As an avid reader and an English teacher, I really was rooting for Blood, Ink & Fire. My worst nightmare would be a world without books! It takes a lot for me to admit that, in the end, it felt like a depressing and pointless read. I’m taking a bit of a beating on my Amazon reviews for this opinion, though, so maybe I just didn’t get it. Maybe you, too, will think I’m a big ole idiot for not embracing this book, but I stand by my two star rating – this book just didn’t do a thing for me as a reader.
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 The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity. In the controlling dominion of the United Vales of Fell, reading is obsolete and forbidden, and readers themselves do not—cannot—exist.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?
In a nutshell, I was bored. I think a big part of the problem is that the plot hinges on a quest that doesn’t really have a clear purpose. I never really understood what Noelle was suppose to do if she succeeded, so I didn’t really care if she did. If you are going to create a quest for your hero, he or she needs to either make a big impact when hitting the finish line, or the journey needs to count for something. This journey didn’t help the character grow, and it certainly ended in a way that took the wind out of my sails. That being said, it wasn’t all bad. The setting had some real potential, and it felt a bit like Alice in Shakespeareland, which was cool. And, I liked the romance. It wasn’t my favorite type of love story, bittersweet, but I did understand how the circumstances created a bond that Noelle was reluctant to relinquish. Ultimately, the negatives outweighed the positives for me in this book. I can’t see my high school readers getting through this one because I would have stopped at 30% if I hadn’t felt obligated to finish it since I requested it. Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.