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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
In Rose of the Alchemist by L.E. Frost, Xavier hasn't been given a chance to really experience life as his grandfather has kept him inside his whole life because of Xavier being half Jardi. He finally gets his chance at freedom when he passes his exams to enter university. Leaving his dreary life behind, his new life offers him the opportunity to apprentice for one of his teachers, a chance to understand his Jardi gift, and he even catches the eye of the beautiful Edwina. Then a seer stops him and warns him of a dangerous sorcerer coming after him, and a mysterious knight harboring a secret begs for his help to rescue his sister from the same sorcerer. Xavier must learn to trust his new ally, Meri, and understand his destiny if they stand a chance of staging a rescue and stopping the sorcerer's cruelty.
L.E. Frost breaks the story into three parts, beginning with Xavier's life with his grandfather, time at school, and his journey to stop a dangerous sorcerer. Each part contributes to this unfolding origin story with elements of a heroic adventure and coming of age journey. Frost uses university as a way to allow Xavier to experience his first taste of freedom and provide him with an honest chance to accept who he is. Frost is specific about the type of characters used at certain points in Xavier's journey, entering his life when he needs them. Through this dynamic, Frost uses each character to drive the other to think about the world and their own future differently. The sorcerer is the biggest threat Xavier faces, which drives his arc and helps to push him to uncover his destiny. Frost excels at character arcs, weaving Xavier's and Meri's journeys together and using each to make the other question their destiny, to be true to themselves. Rose of the Alchemist is a stunning read full of adventure; a coming of age story about freedom and finding your way with love, friendship, and magic.