3.5 stars. Petra Dee is a geologist looking for her father who disappeared in the town of Temperance, Wyoming twenty years ago. Why she waits so long to look for him, I'm not exactly sure, but she has just come from a traumatic experience where she lost the man she loved because of an accident and blames herself for it. Petra doesn't believe in anything she can't prove through science. Little does she know how much her world view is about to change. While in Temperance Petra discovers that there is a whole lot of weirdness there involving alchemy and magic. I liked Dark Alchemy quite a lot aside from the fact that there is a whole lot of cursing in it that I could have done without. I can ignore it to an extent, but I felt like it was excessive here.
There is a lot of mystery to unravel in this book and it kept me turning the pages. There is a bit of a wild west feel to the story, mixed with the whole "somethings not right in this small town" theme. Petra and Gabe were probably my two favorite characters. Gabe had me feeling all warm towards him, yet repulsed at the same time. Not repulsed by his personality, but by his secret and what it entailed. I did feel like the scene in the trailer after Petra "rescued" Gabe was a little odd and kind of came out of nowhere. Petra feeling attracted to him suddenly and kissing him while she thought he was unconscious But other than that I liked the way their uneasy relationship progressed.
This is the first adult novel I've read by Laura Bickle. I read her YA duology The Hallowed Ones and really liked it. I was expecting this to be on par with The Hallowed Ones as far as creepy horror goes, but it wasn't really that creepy at all. The ending left me feeling sad for one character, but there is a sequel, so I'm hoping that part of the story continues.