Blood, Ink & Fire
By Ashley Mansour
Published Dec 1, 2015
I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
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 The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity. In the controlling dominion of the United Vales of Fell, reading is obsolete and forbidden, and readers themselves do not—cannot—exist.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?
I really love this cover. It’s simple yet captivating. This coupled with the summary, intrigued me and I immediately requested it on NetGalley.
Blood, Ink & Fire deals with one of my greatest fears: a world without books. Not only are there no books but the ability to read has been systematically wiped out using extremes methods of reconditioning termed immersion.
Imagine being told this before your ‘immersion’:
“You see, we are going to enter your brain and access your memory. Your reading memory, to be precise. That’s in the the little piece of flesh called the angular gyrus. We are going to fiddle with it a bit, until you forget all the nonsense of reading. Every word you know will be wiped clean, and you’ll never have to worry about making sense of another written phrase ever again. You’ll be blind….Blind to the words.”
The ability to read words is a dangerous one to have in this world and especially as a ‘Valer’. Our main character, Noelle, is scheduled for immersion on her birthday and this simpy cannot be allowed to happen. She is after all the last Reader. So begins a quest and a fight for truth and knowledge.
The author has been very creative in imagining this world and does a good job of bringing it to life.The characters are mostly well developed and the storyline is interesting and for me scary at the same time. I don’t think I can survive in a world without books, certainly not with my sanity!
The main character was at times erratic. She wanted to be strong but often came off as scared, uncertain and even somewhat whiny. I can forgive her this though, given the circumstances and her ignorance.
The pacing was uneven with quite a few lags but not so bad so as to deter me from reading further. The fight scenes were rushed and felt ‘unreal’ to me and I was not fond of the insta-love romance.
Overall, Blood, Ink & Fire is a good debut and I admire the author’s creativity in taking what I assume to be a common fear for booklovers worldwide and bringing to life this dystopian world where even the very ability to read is taken away. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the story made good on the promise alluded to in the summary. Still, if you are a fan of the Dystopian genre, I would recommend that you read this.