Today, for your amusement, a magic trick: I will take fireworks and turn them into candies, thus proving that the times I nerd-sniped myself while researching and lost days following random trails through oddball books was actual research, thank you very much, and not procrastination. (Also I did get three different books out of this insanity. Obligatory mention: one of them, The Left-Handed Fate, comes out this August. Now, back to the magic.)
So: Fireworks into candies. Here we go.
I began to study fireworks for my second book, The Broken Lands, looking explicitly for links between it and alchemy. Those links weren’t hard to find—I was studying Chinese alchemy, the history of modern fireworks leads directly to China, and the timelines of these two types of chemical praxis overlap by at least a hundred and fifty years, so it isn’t shocking that there would be some overlap between formularies and techniques. The connections continue in the west: fireworks came into their own in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries, a time when practical chemistry had deep ties to alchemy. Pyrotechnicians often used the language of alchemy and spoke of their work and the effects they created animistically, in terms of life and generation and essence; ambitious artificers forced fire to interact with other elements in their displays.