by Kylie Lee Baker
Series: The Scarlet Alchemist #1
Published by Inkyard Press
Release Date: October 3rd 2023
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Format Read: ARC
Zilan dreams of becoming a royal alchemist, of providing for her family by making alchemical gold and gems for the wealthy to eat in order to stay young forever. But for now, she’s trapped in her impoverished village in southern China, practicing an illegal form of alchemy to keep food on the table—resurrecting the dead, for a price.
When Zilan finally has the chance to complete her imperial exams, she ventures to the capital to compete against the best alchemists in the country in tasks she’ll be lucky to survive, let alone pass. On top of that, her reputation for raising the dead has followed her to the capital, and the Crown Prince himself seeks out her help, suspecting a coming assassination attempt.
The more Zilan succeeds in her alchemy, the more she gets caught in the dangerous political games of the royal family. There are monsters lurking within the palace walls, and it’s only a matter of time before they—and secrets of Zilan’s past—catch up with her.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Wow. That’s all I can say. WOW. Kylie Lee Baker just did that. She really just wrote one of my favorite books of 2023.
Set in a world where gold and immortality reign supreme, The Scarlet Alchemist is a YA historical fantasy set in an alternate version of China during the Tang Dynasty. Zilan practices alchemy and dreams of becoming a royal alchemist. But the road to becoming a royal alchemist is paved with difficult trials.
Baker’s prose will grab your attention from the first sentence. I stayed up late reading because I had to know what happened next. I lost track of time reading this book. I was no longer in our world; I was with Zilan as she navigated the royal court. I adored all of the characters. Zilan’s determination and loyalty will only endear her to you. Her relationship with Wenshu, her older brother, and her big sister, Yufei, was heartwarming. Their banter was hilarious! My cheeks hurt from smiling so much! I highlighted several of their scenes together. Last, but certainly not least, we have Hong. My sweet precious himbo crown prince ?. Hong was too sweet. Every time he was on the page, I was the heart-eyes emoji.
In addition to incredible characters, Baker crafted a story full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat! There were times when I gasped aloud. I cannot wait to see everyone’s reactions after they read this book! I cannot praise this book enough! I loved it from start to finish.
Lush and imaginative, The Scarlet Alchemist will sweep you off your feet as you journey to an alternate world where the impossible is now possible, where the dead don’t stay dead, and where gold holds the key to immortality.
Hi, I’m Skye! I’m a college student by day and a bookstagrammer and book blogger by night. 😉 I’m also fluent in the language of sarcasm, so my kryptonite in any book is great witty banter.
Check out my Instagram account if you want to see my latest book obsessions! Also, feel free to reach out to me on social media if you ever need someone to fangirl with! I love meeting new bookish friends. 🙂