Hello Book Dragons!
Today’s my stop to on the Ink in Blood blog tour. Many thanks to the FFBC team and HMH for my copy of Ink in Blood.
Book Title: Ink in the Blood
Author: Kim Smejkal
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 11 February 2020
Total Number of Pages: 448
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Representations: Queer, Non-binary and Trans, m/m, f/f, and bi-reps.
A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.
Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.
Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.
To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.
Ink in the Blood was such a captivating and mesmerizing book to read. In my very short experience with fantasy books, I don’t think I have ever read anything like Ink in Blood. The whole concept of “tattoo magic, faith and theater” was so unique and it’s careful mingling added this spellbinding aura to the narrative that I immediately fell in love with it.
Unlike most fantasy novels that I have read where the fantasy world is the first thing I get to know, in Ink in the Blood, I am immediately introduced to Celia, the main protagonist. As I kept reading, the fantasy world began to unfurl before me through the Celia and Anya. At first I was a bit overwhelmed by the world of the “Inklings” and tattoo magic since I am very new to Fantasy but as I was so absorbed by Smejkal’s engrossing writing style, I started warming up to the story.
Celia was such an interesting character and her relationship with Anya was so delightful to read about. While Celia is a bit reckless in her decisions, Anya has more of a pragmatic approach and both complemented each other so well. They are both protective of each other and I absolutely loved their strong bonding.
Celia was such a relatable character. She is the kind of person who appears to be careless and hot-headed at first glance but as I got to know her better, she turned out to be a softie. All the characters developed throughout the story and it was such a beautiful experience to see them grow and realise their true potentials.
I also loved the angel and the devil discourse. Celia doesn’t believe in the devil but she has reasons to believe in the angel. Both Anya’s and Celia’s lives are controlled to some extent and it is only their friendship that helps them get through. I also loved the whole concept of the Profeta and Divine. Ink in the Blood is a familiar story. It’s our story. It’s a story that we grow up with accompanied by rebellion, theater and magic.
I know I am not doing a great job of reviewing this book. But there’s just so much about Ink in the Blood that it’s difficult to sum up in just a few words. I loved the world-building, the characters and the coming together of all the different elements.
I think I have said it enough that I loved the book. Kim Smejkal’s writing is so detailed and has a rich texture. It’s brilliant, okay? I can’t wait to read the second book in the series!
If you haven’t read Ink in the Blood yet, PLEASE DO!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When she’s not writing, she’s homeschooling her kids, tutoring other people’s kids, and voraciously hoarding any precious alone time. Though she grew up on the Canadian prairies, she now lives with her family on beautiful, muse-satiating Vancouver Island. She is represented by Daniel Lazar of Writers House.