Sunday, January 21, 2018

Book review: Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Book Summary
Can she write a world gone wrong?

A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist.

But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created—and only she can stop it.

Flo's Review
I was definitely intrigued by this book as soon as I read the summary. It was a fast read -- I read the entire thing over the course of two sessions, which is something I haven't done in awhile.

The style of writing is definitely different. I can't describe it, exactly, but it's very .... matter-of-fact. Succinct, maybe? I think the reason this is so jarring is because it is in contrast to the world being described. Fantasy writing tends to be beautiful and flowery, especially when you're creating a beautiful world. And not that the world of Veldana is not beautiful. And also, to be clear, I am not saying this is a good or bad thing. It is just a noticed and unique trait. It also made me take a little longer to get absorbed into the world than I usually would.

But I also struggled with Elsa at first. She never really had any friends her age in Veldana, and it sounds like her mother at a big part in shaping her personality -- and she had just experienced a trauma. But she was kind of hard to stomach at first. So much so that I was happy when she came around and warmed up to Porzia, Faranz, and Leo, even if she did it so quickly that it felt a little unnatural.

Speaking of Porzia and Faranz -- I loved them both! I think I liked them better than Elsa and Leo, honestly. Porzia juggled responsibility to her parents with loyalty to her friends and did it well. Faranz was just awesome. Loyal, a good listener, friendly, dependable, wicked smart. I wish he and Elsa had been the ones with the romantic tension, instead of Elsa and Leo. Though I do understand why it had to be Leo, in terms of the story. Still.... #TeamFaranz

Leo...he was supposed to be the swoony love interest, but I just wasn't feeling him. I understood why Elsa felt the desire to fight for him, and he was the comic relief in the story.  I honestly can't pinpoint why I didn't connect with him, but I just didn't. 

The world building was definitely the strength of this story. The idea of being able to create new worlds simply by writing them is so, so cool. The main characters had the chance to explore several different worlds and it was really neat to go inside them and see the differences and similarities to Earth. Clare had to really think about the what it would take to write a world, starting with the basics: gravity, oxygen, etc., and I could tell how well thought out the concept of scriptology was.

Towards the end of the story, the characters face a challenge that felt very cliche to me. But, because I never see these things coming, I was surprised by the twist at the end. The Epilogue succeeded in hurting my heart, and I think I'll be picking up the next book in the series to see what these characters do.

Ink, Iron, and Glass publishes on February 20, 2018.

No comments :

Post a Comment