Ink in the blood by Kim Smejkal
Series: Ink in the blood #1
Format: Arc provided by Raincoast Books
Top 3 Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
My rating: Set it on fire/If you have nothing else to read/you need to read it/Run and buy it.
To buy the book: CA • US • FR• Bookdep
Add to: Goodreads
Hey guys!! Today I wanted to introduce you to Ink in the Blood, a book that came out a bit over a week ago… and a super original fantasy to discover!
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.
Welcome to Illinia!
The city looks beautiful, lush in a Venise way, boats included. But, it is also directed by a powerful religion, Profeta. We learn quickly about the legend of the Devine and Diavala, the angel and the devil, justifying how people are now ruled by the Devine’s ink. Because if you have a big decision to take in your life, a tattoo will be sent to you, as an answer to your questions. Celia and Anya are two Inklings, working for Profeta since their childhood, and guiding people through Ink.
But they know the truth how what happens behind the curtains… and it is not pretty! As soon as they can, they ran away, under disguise in a theater troupe. And they prepare their act, not knowing that doing so, they are bringing back the Devine to the front row… and she does not appreciate their show. She might even use it to her own sinister agenda!
As a reader, we are stuck with Celia and Anya, trying with them to survive and understand all of the Devine’s machinations! To understand the truth behind the myth. It had a magical vibe that really reminded me of The Night Circus or Caraval, with this magic and heavy atmosphere. Honestly, the ink and tattoo aspect was super interesting and original, and I loved it (as someone having tattoos myself). The action pace was also pretty good, there is just that one moment where I kind of de-hooked (is that a word) from the story but other than that I really enjoyed it!
Beyond the fantasy
The other thing I thought was brilliant in this book was the tenor: it is a visible kind of aura everybody has, with different colors and defining your gender identity along a spectrum. So no one is born with a gender, it becomes more defined as you grow, in different shades and degrees. It is really beautifully done and written in the book and I loved this idea that genders would be explained in a non-binary way. That’s really one of the best aspects of the book for me!
My only issue (I have it with a lot of fantasy books) is the fact that names don’t feel assorted and coming from the same universe (Celia Sand vs Anya Burtoni vs Kitty Kay). That’s really something that rubs me in the wrong way haha. Just as the fact that we have some elements or references that make sense in our world but not necessarily a fantasy one (holly berry, tarot cards really like ours, high five or plage doctor). I know you can call me picky!!
In a few words
Really original fantasy with the ink and the tenors, interesting characters and a voluptuous magical vibe: definitely a book that goes out of the ordinary and is worth adding to your TBR!
See you for a cup,