The Alchemy of Stone

  • by Ekaterina Sedia
  • Narrated by Eileen Stevens
  • 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Janice Budd

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.
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- Kris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-07-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios