Title: Alchemy’s Air
Author: Stacey Tucker
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Shelves: Female-fronted, Female-authored
If Ocean’s Fire, the opening chapter of the trilogy, was a story about feminine power, then the sequel, Alchemy’s Air, is quite simply a story of feminine power. It not only continues the themes of the first book, it advances the deeper, more spiritual direction of its final chapters.
Where the first book was largely a romance with some hints of spirituality, saving the urban mythology for the final chapters, this one opens with the Great Mothers and their divine intervention on mankind’s behalf.
Now a light gray color, the beaches couldn’t hide their sadness. The shadow of humanity had been drawn out of the protection of the ocean and washed up like a tidal wave of beached sea life. It was forcing mankind to look at its own darkness.
The anthropomorphizing of the environmental catastrophes surrounding around us, ironically, makes them feel more significant. By putting a face to the elements, by giving the Great Mothers both plan and purpose, we are forced to face the dire consequences of our actions. At the same time, by delving into the politics of a fictional female President we are reminded that we can influence those disasters but often choose not to.
The Underworld needed its memory. Atlantis needs its heart.
What I enjoyed most about this second volume was how open and genuine it felt when dealing with mythology. There was no mysterious trappings, half-glimpsed realms, or possibly imagined encounters with the feminine divine. Skylar does sit and talk with the Great Mothers. She does learn the secret of New Age crystals. She does go to Atlantis. She does meet mermaids. She does go to the Underworld. And she does visit the Akashic Library, where what she learns about the written word is . . . well, quite magical.
She had always believed in the magic of books—ideas put on paper, so many forgotten. But the written word, once captured in form, remained for eternity. That was the essence of the Akashic Records, and Skylar felt its presence here so profoundly.
In fact, much of this volume has an epic quest feel to it, complete with dangers to be overcome, lessons to be learned, and sacrifices to be made. It makes for a more engaging, more dramatic book than the first, and ties in quite nicely with the overall feminine mythology. There’s even a clever reveal and twist near the end, an undoing if you will, that keeps the door open for the third and final volume, Sky of Water.
Skylar rolled off of Argan and sat beside him. She rested her elbows on her knees to catch her breath. “Now what?” she asked.
He looked at the well. All that remained of the cascading fire was a faint glow deep within the well. “Throw it in?”
“I’m not Frodo, Argan,” she said, dusting off her bottom. “And that’s a one-shot decision. If it’s the wrong one, we’re done.”
About my only real (and minor) complaint is that the story seems oddly paced, taking a long while to really get to the heart of the matter, but there’s so much else going on, so much background and mythology to be explored, that I can hardly begrudge the time spent establishing it. Besides, once it does get once, once Skylar embarks on her quest, President Mica begins leading the country down a Wiccan path, and Magus begins to show his cards, the story is too good to bemoan what got us there.
Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ 1/2
My sincere thanks to Sherri Rosen Publicity Intl NYC for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.