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.
**** I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
First off, let me say this: Who doesn’t wish they could enter their own imagined worlds? To interact with characters of your very own making?
Sounds great doesn’t it? But what would it cost you?
That is the set up for “Worlds of Ink and Shadow” and it did not disappoint.
As you read in the blurb this is a story about the very REAL literary family the Brontes. Not familiar with their history? Neither am I and that in no way affected my reading of this book. So now you can’t use that as an excuse to not read this wonderful book.
Now anyways, the plot was very well executed it gave everything it promised. It was very engaging and moderately fast paced, there was never a moment where I felt reading the book was tedious or boring. Absolutely everything in the story was interesting, every time I put the book down I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again!
Also the world building was fantastic, it was everything I’d expect from a good YA fantasy novel. We learned everything about the parsonage the Brontes lived in as well as the ins and outs of their created world Verdopolis. Pretty much nothing was left to the imagination, everything was well thought out and we were kept well informed.
I really loved the folklore/mythology element the book brought in, it was completely unexpected but the effect it had on the story was very intriguing.
This book IS a stand alone and therefore at the end everything is neatly wrapped up and there was nothing left unanswered. It was very satisfying!
Another thing I loved was how beautiful the writing was, it was wonderfully descriptive. I can’t gush enough about how much I liked Coakley’s writing style.
Every single one was well developed, complex, and interesting. They were also all easy to sympathize with, I felt myself getting quite attached to them throughout the story. For me personally, getting attached to characters means that they’re well written.
Charlotte – by far my favorite of the characters and Bronte siblings, she was strong and extremely dedicated to her family, as well as passionate about her writing and her characters.
Emily – probably the most frustrating character because she’s a little too emotional and wild. Absolutely unpredictable and chaotic and therefore one of the more interesting characters because of that. You never know what she’ll do next. She kind of…made some problems which is why she’s so frustrating but you’ll still love her!
Anne – very clever and honest she’s the most sensible of the 4 Bronte siblings. If something happened or one of the others got themselves into trouble, mostly it’d be Anne helping them out. She’s a very sweet and endearing character.
Branwell – not my favorite character actually, he was a little too arrogant for my tastes even though he means well. He’s passionate over his work almost to the point of obsession, he might be a little crazy too, nevertheless he’s a good brother to his 3 sisters and still a very strong character.
All four of our main characters were well written but possibly my favorite characters were the “fictional” ones the Brontes created. Zamorna the dashing hero and Rogue the wicked villain, they’re developed and quite complex on their own. I’d reread this book just for them!
There is one and isn’t one at the same time, but it’s possibly one of my favorite elements in this book. Which is saying a lot since I don’t really enjoy romance in my books.
I can’t go into detail without spoilers so all I will say is it’s a favorite of mine because we can all relate (as readers) to falling for the heroes in our books, right? Or maybe even the villains?
(**hint hint** Villain love am I right?)
THAT’S what I liked about this semi-romance and thankfully there are no love triangles and there is no insta-love.
One point about it that did make me uncomfortable though, is the kind of age gap between the couple. Just a little awkward.
This was definitely a great book and I enjoyed it immensely. I loved it’s magical, fantastical, and folklorist elements. It’s a very well told story and I’ll be looking forward to reading more by Lena Coakley!
Absolutely! Especially if you’re a fan of books about books or stories within stories. If you’re a fan of books then you’ll be a fan of this one! I would also highly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke since they share a similar theme.