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Crucible (Alchemy's Heirs Book 2) by [McCoy, Elizabeth]
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Crucible (Alchemy's Heirs Book 2) Kindle Edition

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Length: 551 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

When Dareus Kymus traveled to the Empire to seek a bride for his brother, he didn't plan on getting captured by pirates. Now his luggage is reduced to the clothes on his back and a few hidden alchemies, his traveling companions are an Imperial Wind-priest and a foreign "Bride of the Gods," and the itinerary includes a cross-country trek through ancient, poisoned battlegrounds – all while staying ahead of the slavers who want to recapture them.

Dar thought he'd been in scrapes as a lad, but the blightlands of the Empire are a crucible beyond his imagining. It will take all his luck, skill, and the talents of his companions to have a prayer of returning home . . .

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1597 KB
  • Print Length: 551 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Terran Alchemy; 1 edition (12 October 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #502,881 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating world, deadly threats, and the ultimate road buddy book -- stands alone 8 April 2015
By H Waterhouse - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really love Elizabeth McCoy's work. I've been following and recommending her for a couple years, and Crucible is the strongest of her books since Herb-Witch.

So there's a romance trope where either the heroine is captured by pirates and falls in love with the pirate captain, or is rescued with her virtue intact by a dashing and noble man. This is not that trope. For one thing, the princess is male. For another, he is more-or-less self-rescuing, but does end up in the company of some pretty awesome people and they have adventures. His virtue is sadly not intact, and that bothers him and affects him for the rest of the book. That seemed not-implausible to me.

His....traveling party, I guess, is composed of a girl he rescues, and a priest who rescues them both. Both the priest and the girl have some elements of his language, but neither is fluent, and it is frustrating for everyone (including this reader) that they are stuck at a pidgin level of communication that improves only slowly as they are together. In fact, this is one of the romance impediments. Instead of a "misunderstanding" based on people being dorks and not talking to each other, the characters literally misunderstand each other sometimes, because of language barriers. The thing that keeps this from sliding into the looming threat of Jar-Jar-Binksyness is that the internal thoughts of the speakers is clear and eloquent, so we know that they are thinking "like us", but they just cant communicate it fully.

This book is set on a different continent than the first three, and I think that's useful to make it a stand-alone. You could read this without needing any of the three books that came before it.

I'm going to be thinking on and chewing on this book for a while, I can tell. The prose is workmanlike but not notable, the plot, when reduced to its essentials reads like a roleplaying campaign, but the PEOPLE and the WORLDBUILDING are amazing and thought-provoking, and there are a lot of hints and branches that a curious reader can follow in contemplation.

Point for gender-nerds: If this book is not nominated for next year's Tiptree award, it will be a travesty, because it's the most interesting exploration of gender I've read in ages. It's a little hard to go into why without being spoilery, but suffice it to say that there are characters who change their assigned birth sex, and their assigned gender, and THEIR SOCIETAL GENDER, and all of this is happening in a faintly-renaissance world where gender ROLES are pretty firmly defined.

Read if: You have liked any of McCoy's previous books. You are longing for a book that would be hard to publish because of taboo subjects like menstruation and gender fluidity. You would love there to be a world where people try to take each other as presented.

Skip if: Off-screen rape is a hard stop for you. You can't handle reading broken "English" for an entire book.

Also read: Sherwood Smith's A Stranger to Command, for a lost prince and a magical girl that subvert all expectation.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm in love with this series 26 October 2014
By Jessi - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Done. Write more please. Now.


OK, really, though... I'm in love with this series. I haven't read any of Ms. McCoy's Sci-fi works yet, but if that's all that's out there for me until the third book is out then I'm going to have to give it a shot.

To be fair, there are a couple of things that didn't thrill me. I didn't enjoy the POV switch, especially so frequently. There were a few points that I could see it was necessary, but it's still a little jarring for me when I'm engrossed in a fictional world.

Olania was... not my favorite character. She showed a lot of vulnerability and complexity in the beginner, and by the end seemed to be more of a placeholder. But Dar... man, Dar was everything I've come to expect from the Kymus household! He's simultaneously stupid-brave and fragile and all kinds of awesome.

I love these stories, and I hope the world of the Lord Alchemist will continue for many, many more years. I can't remember how I stumbled onto these books, but I'm so very glad that I did!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the frying pan, into the fire 7 November 2014
By Conrad Wong - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you've read Herb-Witch, Herb-Wife, and All That Glitters, you might think you know what's coming in this book, more interesting alchemical investigation and mostly friendly characters in a not-quite-Renaissance setting.

That's not this book.

This book sets sail for exotic territory and immerses you in a foreign, mostly hostile setting with dastardly pirates, treacherous Imperials, and strange characters, even by Lord Alchemist standards. Dareus, the second son of the Lord Alchemist, is off to try to find his older brother an Immune wife... He gets much more than he expected as his ship is taken by pirates and he's stripped of nearly all his belongings. Fortunately he finds help and eventually manages to escape-- but it's a bit 'out of the frying pan, into the fire' for him as he winds up pushing into land poisoned by alchemical war, discovering strange things, trying to stay alive and as free as he can manage. This last is not as easy as it may seem, since the Imperials keep slaves, unlike Cymele.

I don't want to spoil any more of the book than that, but I rather enjoyed the wind-priest he falls in with, something of a trickster character, and Olania, the Xyrethian 'Bride of the Gods' with her strange and bloody rituals.

This book stands alone, there's no cliffhanger at the end, but you'll benefit from having read the other Lord Alchemist books first. It isn't required, but it will benefit your reading!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great characters, fun adventure - great addition to the Alchemist series 18 October 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great read, somewhat slow at times. Love the characters and the world and the story overall. This is an adventure for the younger heir from the Herb Witch series and it takes some cool turns throughout the plot. If you enjoyed the series, keep reading, you'll like this book, too. If you haven't read the series, start with Herb Witch to make sure you know what's happening - I don't think you'll get much out of this if you're starting with this book.

It might bother some to have the theme of people who float between genders; "made-men" become more significant here and there will be some who dislike the idea of fluid gender.
1.0 out of 5 stars all about excrement 24 July 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
why is this author so obsessed with bladders and bowels and bodily functions? every single new day started with a description of what the characters did with their waste or how they were thinking about their waste. I thought she had gone away from all that when there was less moon blood talk in the middle two books but I literally can't get over how much time is spent describing the various ways and places they go the bathroom. it's just too weird.

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