The Alchemist of Souls
by Anne Lyle
published by Angry Robot
genre: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction.
Summary (Goodreads): When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers’ wake, bringing Native American goods--and a skrayling ambassador--to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I’s capital?
Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is seconded to the ambassador's bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems. What he learns about the skraylings and their unholy powers could cost England her new ally--and Mal his soul.
My Thoughts: I didn't enjoy reading this as much I enjoyed the overall story.
There was too much of Coby and the actors for me. Whenever the story veered away from Mal and his story I lost interest. I didn't care about the plays or who won the competition or even the fact that there was a competition. All the side characters stories felt the same and didn't add anything to the overall picture. I can see where the author was trying to take it all and get all the characters in the same place.
The other thing that was weird/off was the relationship between Mal and Coby. She is a young girl pretending to be a boy so she can work in the theater. Based on how her character is presented and how Mal's character is presented they don't make sense to me. She seems too young and based on other things that happened during the book not someone that he would normally take a notice of.
All of that said, I did like Mal and his story with the skraylings. Finding out about Mal and his brother's past and how it related to his getting the job of the Ambassador's bodyguard.
Overall, I'm still interested in the world that the author created and Mal's place in it. I'm hoping that the second book, that will not have so much focus on the theater, will keep my interest more.