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I Belong

Review: Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin

gunpowder-alchemyTitle: Gunpowder Alchemy

Author: Jeannie Lin

Genre: Steampunk

Series: Gunpowder Chronicles (Book #1)

Publication Date: November 18, 2014

Format: eBook, 280 Pages

IBSN-10: 0698135334 (Intermix/Penguin)

IBSN-13: 978-0698135338 (Intermix/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Roxanne


Since her father’s execution eight years ago, Jin Soling kept her family from falling into poverty. But her meager savings are running out, leaving her with no choice but to sell the last of her father’s possessions—her last memento of him.

Only, while attempting to find a buyer, Soling is caught and brought before the Crown Prince. Unlike his father, the Emperor, the Prince knows that the only chance of expelling the English invaders is to once again unite China’s cleverest minds to create fantastic weapons. He also realizes that Soling is the one person who could convince her father’s former allies—many who have turned rebel—to once again work for the Empire. He promises to restore her family name if she’ll help him in his cause.

But after the betrayal of her family all those years ago, Soling is unsure if she can trust anyone in the Forbidden City—even if her heart is longing to believe in the engineer with a hidden past who was once meant to be her husband…

Quick & Dirty: Warships, gunpowder and one determined girl, will she be able to right past wrongs?

Opening Sentence: “The emperor waited on his golden throne.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Jin Soling has been keeping her family afloat since her father’s execution and their exile. Things have gotten much harder after her mother developed an opium addiction. When Soling runs out of money she decides she must make the long journey to a larger market in order to sell her most prized possession. A puzzle box her father gave her. Once she arrives she finds that she cannot sell it and before to long she is attacked and then picked up by the police for suspicion of selling illegal weapons. However, once she tells them who her father is, she is whisked away to another location and there meets a member of the secret police and the emperor’s heir.

They want her to find a scientist who used to work with her father and get the gunpowder recipe that they made. Once in the port city she finds Yang with little effort, but soon realizes he has no intention of helping her or the emperor. When Cheng-wei uses one of his flying machines to get her free, she finds that Yang did give her the recipe. Soon she is caught up in a race against time to rescue her family and do what the Prince wants her to do.

I am not always a fan of steampunk, but every now and then I read a book that makes me love it. This was one of those. Soling was an amazing main character. She was bold, brash and just plain fantastic. Her relationship with Yang and Chang-wei was great. They were different and special. Yang for a moment seemed like he might be something more than a sort of father figure, and yet I kind of think that is where he ended. He was loyal to her father and to her and in the end helped her regardless of his personal feelings on the matter. Cheng-wei was her former betrothed,  and to be honest I kept waiting to find out some horrible secret about him. However, he was a honorable, loving young man and who knows, maybe he will be in the next book.

My only complaint was, I am not quite sure what the focus was, saving the empire, ending the opium trade or saving her family. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a quick and easy read. I will be reading the second book, and if you love Steampunk and Chinese culture then this book is for you.

Notable Scene:

“I didn’t want to be moved by his words, but I felt a pang of longing nonetheless. My father had been more than kind. Father had promised me, his only daughter, to Chen Chang-wei. He had betrothed us to each other. Though the arrangment was nothing any longer,  such bonds could not be so easily forgotten. Chen Chang-wei, this stranger who was not quite a stranger to me, was the closet thing I had to an ally. Part of me wanted to trust him. I wanted to believe the man Father had chosen as my husband-to-be was at least worthy.”

Gunpowder Chronicles:

1. Gunpowder Alchemy

2. Clockwork Samurai


FTC Advisory: Intermix/Penguin provided me with a copy of Gunpowder Alchemy. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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