ARC Review: Worlds of Ink and Shadow

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

Publication Date: January 5th, 2015
Publisher: Amulet Books
Series: None
Format: e-PUB
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4 Stars
Buy it here: Amazon

Goodreads Description: 
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

My Review: 
Thank you to Netgalley and Amulet Books for granting me access to this title in exchange for an honest review.

I am one of those people that has yet to read Jane Eyre (I know, I know). So when I read the description for this book, I immediately wanted to read it. Real literary people + fantasy? Sign me up! I was not disappointed by Worlds of Ink and Shadow.

 The Brontë  children live a modest lifestyle. They are considered poor, but more well off than some in their town. The two oldest, Charlotte and Branwell, have been able to travel into their stories to their made up world of Verdopolis for many years. Emily and Anne, the youngest, have never been able to go by themselves, but they long to. But magic always comes with a price, and when they figure out the secret, it has dire consequences for them all.

 I really enjoyed the complexity of all the characters. Charlotte is considered a plain and non-special girl. She is often mistaken for a child because of her size, and although she is strong on the outside, you can tell that it tears her apart. Branwell is the only son, and he has heavy responsibilities should his father die. He tries to act like a confident and cocky young man, but the weight on his shoulders and the madness that begins to overtake him slowly cracks his armor. Emily and Anne are withdrawn at the beginning of the book. Since they cannot go to their dream world, they often lash out at their family members. I was not really fond of either of them, because they made bad choices that ultimately their siblings had to suffer for.

 The world building and writing was for lack of a better word, beautiful. I wanted to travel with the siblings to the glittering world of Verdopolis on more than one occasion. Richly imagined characters and scenery really made this book amazing.

 I will say that it dragged for a little bit, but once I found out how to siblings were able to go into their stories, it quickly picked up. The magical elements in the story that were taken from real English fairytales were wonderful, and made the book seem real, even with the magic involved.

 What really made me enjoy this book was the real life struggle that the Brontë  children went through. Charlotte and Branwell were aspiring authors struggling with their roles in life while trying to pursue their passions. Seeing them at the beginning and then towards the end when they are consumed by their work was haunting and dramatic. It made Worlds of Ink and Shadow very relatable.

 Fantasy fans will enjoy this supernatural story of the Brontë  children. Now I really think I should go and read Jane Eyre, because Charlotte Brontë's tortured character inspired me.

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