Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin
Gunpowder Alchemy is an alternate history steampunk adventure set in 1842 China. It is brimming with family drama, dark secrets, political intrigue and lots of steam. Steam of all kinds...wink, wink.
Jin Soling has worked hard to maintain her family’s dignity after her father is banished from the royal court. Once a respected family led by one of the Emperor’s top engineers, Jin’s father has been executed, her mother is addicted to opium, and her brother is too young to help carry the burden of caring for the family.
During a last ditch effort to sell one of her father’s clockwork creations, Jin is captured by the city guards and interrogated under suspicion of treason against the Empire. When Jin finally invokes her deceased father’s name, her interrogation takes a dramatic turn. Her world turns upside down, yet again, as she finds herself in front of the Emperor himself, the son of the man who had her father executed. What Jin learns from the Emperor changes everything Jin has ever been taught to believe.
Jin must now try to survive a journey that will lead her to foreign cities and people from her past that she never thought she would see again. Between steam powered sailing ships, a secret explosive formula, and mysterious characters, Jin never knows who she can trust or where she will end up next. But Jin’s drive to reunite her family and help her mother overcome her addiction keeps Jin from ever giving up-no matter the cost to her.
This was an exciting and page turning read filled with amazing world building and complex characters. I really enjoyed JIn’s character-she’s brilliant and hard working without it ever being too precious. You could really feel how burned out and exhausted she was trying to balance her family and work. This is the first book in a series and I really liked how many of the characters were left open to play important parts in future books.
BONUS!!! While looking up links to the book, I found the second book in the series, Clockwork Samurai, is only $2.99 for Kindle!
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