Review – Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe

Posted May 23, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 4 Comments

Review – Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe

Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe

by Emma Törzs

Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 407
Rating: three-stars

Not all books should be opened.

In this thrilling fantasy debut, meet the family tasked with guarding a trove of magical but deadly books, and the shadowy organisation that will do anything to get them back.

Joanna Kalotay lives alone in the woods of Vermont, the sole protector of a collection of rare books; books that will allow someone to walk through walls or turn water into wine. Books of magic.

Her estranged older sister Esther moves between countries and jobs, constantly changing, never staying anywhere longer than a year, desperate to avoid the deadly magic that killed her mother. Currently working on a research base in Antarctica, she has found love and perhaps a sort of happiness.

But when she finds spots of blood on the mirrors in the research base, she knows someone is coming for her, and that Joanna and her collection are in danger.

If they are to survive, she and Joanna must unravel the secrets their parents kept hidden from them - secrets that span centuries and continents, and could cost them their lives...

It took me a while to read Emma Törzs’ Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe, and I couldn’t quite tell you why. Enchanted books, magic, sisterly love — on paper it’s all pretty compelling. I was definitely intrigued by the magic of the books, and by Nicholas’ abilities, but I think in the end it just felt a bit slow. It feels like it takes forever to assemble the main cast, and some of the big reveals were wholly unsurprising by the time they came. Maybe a bit more pace would’ve made them feel a bit more momentous.

It doesn’t help that Nicholas and Johanna are fairly static characters, to whom things just happen — and even Esther, who at least goes places and does things, didn’t really leave me with a sense of urgency about what was happening. Not that everything has to have a sense of urgency, but the slowness kind of detracts from the deadly peril.

It felt a bit like “compulsory heterosexuality” when Johanna and Collins started up a romance, as well. The book didn’t need that.

That said, there are things that felt really well done: Nicholas’ complicated feelings about his uncle, for example; Johanna’s love/anger all in one, directed at Esther (and at Cecily); Esther’s relationship with Pearl…

All in all, I’m not sorry I spent the time on it, but it didn’t live up to my hopes, either.

Rating: 3/5

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4 responses to “Review – Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe

  1. When I first heard about this book It sounded up my street but I’ve seen so many lukewarm reviews for it that now I’m not really sure! Too bad it didn’t live up to your hopes 🙁 I’ve also heard it’s more lit fic-y than expected. Not sure

    • There were some things I really liked about it, so I think there’s definitely people it could work for! But it could’ve been a bit pacier.

  2. Shame, I’ve been looking forward to this based on all the elements of it. Perhaps going in with lower expectations will help.

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