This is another late review – must get better at managing my time!
Young Adult Fantasy = intrigue, romance, historical fiction, and MAGIC! (Are you sensing a trend among the books I like to read?)
Anyone who loves YA – there’s no age-limit, folks!
Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley follows the Brontë siblings (Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne) as they create, and subsequently travel to, different worlds. The four siblings, led by the eldest – Charlotte and Branwell – write stories of faraway lands, creating characters and guiding them through their lives and oftentimes inserting themselves into the stories. The siblings are able to physically travel to the worlds they envision but things eventually take a turn for the worst and they must find a way to save themselves – but at what price?
Given that the Brontës are able to hop into whatever world they create, I think it’s safe to say that the settings of this book are widely varied and amazing! We see three main locales – Haworth, England; Verdopolis; and Gondal.
After reading this book, I wish I could have been friends with the Brontë siblings. It made me want to read more about their lives and read the books they wrote. (No, I haven’t yet. Yes, I’m serious. I know, I’ll get right on that. Or rather, I’ll add it to my TBR.) The characters they created were also incredibly intriguing. I like how they brought them to life – in a story within a story.
What I Liked
I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. For starters, it’s been forever since I’ve read a stand-alone novel (re-reads not included). What? An entire story can be concluded in a single book with limited-to-no questions left at the end? What is this sorcery? So yeah, in that sense it was refreshing. Also something I’m not used to – stories not focused on romantic love. Worlds of Ink and Shadow was focused on the love that the Brontës have for one another and it was awesome and endearing and real.
In the hands of a less-skilled author, this story could’ve been a confusing mess. Thankfully, that was most definitely not the case here! It was well-written, the pacing was good (not too slow, not too fast), and it was told through alternating perspectives which revealed the story very nicely. Each sibling was able to share the ongoing events from their point of view and each of them was so incredibly different that it added to the storytelling.
What I Liked a Little Less
I’m gonna ride the romance train again. The only thing I would have liked more is for the story to have had a bit more romance than it did. This is nothing but personal preference. The story wasn’t focused on romantic love, so the fact that there was any at all was a pleasant surprise. But it made me want more! (Okay, D, just give it up already).
Overall, I’d give Worlds of Ink and Shadow 4/5 stars. If you’re into literature, world-hopping, historical fiction, and fantasy, you should check this out. The only thing I’m unsure of is whether or not you’d like this story if you’ve already read novels by the Brontës. If you do (or don’t) let me know! Please and thank you! And if you’ve already read Worlds of Ink and Shadow and would like to see my uncensored spoilery ramblings, head on over to the Readers Beware section of my blog.