There’s a spoiler disclaimer at the top of this section’s homepage, so if you’re here and reading this now, I’d assume you’ve seen all the warning and caution signs. But just in case! I’ll say it one more time: there are spoilers from this point forward! Read at your own risk.
Okay! Step right up to the spoilery review of Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley, where I will share my thoughts and feelings about the people and events in this novel. **flourishes hands like Vanna White**
I liked the juxtaposition between Haworth and the imagined locations of Verdopolis and Gondal. While Haworth itself was a real location, it still managed to be mystical in its own way. I’m sure the fog played a part. (I have a thing for fog – it’s beautiful and ethereal and magical and I really could go on and on.) That and the fairytales of Old Tom and Old Tom himself. Verdopolis seemed like a diverse place in terms of its districts and neighborhoods, which stemmed from Charlotte and Branwell being co-creators. The idea of co-writing an ongoing story is pretty cool and most definitely caught my attention. I might have to suggest it to my friends and see where it takes us. Both Verdopolis and Gondal seemed to be vibrant and thriving. Each really came across as having a life of its own.
Charlotte: I liked Charlotte. She seemed to be a hopeless romantic, like myself. She had flaws and she did what she thought was right for her siblings – whether she was correct in doing so or not is another story. She also learned from her mistakes as the story progressed, which I appreciated because it showed development. For that matter, all the Brontë siblings displayed a great deal of growth.
Branwell: Branwell was a bit much for my taste. He was the irritating and arrogant brother, but we could easily see that he used that mask as his armor. That knowledge only made him slightly less irritating. I liked that once he put his mind to it, he was able to focus and be a hero of sorts.
Emily: Emily was very entertaining. She was brave, daring, passionate, and whimsical and made me wish I were a little more like her. Just a little bit.
Anne: I thought Anne was the real hero of the story. Ironic (or maybe not) since she was the youngest sibling. I liked that she was shy and unassuming and yet was basically the mastermind behind saving everyone else. Whether they wanted to be saved or not.
Zamorna: Exactly how old is Zamorna supposed to be? Charlotte has a crush on him, he’s the romantic hero again and again, yet he’s tragic with love. He’s been married I don’t know how many times and his love interests always die. Which is Charlotte’s fault really. I wasn’t feeling him, which I guess is what’s supposed to happen since he made no moves on his own without Charlotte to direct him. Unlike Rogue…
Rogue: Dark, brooding, and dangerous, Rogue was most definitely an intriguing character. He was clever and somehow managed to be charming and endearing even as a self-described rake. And he came into his own even without the creative direction of Branwell. Actually, he was able to achieve self-awareness in spite of Branwell’s interference. I also liked that Emily was able to change his appearance to make him more young and handsome, again despite Branwell being Rogue’s creator. Speaking of Emily – did Rogue actually fall in love with her of his own accord? Or did Emily unwittingly make him fall in love with her just as she made things pop out of drawers without meaning to or having to say anything? (okay, they didn’t really pop…)
The Secret Price: The cost of traveling to the worlds they created was huge and I like how it harkened back to tales of bartering with the fey. There’s always a catch! Especially if your wording isn’t just so. And the fact that Charlotte, Branwell, and Emily were basically being haunted in the real world? Yikes! I only wish Emily would have thought through her deal a bit more before she just jumped right out with it…
Old Tom: I caught on pretty quickly that Old Tom was S’Death. He was super creepy and I loved how Lena Coakley revealed that he wasn’t created by either Charlotte or Branwell. **Cue the goose bumps**
The Ending: The ending was bittersweet. They all made it out safely, but Emily and Rogue were separated, and Charlotte might’ve had a chance with Zamorna, but that never happened either. Too little, too late. Again, the romance aspect or lack thereof left me wanting more.
Most definitely an interesting read. I’d recommend it! Especially knowing that most people aren’t as stuck on the romance aspect as much as I am.