You cannot create good without also creating evil.
'DAZZLING' Chloe Gong
'GRIM, LUSH, FASCINATING' Guardian
Zilan dreams of becoming a royal alchemist, of providing for her family by making alchemical gold and gems for the wealthy to eat in order to stay young forever. But for now, she's trapped in her impoverished village in southern China, practicing an illegal form of alchemy to keep food on the table - resurrecting the dead, for a price.
When Zilan finally has the chance to complete her imperial exams, she ventures to the capital to compete against the best alchemists in the country in tasks she'll be lucky to survive, let alone pass. On top of that, her reputation for raising the dead has followed her, and the Crown Prince himself seeks out her help, suspecting a coming assassination attempt.
The more Zilan succeeds in her alchemy, the more she gets caught in the dangerous political games of the royal family. There are monsters lurking within the palace walls, and it's only a matter of time before they - and secrets of Zilan's past - catch up with her.
A dark YA fantasy duology set in an alternate Tang Dynasty China, where alchemy has led to income inequality as the rich eat gold to achieve eternal youth, and a poor biracial girl with the ability to raise the dead gets caught up in the dangerous political games of the royal family.