A Modern Fairy Tale

Posted: Sunday, 1 January, 2012 by nicolajones in Book Reviews
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A Modern Fairy Tale

In a world of magics and dangerous brambles that slow the body to an eternal sleep comes a tale of a man seeking to save the world.  It is a true modern fairy tale, like something out of Arabian Nights.   The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi is a short novella that was written in a far off Renaissance world created in tandem with Tobias Buckell who created his own novella.  It is the story of a lone alchemist who seeks to save his city, and perhaps the world from the bane of the Bramble.  Whenever a person uses magic, somewhere a bramble shoots up.  The bramble has milky hairs that when it comes in contact with human skin causes a deep sleep that slows the heart until it stops beating.  The Alchemist is a widower, forced to sell all his belongings in order to feed his daughter and Pila, the servant who has stayed loyal and cares for the young Jiala. As the story unfolds we see the greed and corruption of the Mayor and Majister, out to execute anyone breaking the ban on magic in order to gain their lands.   The Alchemist with his miraculous balanthast that can destroy the brambles gets caught up in the twisted plot of the Mayor and Majister.

Nicola A. Jones

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