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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Oric and the Alchemist's Key by Lesley Wilson is the first book in The Oric Trilogy. No one knows loss better than young Oric who lost his parents as an infant and was taken in by Master Deveril. One morning, he returns from forging to find his home destroyed. A band of raiders attacked the manor and the nearby village, leaving everyone dead. Oric's mentor, Master Deveril, was left for dead, living long enough to give Oric a dire warning and a mysterious key. Little did Oric know just how valuable the key would be. Esica Figg will stop at nothing to retrieve it and obtain the wealth that Master Deveril hinted at, even if it means destroying what gets in his path. Oric is saved by the mysterious stranger Ichtheus who takes him on a journey back to his home. Oric befriends new people and must fight the jealousy and torment of Master Guwain, the heir of Bayersby Manor. As Figg draws closer to obtaining the key, Oric gets closer to understanding the message his mentor wished him to possess.
Lesley Wilson breathes life into this unique setting with a variety of characters, a detailed world, and an intriguing mystery. The setting is an important element in the plot with alchemy, greed, and power creating dangers and obstacles. The plot is fast-paced, diving straight into the plot and never slowing down as Oric's journey is only just beginning. Lesley Wilson weaves other characters into the story with each taking a different role in Oric's journey and with each having a different station in society. Oric is an apothecary apprentice so you see his role healing and caring for those with sickness, which puts him in the pathway of Dian whose family has fallen ill. Dian is a character of strength and shares several commonalities with Oric as she's sick herself but still cares for everyone else. Guwain is at the opposite end of society as the heir to Bayersby Manor and balances out Dian as she's one who gives of herself. She has a compassionate attitude and he has a bad attitude towards everyone. Oric and the Alchemist's Key is a brilliant start to a series with endearing characters you'll quickly like, a plot with a rich mystery, plenty of danger, and an intriguing world.