
Addie is a master alchemist who lost her memory during an attack on her alchemy institute. All she knows is that during the explosion, men were trying to abduct her and she has been hiding ever since, trying to get her memory back. The only other witness was a fire elemental called The Flame Lord and Addie schemes to find a way to get his help. She has to team up with him, her best friend James and Rowan's family who are suspicious of alchemists.
This was a frustrating book. There are some great ideas and exciting action sequences, good characters and good writing...all things that make you want to know what was going to happen next. The alchemy story was great, I found the way she mixed her potions interesting and there were a mix of interesting characters that you wanted to find out more about. There were action fights, magical assaults, zombies, vampire alchemists, grims, hellhounds and elementals fighting with air, fire, earth and water which was pretty cool and it was a decent plot with a mixture of urban fantasy, magic and mythology. There is a lot to like about this book and the author is obviously good at telling a story and doing good in depth character development.
Which is why it did not need to go down the typical route of copying all those other books in having the love triangle and the 'I-hate-you-you-smell' childish relationship between the two main characters who you know will end up in bed together at some point. I've seen it in a million books and it bugs me that everyone feels the need to write the same things. So we had Addie acting like a five year old every time Rowan asked her to do something or saved her or SPOKE to her. OOh I hate you so much in spite of you saving me and my friend countless times and I can't admit I fancy you. Oh grow up! Her whining and petulant behaviour grinded on my last nerve and I nearly quit the book 100 pages in. She was also rude to everyone she met which made her look like a spoiled brat and that was really bugging me. Other niggles were minor like it taking so long to find out everything that James was and could do, and the fact that there were too many secrets being kept from the reader as well as each character.
The big plot reveals about Addie's past did not come as a surprise and there are lots of hints, intentional or otherwise, through the book as to what she has done. It didn't spoil the plot though which is the main thing. So in general I found it interesting and entertaining and I did like the way it finished. I'm not sure that I would read on with the next book though as Addie was too much of a pain and it looks like a lot more of her angst is still to come.
I would recommend it to fans of magic, urban fantasy and paranormal romance.