I have been hunting for this book for ages. It was the first tale that through me into the world of novels and that I completely loved. This book is honestly the very reason that I became so obsessed with reading. So the fact that I have finally found a copy to revisit this made me one of the happiest girls in the world. And reading this again, also made me deliriously happy. And it also made me cry.
I have stopped and started this book a number of times. The first time, I liked it, it was a little slow to begin with, but I just had too much going on to really settle into it. The second time, I got 100 pages in and then a similar thing happened. After two weeks, and a lot of other things going on in my life, I picked it up again. It turns out like 101 pages in the pace of this story changes dramatically. And then I couldn’t put it down…
I didn’t realise that this novella fits towards the end of the Dark Heavens series, I actually thought it sat in beforehand, a bit like Small Shen. But, there is a small mention of Simone as a woman, so I figure it is much later in the overall series. That’s not to say that it really gave anything away, there is a small mention of Emma and John going out for Yum Cha with Simone, but that is the only hint of the future. And to be completely honest, you know that eventually they will get their happily ever after… Chan has just put them through too much to not give them that. Or me. I need that. I haven’t even finished the series. And I know that I need that happily ever after…
This was one of the books Mum bought me years ago, back when she still bought me books because I didn’t have the serious bibiliophilic problem that I have today. And I remember giving it to my sister to read when she was younger. It’s the reason that she too has started to create her own library – there’s just something about this fast-paced, fun and intriguing book that has drawn both of us in from the very first page.
I love the combination of mediums in this novel. Flicking between prose and images makes this journey really fun and different. Especially when you place it within the context of the Dark Heavens series. Following Gold through the years and his ability to get into all kinds of trouble is entertaining to say the least. The fact that his numerous mistakes are accompanied by actual facial expressions, well, it’s priceless.
Harding always sweeps me away on an epic journey that is both unexpected and thrilling. Somehow, she not only manages to weave an amazing world of mystery and mayhem, her trips into spirituality and the other leave you thinking about it in a way that no other author is able to inspire. The Alchemist’s Key was definitely such a journey for me, and one that was a little less in depth and intense than some of the other Traci Harding books which grace my shelves.
I was kind of sad to finish this story – after all, it is the very last of the Deltora Quest tales and it completely ties up the tale of Lief, Barda and Jasmine. But it’s also nice when an author finishes off such a long series in such a way. It doesn’t make you constantly wonder “what happened” and gives everyone their nice, happy, ride off into the sunset future. Yes, they might be kind of cheesy, but I still like the happily ever after endings…
The trap is almost sprung. Or at least that’s how it’s feeling when you read the third story in this quartet. The horrors of the past clash against the trials of the present as the four hurry towards the Sister of the West. And this is probably my favourite evil guardian so far. He is so incredibly obviously evil, and also sinister. Yet, as with everything in this series, a great commentary on a social manifestation – in this case greed.
The second tale of the Four Sisters raises the stakes yet again. It also introduces a completely new cultural group into the stories. The Masked Ones. Who are kind of cool (in that they seem based around the idea of gypsies). But also incredibly creepy. And almost evil in what they do – but you’ll just have to read this novel to find out why they give me such a mixed reaction.
I love dragons. That is always a good place to start with a series for me. Something that has dragons in it. So the final of the Deltora Quests, and its focus on dragons… yes, I would love to read this. Quickly and before I go to sleep most nights. Because then I have beautiful dreams of dragons.