The Alchemy of Stone follows the quest of a sentient automaton trained as an alchemist. It takes place in a totally different world, one built by gargoyles who can make the stone grow in any way they please – until now. The gargoyles are dying out, and they need help to save their race. But unrest in the city interrupts their pursuit, and the automaton must pick a side.
This is a great book that I highly recommend for Steampunk fans. Sedia writes beautiful prose, especially when doing the POV of the gargoyles. Like many Steampunk works, it looks at the tension between progress, power, and the lengths people will go to get them. The main character, Mattie, is a perfect protagonist, both and insider and an outsider who has a unique perspective on the situation. Though she is not human, she seeks to understand people and her place in the world, and encounters questions of love, loss, and betrayal along her path to understanding. Though the civil war fomenting within the city is the main plot driving the action, Mattie and her own journey is definitely the most compelling part of this story.
It’s a highly enjoyable read and a great escape.