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The Alchemy of Stone | [Ekaterina Sedia]

The Alchemy of Stone

Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets - secrets that can completely alter the balance of power in the city of Ayona. This doesn't sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart - literally.
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Publisher's Summary

Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets - secrets that can completely alter the balance of power in the city of Ayona. This doesn't sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart - literally.

©2008 Ekaterina Sedia (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Sedia's evocative third novel, a steampunk fable about the price of industrial development, follows Mattie, an emancipated automaton, as her home city is rent by conflict between alchemists and the mechanics whose clanking, steaming inventions are changing society....Sedia's exquisitely bleak vision deliberately skewers familiar ideas from know-it-all computers to talking statues desperate for souls, leaving readers to reach their own conclusions about the proper balance of tradition and progress and what it means to be alive." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (38 )
5 star
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3.7 (28 )
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Story
4.0 (27 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Janice Budd Canada 12-29-11
    Janice Budd Canada 12-29-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    27
    FOLLOWERS
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    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Steam Punk with a fizzle"

    The title drew me to this book more than anything else. There is something magical and promising about it.

    I listened to the audiobook narrated by Eileen Stevens. I enjoyed the voices she gave to Mattie (the automaton), Nairobi (spelling could be off here), and the stone gargoyles, but her male voices left something to be desired. When she was narrating, her voice was a bit flat and monotonous. I almost gave up part way through, but managed to perservere to the end.

    I liked the concept of the protagonist - a machine that can reason, feel physical pain and pleasure, as well as identify to a specific gender and emote enough to fall in love. The only thing lacking is a soul. The themes throughout the book were that of political power, subservience, and oppression of caste.

    I was intrigued by the characters Mattie, Nairobi, and the Soul Smoker.

    A few things were confusing to me. It seemed incongruous to have a sophisticated automaton in a technically backwards society. At the end of the civil unrest, I was still uncertain as to what it was all about. Character development seemed to be lacking in some of the characters that would have helped in making the story cohesive. Perhaps these things were lost in interpretation by the narrator.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kris Helena, MT, United States 11-03-10
    Kris Helena, MT, United States 11-03-10 Member Since 2010

    Kris Delaney

    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
    ratings
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    93
    16
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    "Supernatural Prose Creates Haunting World"

    Great listen. Eileen Stevens is one of the best narrators I've ever heard. Her portrayal of the characters was fresh and charismatic. Ekaterina Sedia has created a world so different and wonderful, she could write a series of novels set in its passages. Alas, it is refreshing to know she isn't one of 'those' writers. If you like other worldly and urban fantasy come no further, this book is for you. I couldn't wait to hear more.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nancy boynton beach, FL, United States 04-03-11
    nancy boynton beach, FL, United States 04-03-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    27
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    "lovely"

    The story has uneven parts and plots but Mattie is a fragile life in the reader's mind and perhaps heart by the end of the story. E. Sedia demonstrates within development of certain characters difficult predicaments in understanding words. There is something unexpected to living truth and Sedia has led the reader into this reminder. Mattie is a unique creature in reading and the audio version is easier to find her than actual reading. Two points about discovery through listening depend on narrator and the difficulty of reading the end first. The narrator was essential to Mattie but perhaps more experience with the difficulties of narrating multiple characters would have helped the whole book. Mattie is the book for me and the narrator made her a lovely, complex mystery. This is book is far more interesting than its faults.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DEAN Huntington, IN, United States 05-31-11
    DEAN Huntington, IN, United States 05-31-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
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    "No Point"

    Their is point to the book .No drama or fun. I never wanted laught or cry .

    1 of 10 people found this review helpful
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