*I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
This book follows three stories that tie together. The first is the story of the travelling show whose participants are tortured, sometimes literally, by Lyman, their illusionist. The second is the story of Ag and Sol, two brothers trying to prove they don't need their mother. Third is the story of Dr. Hedwith, a man trying to find the secret to immortality by any means.
I'll start with a warning that this book is not for the faint of heart or stomach. More than once I wished I wasn't eating while reading. It starts out innocently enough but there are some scenes that made me think of Red Dragon. So, fair warning, not a book for everyone.
That being said, I actually did enjoy this book a lot more than I thought I would. Yes, the book is full of dark and depressing scenes, but, thankfully, Fischl has a good number of scenes with Ag and Sol. Yes, they're pretty much comic relief, but they're are so well balanced with the darker stories that you never feel like the book is taking itself too seriously or not seriously enough. Fischl has a really good sense of balance with his characters and their stories.
I also enjoyed how Fischl wrapped things up at the end of the book. There was enough mystery that you didn't know exactly what had happened, but enough loose ends had been tied up that you didn't feel like you were missing out. Not everyone got the ending I wanted for them but I wasn't unpleasantly surprised by the endings they received. It was a really well done book.
If you're in the mood for a darker story where alchemical studies are real, taking place in the post-civil war era, I highly recommend Dr. Potter's Medicine Show. It's a good story with great characters.