So interesting and original

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The Scarlet Alchemist is a historical alternative fantasy, set in China in the 6th Century (Tang dynasty)

Zilan wants to be a royal alchemist, she has worked hard to achieve it, although the odds are against her. She is strong, clever, and passionate, also with slightly gray morals and she lives in a rustless world, so it is justified. The imperial exams are approaching and they will be harder than she expected, she has to use all her wit to pass.

I love Zilan’s voice, she is a great character to read, and very complex. The tests will be difficult, but she will find an ally in the Prince, there is a romantic subplot between them that I love, he is the opposite of her, she distrusts everyone and he is more open, they make a good team, they will investigate mysteries that happen in the castle, he is next to the throne and not everyone likes the idea and they both believe that alchemy is being used for evil.

It’s dramatic, with a good plot twist, smart relatable, and realistic characters. Nobody is perfect. The setting is atmospheric, you feel like you are there. The magic system is so interesting, very scientific, and somewhat creepy. It's fantasy but the author was inspired by 7th century alchemists. The magic system is a mix of alchemy and resurrection/necromancer magic.

It keeps you hooked, it has a good rhythm, there are moments of action and then slower scenes where they explain the magic, and secrets are discovered, is so good. It’s a saga, the main plot is resolved, and it's not a cliffhanger. I’m excited for the second book

Read if you like:
Historical Fantasy
Morally Grey Characters
Interesting Magic Systemx
Old Chinese Dynasty Setting