3.5 Stars****Posted as a guest review over at Paranormalhaven.com***** When I first came across the blurb for Liesel Schwarz’s A Conspiracy of Alchemists, I got really excited. Talk about a blending of some of my favorite genres. Urban fantasy, steampunk and paranormal romance all mixed into one. There are lots of ideas that get tossed around in the book, so it took me a little while to get through the novel, but the visual imagery and creativity get high marks from me. Eleanor Chance or “Elle” is a young pilot who is hired by her docking agent Patrice, to fly a very important parcel to England. Against her better judgment, she agrees to carry the package, while not knowing what exactly is inside the box itself. Almost as soon as Elle has custody of the parcel, there is an attempted abduction and the box ends up being stolen, while Elle is rescued by a gentleman that goes by the name of Hugh Marsh. They encounter a bit of trouble after Elle lands her airship at the agreed upon destination of her passengers and Elle, along with her airship, lands in the care of Hugh Marsh. When Elle returns home, she finds that her father has been kidnapped and insists upon setting out to rescue her father. At this point in the story, you can tell that Marsh is deliberately keeping information about Elle to himself, but the author does a nice job with having Marsh reveal various pieces of information throughout the story. While Elle comes across as a competent character, she also seems very young. Although she flies her ships and is the daughter of this genius inventor, she’s also very sheltered, and it comes across with her interactions with Marsh. In some ways, this reads very much as a Young Adult novel and it did frustrate me a bit while I was reading. The author takes great pains in setting up the Light and Shadows and makes the reader want to know more about the Nightwalkers and Alchemists. There is also an alternating viewpoint from an absinthe fairy that starts before every other chapter or so that adds another layer to the story that I found intriguing.Now there are parts that meander something fierce and I did find myself skimming at times when the book would get bogged down in descriptions, but this may be attributed to being book # 1 within the series. The relationship that develops between Elle and Marsh was also a high point for me, with both them slowly learning about one another with revelations being made all throughout the book. By the author’s own description, the double cross that occurs does not come as any great surprise, but that’s a small quibble with a book that I enjoyed immensely. If you like a book with great visual imagery, unique world building, and a somewhat muted romance, then A Conspiracy of Alchemists may be the book for you.