“Just like that, he’d hopped onboard her ship without realizing that the deck was rotted.”Ink In The Blood, Kim Smejkal
Let me list to you the reasons you should read this book, and tell me I’m wrong:
- Tattoo magic
- Many on page queer characters, including trans and non-binary characters, and f/f, m/m, nb/m relationships
- Traveling circus/theatre show
- Awesome and fierce female friendship
- Two strong girls rebelling against a vengeful god
- Have I yet mentioned tattoo magic?!
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.
This book was very entertaining, the characters were distinct, the world-building was fantastic, but most of all it felt fresh. I had been reading so many fantasy books with practically the same plot and tropes, but this felt new. I read it in two days and the time I wasn’t reading had me thinking what would happen next? I adored Celia, who has her flaws but ultimately tries her best to rebel as well as being a good person and friend.
I would have to say may favourite characters, though, would be Anya, Sky, and Remy. They also felt like very fresh characters, except for maybe Remy whose the “little kid who looks up to protagonist” but I loved her nonetheless.
Ink In The Blood, wasn’t without its flaws, though.
Sometimes I was a little confused. I love that the plot was complex, but occasionally I would say “they’re where now?” or “huh? I haven’t seen that character before”, but you could also say that I do have a habit of reading a little too fast so I would like to know what you think. It wasn’t the most hooking book at the start, but once you get to the circus it really starts to pick up. I also found that close to the end it was meh, but the actual ending was fantastic.
Nonetheless, I definitely recommend this book to readers looking for a fresh fantasy!