Mei 27, 2020

[e-ARC review] The Lady Alchemist - Samantha Vitale

Title: The Lady Alchemist

Author: Samantha Vitale

Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling

Publisher: Month9Books

Publication Date: May 26th 2020

ISBN: 1951710177 (ISBN13: 9781951710170)

Edition: Paperback 300 pages

Buy at: Book Depository || Amazon



In a land torn between magic and alchemy, Sepha is an exceptional alchemist, able to bend the rules in ways no one else can. But when a slip of the tongue lands her in prison with a mountain of straw, even she has to admit that she can’t transmute straw into gold.

With the threat of a death sentence hanging over her, she’s forced to make a deal with a conniving magician. Sepha escapes with her life – but at a cost: she has one year to alchemically create a body for the magician, or else her firstborn child will be his.

As Sepha’s deadline approaches, she uncovers a deadly secret. How can she save her country when the body she owes the magician will be used to destroy it?

- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49188351-the-lady-alchemist

The Lady Alchemist is a retelling of the classic story "Rumpelstiltskin". This is a story about the journey of Sepha in a world of alchemy when someday she faced difficulty, she must transmute a straw into gold. If she can not transmute, death sentence looming over her and her father. But this situation made her to deal with a magician that can help her to change the mountain of straw into gold with an exchange of her firstborn child within a year.

So Sepha lives day by day with the burden of magic from the magician in a country that forbid any magic while she has the chance to be the lady alchemist something that she always hoped for. But she was not alone. She met Ruhen, Destry, and Henric, which are students in an Alchemy institute. Everyday they learn together and practice together while Sepha kept a secret research to create a body for the magician as an alternative of a firstborn child.

This is where it all begins. Insta love is built. Friendships are made. But time is also moving. Many secrets are uncovered in a land that "everyone knows magic and alchemy don't mix".

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World Building

I liked how Samantha build the world in Alchemy. I never read about Alchemy (did I?). I read magic fantasy the most. But Alchemy mix with magic is something new to me. At first I was a bit hard to imagine what an Alchemy was. What made them so different with magic beside using some chemical medium and so on. But then it was kinda cool how a weapon was fast made by using chemical.

This story was also mostly did in an Alchemist institute. My first thought was went to Hogwarts but not full of magic. I always love a book that took part in a school and library. Especially when magic was around. To me the world of Sepha was a bit dark. Well this was not a horror fantasy but something mysterious was surely happened there.


I will like the plot if I found at least one plot twist. So did I find a plot twist? Yes I found it even so many. There were plot twists that I could not imagine. I did not see them coming really. I tried to guess some story line but I guessed it wrong.

The writer is already stated one of the twist actually. If you see the tag line in the cover, you must surely think that is something. This initial twist led into another twists that were amazing.

Well yeah sometimes the adventure was not adventurous enough. But I still found some plot holes. They were not that disturbing though. But I am really hoping for the next book and got this explained. This plot hole definitiely was not the epilogue of course. Spoiler alert!! If the magician was that good, why did he one day attacked and then suddenly missing and then attacked again? He could pop up right away and he also knew that Sepha was an amateur alchemy didn't he?


I was immediately in love with Sepha and Ruhen. I also liked Destry and Henric. I usually didn't like any insta love thing. But this thing is an exception. Although it was an insta love but actually did not mean that Sepha and Ruhen was in an immediate relationship. In their insta love, there was a slow burn romance thanks to the magic itself and it was very realistic in a relationship between man and woman.

This is a Young Adult story, but I did not dislike the characters. They are very mature as Young Adults but yet realistic in their age because what they wanted was to be free of suffering. Their action was not a typical YA characters to me. Although in some chapters I hate Sepha of being a stubborn woman that led into a dangerous path, which then she admitted that it was because her stubborness.

Writing Style

Samantha had a unique style that I hadn't read before. Her writing was very blunt but true. She used easy sentences, but as a non native English speaker, I also learnt some new sentences and patterns that I hadn't known before. Well in short I just love her blunt smart writing style. That's it. (I am sorry, a bit hard to explain in English)


Don't you see that gorgeous cover. Very dark but shinny and glam. There are black snake and golden key at the cover with gold font title and black cover. I bet that this gold title will be in gold foil material on the dust jacket. Beside of white, I really love black cover with gold or silver shinny. I usually didn't like a book with snake on the cover. But this was an exception. What I need now is the hardcover one of this book to collect and a sequel!!

Book Quote

Then she heard Destry's voice. "You'll be fine."

It was a risk. But it was a risk she neede to take.

After a long time, Ruhen said, "We'll make it right."


Message of the Story

What I learn from the story is that as a human sometimes we want to be free from our suffering. The shortest path is usually by running away and lying. But then it is not the way. Face and take the risk are what surely be done. And do not forget that the people around you are also there to help with a kind heart.

Recommend for

If you love magic and retelling, you should try to read this one. In my opinion, for those of you who like to read Serpent & Dove and Cursebreakers series need to read this one. Hopefully you can like this book as much as I do.

My Rating

[star rating="4" numeric="yes"]

What do you think? Have you read this book? Will you read this if you haven't? Don't forget to give your like and comment down below. Thank you.


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Mei 08, 2020

Marissa Meyer Penulis Best Seller (Seri Pengarang)


Siapa disini yang menyukai kisah klasik si upik abu alias Cinderella? Siapa juga disini yang menyukai kisah tentang dunia robot dan fiksi sains? Kalau menyukai penggabungan keduanya pasti menyukai seri The Lunar Chronicles karangan ibu beranak kembar, Marissa Meyer. Seri ini merupakan salah satu seri favoritku karena merupakan kisah retelling Cinderella yang nggak biasa. Dari buku pertamanya yaitu Cinder, mengantarkanku untuk lebih jauh membaca buku-buku karangan Marissa Meyer hingga hari ini.

Marissa Meyer adalah salah satu pengarang yang memberikan pengaruh cukup besar dalam perjalanan ku membaca hingga bisa sampai memiliki akun beberapa akun khusus membaca seperti sekarang ini. Sedikit historiku, sejak aku SMP aku adalah seorang penikmat buku fiksi. Novel-novel (kisah novel anak-anak remaja tentunya) yang ada di perpustakaan sekolahku habis kulahap. Ini membuatku menjadi pembaca hingga aku SMA. Sayangnya saat masuk kuliah kegiatan ini agak kendor. Masuk dunia kerja kegiatan membacaku jadi lebih kendor lagi. Maraknya seri drama korea dan TV series lainnya membuat waktu senggangku habis dipakai untuk "binge watch" segala jenis serial TV.

Namun ini semua berubah ketika aku sudah melahirkan (pada tahun 2016 silam). Berhubung masih dirumah mertua, akses serial TV pun terbatas. Sebagai ibu yang baru punya anak pertama, baby blues pun menyerang. Saat itu, dalam 1 tahun pertama kelahiran anakku, aku sering emosi seakan-akan hormonal ku bergejolak. Ditambah lagi tetap harus bekerja lebih menambah beban dalam hidup.

Hingga suatu saat aku mendapat dorongan untuk membaca kembali. Awalnya berwujud dari keisengan scroll instagram, bertemulah aku dengan bookstagram dan disaat itu pula, buku tentang "Cinder" lagi hype dibicarakan. Melihat sinopsisnya yang tentang retelling Cinderella membuatku saat itu langsung tertarik lalu membeli ebook nya untuk dibaca di gadget. Serial pertama yang aku baca tanpa henti (binge-read) adalah "The Lunar Chronicles" yang aku selesaikan dalam sebulan. Marissa Meyer adalah titik balikku untuk kembali membaca yang membuatku pelan-pelan menghilangkan baby blues dan lebih menata mood kala itu hingga kini.

Siapa Marissa Meyer

Mengutip (dan menerjemahkan) dari Wikipedia, Marissa Meyer adalah seorang pengarang yang lahir di Tacoma, Washington, Amerika Serikat pada tahun 1984 silam. Ia sudah menikah dengan seorang lelaki bernama Jesse Taylor dua bulan sebelum "Cinder" rilis. Pada tahun 2015, mereka mengadopsi dua anak kembar bernama Sloane and Delaney.

Bibliografi Marissa Meyer

Jadi apa saja buku-buku Marissa Meyer yang sudah diterbitkan? Berikut ini bibliografinya yang dikutip dari laman pribadi Marissa Meyer sendiri.

The Lunar Chronicles

The Lunar Chronicles series adalah buku dengan seri yang diambil dari kisah-kisah retelling fairy tale klasik dan manis. Ada delapan buku yang masuk kedalam kisah ini namun empat buku pertama adalah termasuk kategori buku utamanya. Walau ada delapan aku baru membaca empat kisah utama tersebut dan dua graphic novels. Berikut adalah list bukunya. Untuk yang ingin mengetahu sedikit sinopsis atau cover bukunya, silahkan cek di video diatas ya.
  • Cinder (2012)
  • Scarlet (2013)
  • Cress (2014)
  • Winter (2015)
  • Fairest (2015)
  • Stars Above (2016)
  • Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (2017) – graphic novel, illustrated by Douglas Holgate
  • Wires and Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue (2018) – graphic novel, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
  • The Lunar Chronicles Coloring Book (2016)


  • Renegades (2017)
  • Arch Enemies (2018)
  • Supernova (2019)

Standalone Novels

  • Heartless (2016)
  • Instant Karma (2020)


  • Because You Love to Hate Me
  • A Tyranny of Petticoats

Keragaman Dalam Tulisan

Yang menarik dari setiap buku yang dituliskan oleh Marissa Meyer adalah dimana ia membuat karakter yang sangat multikultural. Dalam The Lunar Chronicles didalamnya terdiri dari banyak ras, ada kulit putih, kulit hitam, oriental, dan lain sebagainya. Dan keberagaman ini dituangkannya dalam tokoh-tokoh penting disetiap bukunya. Tokoh protagonist dalam buku-buku Marissa Meyer merupakan tokoh-tokoh yang multiras.

Sebut saja Adrian dalam Renegades yang adalah seorang kulit hitam dan Nova Artino adalah anak dari ayah yang berasal dari Italia dan ibu yang berasal dari Filipina. Dalam The Lunar Chronicles pun bahkan diceritakan beda planet. Ada yang berasal dari salah satu negara di bulan bernama Luna dan ada yang berasal dari negara pembaharuan yaitu “New Beijing”.

Inspirasi dan Riset

Membuat cerita dengan latar belakang fiksi fantasi bukanlah hal yang mudah karena cerita yang terlihat imaginatif itu harus bisa diterima oleh para pembaca. Aku kalau disuruh bikin cerita seperti ini pastilah mikir ribuan kali. Aku memilih untuk menjadi pembaca setiap fantasi untuk saat ini, hehehehe. Ini terlihat dari karya karangan Marissa Meyer sendiri. Apalagi kebanyakan karyanya yang adalah retelling, pasti membutuhkan riset. Yang tentu harus dipikirkan adalah bagaimana membuat cerita yang sebelumnya sudah sangat hype, dikisahkan dalam cerita baru dan terkesan tidak sekadar plagiat. Kalau terkesan plagiat pasti banyak yang tidak suka. Tapi kalau eksekusinya juga tidak secantik cerita aslinya juga bisa-bisa ditinggal pembacanya.

Walau aku tetap ingin cerita ini dalam bentuk novel, tapi aku suka sekali mencari fan art dari masing-masing cerita yang aku baca. Ini akan lebih mudah membuatku membayangkan seperti apa karakter atau tokoh dalam sebuah serial fantasi. Nah buku-buku Marissa Meyer juga sarat fan art. Dalam laman pribadi Marissa Meyer ataupun ketika membuka pinterest pasti akan banyak menemukan fan art yang relatable dengan tokoh-tokoh tersebut.

Ohya, Marissa Meyer sendiri punya akun Pinterest loh. Akun ini dijadikan salah satu tempat untuknya berekspresi seperti apa buku-bukunya tersebut. Bahkan yang menarik, ada satu laman yang berisi berbagai cover buku Marissa Meyer di berbagai negara. Boleh di cek di link berikut. Mana cover buku yang paling kamu suka?

Isi situs pribadi dan kepenulisan Marissa Meyer cukup banyak memberikan informasi. Teman-teman bisa mengunjunginya untuk tahu lebih lanjut. Didalamnya juga ada laman kontak untuk mengetahui di platform mana saja ia aktif. Kalau mau tahu playlist lagu-lagu yang menginspirasi setiap bukunya juga ada di laman ini. Aku sangat suka mondar-mandir disitusnya. Isinya penuh dan artnya Indah.

Pengarang yang Inspiratif

Kalau aku ditanya manakah buku yang paling aku suka dari semua kisah Marissa Meyer sampai hari ini. Aku menjawab adalah buku kedua seri Renegades “Archenemies” dan buku ketiga seri The Lunar Chronicles “Cress”. Karena didalam Archenemies, kisah seru harunya amat sangat tergamblang. Pergolakan hati dan raga antara Nova dan Adrian sangatlah terlihat. Kalau untuk Cress sendiri karena aku suka sama Cress dan Thorne dan komedi romatisnya ditengah-tengah petualangan yang seru. Hanya sesimple itu, hehehe. Well, dari semua buku Marissa Meyer, ada tiga buku yang belum aku baca yaitu Heartless, Stars Above, dan Fairest, serta satu antologi yang ditulisnya dalam buku A Tyranny of Petticoats. Sehabis ini pasti aku baca sebelum buku terbaru karangan Marissa Meyer keluar di akhir tahun ini, yaitu Instant Karma.


Cita-cita seorang Marissa Meyer adalah menjadi penulis. Ia memulai karirnya sebagai seorang editor dalam sebuah penerbitan sembari ia mengasah kemampuannya menulis. Yang kupelajari disini adalah niat dan tekadnya. Sedari usia belia ketika ia sudah jatuh cinta dengan dunia menulis, ia menekuninya sebegitu rupa sehingga menghasilkan apa yang bisa dihasilkannya saat ini.

Sandrine JB

Youtube: SanWa Library
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Podcasts: SanWa Library
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Twitter: @sanwalibrary

Patreon: SanWa Library
Sociabuzz: Sandrine Tungka

Beside the above, you can access my podcasts on:
Apple  ||  Google  ||  Pocket Casts  ||  Breaker  ||  Radio Public

For business inquiries drop an email to


Mei 01, 2020

April Book Wrap Up and Book Challenge Giveaway

April is almost end. Therefore, these are my Wrap Up of the books I read in April 2020. I can not believe that I could read this much for a month in history. I could read 8 books everybody! Yes I am! That is why, I thank the one week quarantined days, some free ebook platforms, and audiobooks that made me easy to read them all in a month. Oh yeah, also this time I made a video of my April wrap up. Please check this out :)

April Book Wrap Up

Well, well, well... It was awesome to make a single video like that. I got an inspiration from the #passthebrushchallenge and #dontrushchallenge with books from twitter that I made this. Now also in Instagram, #passthebookchallenge is started to hype so, yeah, my video was the combination of them all. What do you think? In order to that, should I make another one next month? Any unique idea of what I should do?

Then, if you wanna know my pre-review of all my wrap ups and ratings of those books, you can visit my goodreads SanWa Library and check them out. Some are English language best seller books and some are our Indonesian local author books. In the future I will try to review more on my Booktube (Book Youtube) and this blog also.

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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1532740-sanwa-library">SanWa Library</a> has
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<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/20531402">21 of 24 (87%)</a>
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Book Challenge #sanwafeatured

By the way I hope you are well during this pandemic while #stayathome and reading. This time being is not easy for all of us. But please don't be sad, I am here to encourage you to read more during this time. I know you feel bored at home, can not hug, ban for traveling, or sitting at your fave coffee shop. But you can wandering around through book.

Hope you are well during this pandemic while #stayathome and reading. This time being is not easy for all of us. But please don't be sad, I am here to encourage you to read more during this time. I know you feel bored at home, can not hug, ban for traveling, or sitting at your fave coffee shop. But you can wandering around through book.


International Giveaway #sanwafeaturedmay20

As the additional, a voluntary action of the above, because May a birthday month for me there will be a $25 egift (if you join through Youtube) or $20 egift (if you join through Instagram) of books for one of you by the end of this month (May 2020). I can give you a Scribd subscription, kindlebooks of your choice, googleplaybooks, audiobooks, and so on. Or you can also choose an amazon e-gift card for you to buy books, buying for you at book depository and so on as long as the prize is related to books or bookish.

You just need to choose one whether you join through Youtube or Instagram. If you want to participate with the giveaway through my Booktube, so please follow the T&C that I posted on the caption of the above video. If you want to participate with the giveaway through my Instagram, so please follow the T&C that I posted on the caption of the above instagram challenge photo. In conclusion, there will only be one winner for those who join through Youtube or Instagram.

That's all. Easy peasy right?? Sooo visit my instagram or youtube and do not forget to join everyone!!!

Tambahan Giveaway Indonesia

Lastly (In Indonesian), untuk yang tinggal di Indonesia, ada tambahan 5 hadiah bookish (hadiahnya apa aja, bisa di cek di akhir video youtube diatas). Syarat tambahan untuk mendapatkannya bisa di cek di caption video atau foto diatas ya.

Last Youtube Video

As an additional, I was also uploading my youtube content of my enormous book haul in April 2020. Don't forget to watch.
SanWa Library Youtube - My Enormous Book Haul in April 2020


Sandrine JB

Youtube: SanWa Library
Bookstagram: @sanwalibrary
Podcasts: SanWa Library
Spotify: SanWa Library
Blog: SanWa Journeys
Goodreads: SanWa Library
Twitter: @sanwalibrary

Beside the above, you can access my podcasts on:
Apple  ||  Google  ||  Pocket Casts  ||  Breaker  ||  Radio Public

For business inquiries drop an email to


authorHello, my name is Sandrine. I'm a working mom who loves to read and wander.
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