Alchemists Academy: Elemental Explosions Review and Giveaway

Sher A Hart here, with a fun middle grade book review of Alchemists Academy book two: Elemental Explosions by Kailin Gow and a giveaway ending Jan 31st for the Alchemists Academy Blog Tour hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Since Paul and I both write children’s books (and I now edit them), we promote literacy and books we think will help children learn to love reading.

Children’s book authors can get a free promotion here anytime (see the author hosting tab up top), but there’s another opportunity waiting for authors of middle grade books through the All About Middle Grade Challenge 2013. The link opens a new tab so you won’t lose your place here. What else have you got to lose but a little time? And time spent promoting your book(s) now will pay in sales later. But if you have a little promotion money, you’ll get the most bang for your buck from Kathy at I Am A (new shorter URL). Kailin Gow made a smart move to ask Kathy to host her blog tour.

Tour Schedule

Before today’s giveaway, you might want to enter the ongoing huge Sunshine Syndicate multi-author giveaway  and the Daynight Book Tour giveaway. Both the Rise of the Fire Tamer and Freak of Nature giveaways are open two more days. And A Raucous Time giveaway with both paperbacks and ebooks is open through 28 Jan. All are set to open in a new window so you won’t lose your place.

Also, if you’re an author of children’s books (from picture books up through YA) who doesn’t have a blog, or if you’re a reader who wants to share book reviews on our blog, please contact Paul or me. We provide free training and free books to review here. In return, we ask for a six month commitment. After that you can stay with us or start your own blog.

Now on to today’s giveaway. Here are the blurbs for Alchemists Academy books 1 and 2:

The Alchemists Academy Book 1: Stones to Ashes by Kailin Gow

What do you learn here…at the Academy? Wirt asks. Magic? The responsibility to use your powers responsibly? Uh…something like that, his roommate Spencer said. More like how to rule worlds. Wirt is used to being shuffled from foster home to foster home, adopting a devil-may-care attitude toward the world along the way. Now he s in a school he can’t escape, learning to develop his latent magical abilities, for what use, he doesn’t know…to save his world or to destroy it…


The Alchemists Academy Book 2: Elemental Explosions by Kailin Gow

A new student has entered The Alchemists Academy, bringing with him an explosive power that threatens the Academy and the legend of Merlin. Wirt thought he was the only bad boy at the Academy, but he was wrong. Not only is Roland Black worse, but a new teacher plans more for Wirt and his friends than just lessons. Alana, his crush has grown prettier, and now he is rivals for her attention with not only his best friend Spencer, but newcomer Roland. On top of that, in their second year all the students must pass a test to move on to the Elite Class at the Academy. The Elite Class is the only class in the third year at the Academy, and the students who fail will be sent home, others will face something even deadlier.

Sounds interesting, right? Well, both books were. You can find my Stones to ashes review  here, and please read my review of Elemental Explosions below:

Elemental Explosions (The Alchemists Academy, #2)Elemental Explosions by Kailin Gow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In book two of the Alchemist’s Academy, Wirt’s second year of school gets off to a rocky start when a new bad boy shows up. Roland not only takes Spencer’s half of Wirt’s room, he takes Alana’s affection and causes jealousy among the boys. The year brings other bad news too–only 14 students will be allowed to attend third year classes. So Wirt must compete against his old friends. Roland has worse plans though, and his game plan is deadly.

There were fewer errors in book two than one, and a nice set up for some Merlin connection that didn’t develop further in this story. But there were plenty of tests and excitement. A new teacher who seems to know Wirt from the outset tests him in potentially fatal ways. There’s another (spoiler), and this time it’s a (you guess) who did it and a major character almost gets killed.

Suffice it to say I enjoyed the book right up to the end, and then I was disappointed because the place where the contest should have started was taken by previews of other books. We get far enough to learn who earned most of the spots as third year students, and then the book stops before the last spot is given to whoever wins the contest. After all the hints about Roland’s plans taking place at mid-term, either that event passed without making it clear it happened at mid-term (maybe the spoiler), or the student rankings announcement came before mid-term. Even Wirt thought he had more time to complete tests, so it’s not just me who wasn’t aware the year was up.

Yes, The Alchemists Academy is a series, but that wasn’t a real ending. I was ready to give a 4.5 and then boom, a point lost for not finishing the story took it to 3.5. After I thought about the current market not allowing most writers the leeway Rowling enjoyed to write longer books to finish her story arcs, I decided overall this partial arc deserves a 4. I really like the concept and direction; the book just stopped too soon.

View all my reviews


Author Kailin Gow

Kailin Gow is the award-winning, international bestselling author of over 80 distinct books.

Kailin Gow is also the President of a media company, a media personality, and has been writing full-time since she was first published. Holding a Masters in communications management and leadership positions in Fortune 500 corporations, she puts her leadership abilities, her experience, and desire to help others into her fiction books. As a result, she has written the forthcoming, Finding the Heroine in You book which is also a national tour. She is a mother and spends whatever spare time she has volunteering at the Red Cross, Battered Women’s Shelters, and other organizations.

Currently her Frost Series is in development for a major international MMO Game, and she has over 14,000 and growing Frosters on her facebook fan page.


Tour $25 Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 1/31/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent’s permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’d love to hear your thoughts on books that leave you hanging. Do you wait on pins and needles until the next book or do you move on to others and forget about it until the next book is released? Do you get angry or frustrated? Or do you just say “Oh, well, there are plenty of other books to read,” and never come back to the series? Whether you love or hate cliffhangers, I’d like to know, so please comment. Thanks for visiting, and please come back Monday for the Jack Templar Book Blast.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  2. What a wonderful giveaway. Thanks so much. This sounds like a fun series. I like books to be wrapped up, but there can still be some mystery left hanging (like in Harry Potter- each book ends, but you know there is more to come). If I hear a book ends on a cliffhanger I usually wait to read it until the next book comes out. 🙂

  3. Hi, Jess. Yeah, I’m okay with some mystery left hanging too. The Merlin connection is a good example of that. You’ll see when you read. I just finished another book with a lot of future potential and hope the sequel is coming out soon or I would have waited. Gah!

  4. I’m not too big on books that leave you waiting. There should be enough closure so that if no other books were to follow, you wouldn’t feel as though you’ve missed something.

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    All content is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without proper credit and links. For purposes other than charity or education, printed materials require prior written consent. Disclaimer: Most books were provided free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.