Imagine a world without books…
In the future, books are a distant memory. The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity. In the controlling dominion of the United Vales of Fell, reading is obsolete and forbidden, and readers themselves do not—cannot—exist.
But where others see images in the stream, teenager Noelle Hartley sees words. She’s obsessed with what they mean, where they came from, and why they found her.
Noelle’s been keeping her dangerous fixation with words a secret, but on the night before her seventeenth birthday, a rare interruption in the stream leads her to a mysterious volume linked to an underworld of rebel book lovers known as the Nine of the Rising. With the help of the Risers and the beguiling boy Ledger, Noelle discovers that the words within her are precious clues to the books of the earlier time—and as a child of their bookless age, she might be the world’s last hope of bringing them back.
Blood, Ink & Fire is a gripping, evocative tale that asks, who would we be without books? – Goodreads
For one, a world a without books is my worst goddamn nightmare. Why would it be important to eradicate books and forbid reading? So your citizens don’t ask questions and don’t use their imaginations, that’s why. If they don’t question things and can’t imagine things, they’re much easier to keep in line and rule.
For starters, the worldbuilding was great. There was a lot of thought, detail and planning that went into it—it was obvious. So obvious, though, that it turned into a constant stream of infodumping. I found myself reading and rereading just to make sure I understood, which became frustrating and overwhelming.
I really love the concept of this story—I most of all loved all of the bookish quotes in the beginning. It was also interesting to see someone discover books for the first time, which reminded me why I love books so much. Books are power, books are imagination, books create different worlds and encourage readers to think and ask questions and criticize.
The pacing of the story was confusing to me—the book itself is long (464 pages) yet some of the most interesting, intense scenes are incredibly rushed. The boring scenes take forever.
The character building was alright. I kind of felt that I got to know Noelle, but her character felt very inconsistent and I never really connected with her. Sometimes she was badass and smart and sometimes she was dumb about really stupid things. I think that the characters definitely could have been developed more.
And don’t even get me started on the love triangle.
This debut wasn’t bad—but I do think it failed to deliver. The premise of the story is fantastic and had a lot of potential, but I thought it fell a little flat. I rated it a 3/5.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
3 thoughts on “Blood, Ink & Fire by Ashley Mansour”
That love triangle though. It seemed like it came out of nowhere. I couldn’t agree more with everything that you’ve said. I really liked the premise but the pacing was indeed odd. Great review! 🙂
Thank you! I’m glad you agree (but really, would have been completely fine if you didn’t :)) The description of the book is really what pulled me in. I know it was her debut, but I wish she’d have written something else and then tackled this one!
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I was actually looking for other book reviews regarding the Blood Ink Fire, Goodreads readers seemed to like it that much. Not that I have any problem with that. I can see why a lot of people loved it because the premise was indeed very promising. Then, I came across your blog and I was glad I wasn’t the only one.
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