A Conspiracy of Alchemists - Liesel Schwarz *Genre* Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Steampunk*Rating* 3.5*My Thoughts*A Conspiracy of Alchemists features Eleanor “Elle” Chance a dirigible pilot with a taste for adventure who just happens to have something of a predetermined destiny in becoming the next Oracle or Pythia. The world in which Schwartz creates is one that combines the elements of urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance. The story is set in 1903 where the world itself is divided into two reigning factions: Light – those who are non-magic using humans who believe in science and Shadow - consisting of beings like Warlocks, Nightwalkers, Fairies, and Alchemists.Hired by her docking agent Patrice Chevalier to fly a very important parcel from Paris to England, Elle is accosted, nearly kidnapped, and the package ends up being stolen away. To the rescue is the mysterious Warlock Hugh Marsh who ends up accompanying Elle back to London where she discovers that her famous scientist father has been kidnapped. Marsh is not only mysterious, but you could definitely tell that he was keeping secrets from Elle and revealing them only when necessary to the successful mission of retrieving her father. Unbeknownst to Elle, two warring sides of Shadow, the Alchemists and the Warlocks, are after her to use her gift for their own political and power-draining purposes. Elle is a very interesting and enjoyable character that fights all stereotypes by being a female dirigible pilot and not caring about following in her father’s footsteps, or settling down and getting married to the first eligible bachelor that just happens to come along. It takes someone like Hugh Marsh to capture her attention and hold it. Elle enjoys wearing male designed clothing, has a lot of spunk and desire, and is probably a better shot than most men are. This is a true steampunk novel and not just an afterthought to lure readers into a false sense of satisfaction, only to let them down in the end. I loved the gyrocopters and dirigibles of course. I loved the mixture of Vampires (Nightwalkers), Warlocks, Light and Shadow and the fact that Elle is the girl who casts no shadows and is destined to hold the realms of Light and Shadow together.Obviously, since I’ve already read the second book in the series, I intend to continue reading Elle’s adventures and see what kind of mischief she can get into next.*Recvd via Netgalley 11/12/2012* Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Del Rey