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Herb-Witch (Lord Alchemist Duology Book 1) (English Edition) di [McCoy, Elizabeth]
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Herb-Witch (Lord Alchemist Duology Book 1) (English Edition) Formato Kindle

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Descrizione prodotto


The Lord Alchemist must be immune to hostile potions. But in all the country, there are only two known immunes: Iathor Kymus, the Lord Alchemist, and his feckless brother, Iasen.

Kessa is a half-barbarian herb-witch, arrested for crimes she didn't quite intend. But when Iathor discovers her immunity to truth potions, he'll do whatever he must to court her. Guilty or not, she's his only hope of banishing his nightmare: a son enslaved to him by the loyalty potion that each Lord Alchemist's heir must drink, and defeat.

But Kessa doesn't trust him, Iasen despises her tainted blood, and there's still the mystery of who complicated Kessa's little crime into the bigger one she didn't intend. They don't even have the benefit of lust at first sight. All they have in common is the alchemist's immunity, and an ability to get on each other's nerves. Will it be enough?

(Contains mature situations.)

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  • Formato: Formato Kindle
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  • Lingua: Inglese
  • ASIN: B007DCCVH8
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Le recensioni clienti più utili su (beta) 4.0 su 5 stelle 33 recensioni
22 di 22 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle A precise mixture of down-to-earth fantasy and thoughtful romance 26 novembre 2012
Di H Waterhouse - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
I really loved this book, and bought the second one from my Kindle the second I clicked the last page. Then I spent the next three weeks telling people about it in person and trying to decide how to write the reviews.

So here's what I told people:
It's got an interesting and well-realized world, with the feeling like we are only seeing a very small part of a much bigger map. The character motivations are not baffling or arbitrary, which one might be more tolerant of if it were being sold as a romance. And it certainly has every element of a forced-marriage romance. But both main characters are also independent and self-sufficient and have their own wants and needs which do not center around short-term desires. Sometimes they are stupid, but only because they don't have all the information to make a better decision.

It's self-published. I wonder if it is that lack of "saleability editing" that makes the flavor just a little unusual. This book (and the one following) are full of sexuality. Not sexiness, or explicit sex, but the different functions of men's and women's bodies. Perhaps the best illustration is this glossary entry:

"dry tea: a contraceptive preparation for women. "Dry" refers to "infertile fields," parched from drought; the tea is brewed and drunk normally. An integral ingredient is maiden's blood; the definition of "maiden" is very strict, for this purpose."

There is a male equivalent, also. Fertility, and the prevention thereof, figure heavily in the storylines. Also Kessa is one of those women with apocalyptically bad periods, and it's just... a thing. No one avoids talking about it, it's not taboo or secret, it's just an impediment she has. The whole culture is set up so that women are as capable of almost everything as men are. Kessa is not exceptional because she owns a business, nor because she knows how to defend herself. She is exceptional because she is imaginative and stoic and flexible. And the stubborn doesn't hurt, either.

She also has extremely striking eyes, and unlike any romance novel I've ever read, they are not a point of beauty, but a disfigurement. I thought it was interesting that she uses her ugliness as a weapon, and even the man falling in love with her has trouble making eye contact with her.

Kessa is a herb-witch, working with naturally occurring ingredients to make simple potions and mixes to help people stay or become healthy. Iathor is an alchemist, and works with chemicals or "metal-salts" to create more powerful medicines and potions. One of the ways he woos Kessa is to offer to teach her more alchemy to enhance her existing knowledge. And he needs all the lures he can get -- it turns out that proposing to people when you first meet them in a dungeon and you are in a position of power makes it hard for them to trust you. Who knew, right?

Of course, the other reason she can't trust him is she has a second life, and doesn't think he would approve of it, not in the least, but her second, secret life involves her family, and she's not about to give them up or endanger them by exposure.

Like I said at the top, I really liked this book. I was blown away by the worldbuilding and structure, the seamless genre-bending, and the interesting investigations on the nature of consent, love, dynastic marriages, and birth control.

Read if: You're looking for something living comfortably between fantasy and romance. You like thinking about the problems of consent and forced marriages. You love a heroine who has a bit of sneak thief in her. You're my sister.

Skip if: You are really going to be ooked out by female biology. Romance only clutters up your poisoning mysteries. You are allergic to the Magical Dark Skinned People trope.

Also read:
The Midwife's Apprentice for herbal healing and strong-minded women.
Herb-Wife (Lord Alchemist Duology) It's what I read next!
19 di 20 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle Strong Setting, Good Plot 3 luglio 2012
Di A. Waite - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
I bought Herb-Witch because a friend of mine enjoyed it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it as well. The setting is interesting and detailed, and I liked the main character. I found the plot interesting, and the relationship moved at a realistic pace (not too slow, so that you want to yell at the book, but also not unbelievably fast).

However, I did have a couple of issues with the duology.

I did not check the stated genre before buying this book, and so when I bought the second book, Herb-Wife, I expected the same feel as the first. The first book felt like Fantasy with a romance subplot to me, while the second book moves the Romance part to the fore. If you're a Fantasy buff but not a Romance buff, the second one is still well written and has the same great setting and characters, but the addition of sex scenes may be annoying if you're reading for the intrigue from the first book.

The second problem I had is a minor quibble, but it bugged me every time I read about it. Using wads of cotton when on a period? That stuff would bunch up and get hard and really annoying. Why not soft wool and hemp layers? They're absorbent and don't bunch up like cotton does. Anyway, not something most people would think about, but I found it a bit odd.
4 di 4 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Not your standard romance 29 febbraio 2012
Di Amazon Customer - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
The Herb-Witch/Herb-Wife duology is neither your typical romance nor your typical fantasy. In a world where magic is 'mere' alchemy but stories of dragons live on, Elizabeth McCoy weaves an engrossing tale of Kessa, 'barbarian' herb-witch journeyman in the Alchemist's Guild, struggling to support herself and those who need her help, and Iathor, the Lord Alchemist who needs her far more than she needs (or wants) him.

I am always reluctant to divulge too many details in a review for fear of spoilers, but I hope it will suffice to say that I read these books straight through twice immediately on purchasing them, and I'd read them before. Captivating, and I've caught more details of the elaborate world building on every read-through. The culture is not just 'medieval fantasy', but with its own well considered and developed unique flavor. (For more, I recommend The Bear Prince, a set of fictional fairy-tales from the same world that give their own insights into the minds of the characters.)

I highly encourage you to purchase this book to see if you like it as well. The more people that buy, the more likely I'll get to read further adventures in this unique world.
1 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Great love story between real characters 18 ottobre 2015
Di Amazon Customer - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
I have re-read this book a few times now and still enjoy it. It's a different kind of love story, about two people that are difficult to know and love, especially the heroine.

The writer creates a rich world and the characters are complex and real. The book is not going to be for everyone - there are some scenes that will certainly turn away a few people, but overall the story is excellent and I highly recommend it to those that enjoy a love story that shows intimacy over sex.

I have read all of the books in this series and keep hoping for more.
1 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
3.0 su 5 stelle well written but falls flat 13 ottobre 2012
Di Amazon Customer - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
This review is for both books in the duology, Herb-Witch and Herb-Wife.

Herb Witch is the story of a young woman who is, as the title of the book indicates, a witch skilled in herbs. Kessa owns a small shop and dispenses various potions and manages to barely skirt the edges of poverty. She has a unique ability to be unaffected by the potions and poisons of her trade. Because immunity is a very rare and desirable trait the head of the Guild (of which she is a member) seeks to marry her. Kessa has faced prejudice her entire life due to being half barbarian, and this coupled with the circumstances of her poverty make it difficult for her to trust anyone. When she refuses to marry, the Guild Master takes her under his wing anyway, and decides to train her in alchemy. The story is part mystery, part romance, and part fantasy novel.

Herb Wife is the continuation of the story, in which Kessa agrees to the marriage for reasons of her own, and adjusts to life as a noble. There is a continuation of the themes from the previous book (prejudice against her half-barbarian background, study of alchemy, and the mystery of who wishes to do her harm), and there is also much exploration of the relationship between the Guild Master and Kessa. There is also the subject of Kessa's pregnancy and her fear of giving birth.

I'm not sure that I'm doing the book justice in describing the bare elements of the plot. The book is well written and at times engrossing. My favorite parts were the descriptions of Kessa's growing study of alchemy.

But for some reason, I can't put my finger on exactly why, I didn't find the series to be very satisfying. Elizabeth McCoy does a good job of world building and her writing is clean and evocative. I think the problem for me was that the book tried to be too many things at once. The mystery was flat in that the one person who is the most unpleasant to Kessa from the beginning is the person who turns out to be the villain in the end. And while Kessa proves to be an apt student of alchemy, she doesn't do anything especially thrilling with those skills - sure she fights off a few bad guys but there were no real surprises or feats of daring in what she did. And the growing romance between Kessa and the Lord Alchemist - it wasn't especially thrilling. There didn't seem to be any great depths of emotion there, and in my opinion it just dragged on too long.

I do want to give a special mention to the "dry tea" that Kessa makes. Eww! I imagine that males who comes across the scene where she's collecting the ingredients to this potion will end up with dry heaves. I get a bit queasy myself thinking about people drinking it.
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