Worlds of Ink and Shadow

Worlds of Ink and Shadow: A Novel of the Brontës by Lena Coakley (2016)
-eARC Review-

worlds of ink and shadow

YA Fiction | Historical Fantasy4.5 starsBlurb:

“Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.

Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.”

Expected publication date: January 05, 2016.

pooled ink Review:

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!

I wolfed down this story! Oh absolutely! I found myself so utterly drawn in and intrigued that I couldn’t leave my chair nor still my eyes from drinking in each word on the page. It was as if I had somehow been transported just as Charlotte and Branwell Brontë do in their own stories. I love and crave books that have that unnamable ‘something’ that just pulls you right into another world leaving your body immobile in reality and oblivious to the passage of time or to the rumble of a hungry stomach.

When I read the plot description for this book I thought it interesting but perhaps not earth shattering however now having read it I realize that I couldn’t have been more wrong! I honestly find myself at a loss for words to describe that ‘something’ but this book has it. Perhaps it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it surely seems to have been mine. The writing, the characters, the places, all of the details! It was all so wonderfully spun that it was almost like watching a movie. I could see everything, I could hear it all, I could feel the varied emotions and tensions passing between the characters. It is a beautiful mesh of the true lives of the Brontë family, the mischievous myths and English legends, and the rare magic artists possess for things that could be.

Something about this book is so…mundane and believable and that coupled with the intricate detail made the devils and ghosts and fairy tale things seem terrifyingly possible.

This book has a wisp of Jane Austen, an air of something ancient and horrible and magical, and all swept together in the world of the Brontë siblings and a dreary Yorkshire, England. It’s a fairytale, a fantasy, a dream, a wish, but it is also a horror, a thriller, an old wives’ tale come true. It is all of these things but throughout it all it remains wholly human.

Perhaps it is the bookworm in me that attaches itself to this book? How often in my life have I wished to be able to visit the worlds of my favorite books, or to go to another world where anything is possible, a world that I could create for myself and could journey on any adventure! How often? How often! And now here is this book where these siblings have the same exact wish except that they met someone in the woods and their wish has come true.

People always pass around the phrase “be careful for what you wish for” and often remind others of the story “The Gift of the Magi” and for good reason too. How often do you cry out to the world “I wish!” and how often do we ever take the time to think of how a wish might change things, affect things, …the sacrifices or repercussions that may ripple out once you receive what you wish?

So yes, this book is Young Adult Fiction, and yes it seems, in some ways, a dream but it is also something much darker than that and something far more true. I was whirled away the instant the story began and any director would be a fool not to snap up the rights for a film of this book! Oh if only I had the money, the prestige, the resources then I would be the first banging on the door to bring this story to life for those whose tastes lie closer to the silver screen just to share this story further.

I’m not sure this review is adequate in anyway but I’m afraid all I can do is write how I feel. I invite fellow readers to consider Worlds of Ink and Shadow as an addition to their shelves but I’ll warn you that if you ever take a walk in the woods that you be wary and resist the urge to turn your palm up in offering for you never quite know what Old Tom might take.


amazon icon_tiny Purchase here: Worlds of Ink and Shadow 

Recommendation for similar books: These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas, Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and of course any of the Brontë novels.

Meet Lena Coakley!

lena coakley

Lena Coakley’s YA fantasy, Witchlanders, was called “one stunning teen debut” by Kirkus Reviews and won an SCBWI Crystal Kite award. Her new (second) novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow, is a portal fantasy about the young Brontë siblings and the imaginary countries they wrote about in childhood. It debuted at #1 on both the Globe & Mail and the Toronto Star bestseller lists.

Lena lives in Toronto and is the current Vice President of CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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