The Scarlet Alchemist (Hardback)
  • The Scarlet Alchemist (Hardback)
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The Scarlet Alchemist (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 432 Pages
Published: 25/10/2023
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You cannot create good without also creating evil.

'DAZZLING' Chloe Gong

'GRIM, LUSH, FASCINATING' Guardian

Zilan dreams of becoming a royal alchemist, of providing for her family by making alchemical gold and gems for the wealthy to eat in order to stay young forever. But for now, she's trapped in her impoverished village in southern China, practicing an illegal form of alchemy to keep food on the table - resurrecting the dead, for a price.

When Zilan finally has the chance to complete her imperial exams, she ventures to the capital to compete against the best alchemists in the country in tasks she'll be lucky to survive, let alone pass. On top of that, her reputation for raising the dead has followed her, and the Crown Prince himself seeks out her help, suspecting a coming assassination attempt.

The more Zilan succeeds in her alchemy, the more she gets caught in the dangerous political games of the royal family. There are monsters lurking within the palace walls, and it's only a matter of time before they - and secrets of Zilan's past - catch up with her.

A dark YA fantasy duology set in an alternate Tang Dynasty China, where alchemy has led to income inequality as the rich eat gold to achieve eternal youth, and a poor biracial girl with the ability to raise the dead gets caught up in the dangerous political games of the royal family.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 9781399723282
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 680 g
Dimensions: 236 x 162 x 40 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

This GRIM, LUSH, FASCINATING YA fantasy is the first book of a duology that will grip fans of Xiran Jay Zhao. - Guardian

Visceral to the core. The Scarlet Alchemist imagines alternate history with daring imagination and incredible detail. Even once you've turned the last page, you'll still be entrenched within this dazzling world running with gold and blood - Chloe Gong, New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights

The Scarlet Alchemist is a dark and glittering jewel of a book, full of blood, gold, and fury. I devoured it in a day! - Judy I. Lin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Book of Tea duology

Kylie Lee Baker stuns in this deliciously dark page-turner! An exhilarating blend of strikingly unique magic and masterful twists, with a sharp-edged, fiercely ambitious heroine who subverts the rules of life and death, clawing her way to the top-and into your heart - June CL Tan, international bestselling author of Jade Fire Gold

Vivid, twisting and thrilling! I loved this morally grey rollercoaster through an alternate Tang Dynasty with ruthless competition, intrigue and dark magic. Zilan is a captivating and complex protagonist, by turns relatable, loveable and monstrous-and always fascinating - Vanessa Len, author of Only a Monster

The Scarlet Alchemist is a beautifully crafted and incisively written tale of alchemy, blood, magic, and family that gripped me from the first page to the last. Full of twists I didn't see coming, a wry humor that made me laugh out loud, and a fierce, capable heroine I couldn't help but root for, this book is everything I look for in a fantasy novel. Read it! - Rati Mehrotra, author of Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove

I loved this book and you will too. The Scarlet Alchemist is perfectly paced, with dynamic prose, clever competition setups, and a protagonist who will leave you in awe of her resourcefulness. Kylie Lee Baker is an amazing storycrafter, and I would sell my soul for the sequel! - Joan He, New York Times bestselling author of Strike the Zither

Kylie Lee Baker writes incredibly immersive historical fantasies. So fans of C-dramas and Fullmetal Alchemist, look no further. The Scarlet Alchemist is an absolute treat - June Hur, bestselling author of The Red Palace

Though the practice is punishable by death, 17-year-old Fan Zilan supplements her family's meager income by resurrecting the dead through life alchemy. As a hùnxie?-a half Hàn Chinese, "half foreigner"-whose mother died and father disappeared, she lives with her sickly aunt and uncle as well as two cousins, Yufei and Wenshu, in the small southern town of Guangzhou. Bold Yufei and ever-cautious Wenshu are studying to take the civil service exams, which, if passed, will help them cultivate more comfortable lives; Zilan, meanwhile, is competing with other gifted youth to become a royal court alchemist, like the famed ones who developed a gold immortality elixir that halts aging once consumed. After passing the first exam, the three make their way to the city of Chang'an for the second, where Zilan finds herself embroiled in a royal conspiracy with an Empress who's determined to rid her court of any threats to her crown. In this deeply immersive historical fantasy, a grisly duology opener, Baker (The Empress of Time) expertly navigates the societal constraints and pains of marginalization via visceral prose. A developing romance between Zilan and the Crown Prince offers lighthearted joy amid the narrative's ruthless and gruesome happenings. A historical note concludes. - Publishers Weekly

A young alchemist uses unconventional practices to climb the social ladder.Seventeen-year-old Fan Zilan, who is Hàn Chinese and Scotian, dreams of becoming a royal alchemist like those who discovered the immortality elixir made of gold. Orphaned in a small village in Guangzhou, Zilan works at Auntie So and Uncle Fan's struggling store, where they make and sell míngqì-clay vessels for burials. She illegally performs life alchemy to resurrect the dead and bring in extra money. Zilan and her cousins finally get the chance for better lives by heading up north to the capital to take the all-important civil service exams. Competition is fierce, and, as someone poor and half-foreign, the odds are against her, but Zilan must succeed in order to provide for her family. She's garnered a reputation in Chang'an for her resurrections, and Crown Prince Li Hong seeks out her services. Tangled up in royal secrets, dangerous politics, and monstrous alchemical experiments, fierce Zilan struggles and fights for her place. Set in an alternate Tang dynasty China, this dark historical fantasy presents an enchanting, immersive world in which the manipulation of elements knows no bounds. Centered around life and death, this fast-paced story is gory and gruesome but lightened by moments of levity. Baker touches on racism, sexism, classism, identity, and family and friendship ties. Contemporary Mandarin and Cantonese words are woven into this dark duology opener. Grisly, dark, and utterly entrancing. - Kirkus Review

A ruthless and standout series opener to a dark, adrenaline-fueled duology. Highly recommended for all collections. - SLJ Reviews

Immersive, unique, grisly and delightfully dark, Kylie Lee Baker's newest YA fantasy novel, The Scarlet Alchemist, is quite frankly one of the most compelling and readable fantasies we've read this year - United by Pop

The sumptuously dark and vicious twists of this story bound by the magic of life, blood and familial love will have any young fantasy fan hooked in an instant. Kylie Lee Baker is a master of the world-building skills that can make historical fiction feel like stepping into a nightmare and a dream at once, with an unforgettably stubborn protagonist you'll want to follow until the end. - The National

The sumptuously dark and vicious twists of this story bound by the magic of life, blood and familial love will have any young fantasy fan hooked in an instant. Kylie Lee Baker is a master of the world-building skills that can make historical fiction feel like stepping into a nightmare and a dream at once, with an unforgettably stubborn protagonist you'll want to follow until the end - The National

Kylie Lee Baker in conversation with Micaiah Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan

Kylie Lee Baker in conversation with Micaiah Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan

London - Covent Garden
Tuesday 13th August 18:30 - 20:00

Join Kylie Lee Baker Micaiah Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan for a thrilling night discussing their incredible novels and discovering dangerous female protagonists within!

View

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“For Lovers of Fullmetal Alchemist, this is for you!”

Do you love Fullmetal Alchemist as much as I do? Well then this is the book for you!

And no I don't just say that because there is alchemy. To me this book feels draws inspiration directly from FMA and I love... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 3

“Captivating YA historical fantasy”

Living an impoverished life, Zilan performs illegal alchemy to raise the dead in order to keep her family fed. When the chance arises for exams to become a royal alchemist, she travels to the capital. After hearing... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 1

“Great story in an intriguing setting!”

I had a really great time with this book! Didn’t expect to like it so much.

The writing was easy and the story and world building therefore just as easy to understand. However, there were very few expressions that... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 1

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