Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Review: Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

Title: Worlds of Ink and Shadow
Author: Lena Coakley
Published: 5 January 2015
Publisher: Abrams Kids
Source: Abrams Kids via Netgalley
Reviewed: Sapphired Dragon
Rating: ****   

My Review:

I enjoyed this book more actually than I expected to. The blurb intrigued me as I knew who the Bronte sisters were even if I didn't know too much about their childhood and I also loved the idea of fantasy worlds come to life so I was eager t see how these two things would go together.

At first I was little unsure but as I read further and saw the siblings cross over to their fantasy world for the first time, I was hooked and eager to see how the story and the story within the story would play out.

I felt that Ms Coakley's writing really brought the Bronte siblings to life for me and I felt compelled to find out more about their real life after finishing this story. I could feel Anne's steadiness and strong opinions despite her shyness, Emily's wild spirit and Charlotte's need to be the strong older sibling/mother figure in the face of losing their two elder sisters to Tuberculosis years before.

I loved the way that Ms Coakley was able to blend both real historical events in the life of the siblings with their journeys to the fictional worlds they had created and I also saw echoes of characters they would one day create in their published works such as as Catherine, Heathcliff and Jane Eyre in the text of this story and the characters they dream up to populate Verdopolis and Gondal.

There is a magical quality to Ms Coakley's writing in this novel and indeed the story itself. I found myself pulled into the story almost as much as the siblings were and I loved the way she played with the relationship between an author and their characters. The idea of a writer entering a story and creating it as he goes has been done in titles like the Inkspell series by Cornelia Funke but what I liked about this play on the idea was that we saw the darker side. Yes these siblings have this amazing ability but what price are they paying?

Ms Coakley really expertly weaves the threads of the story both in siblings home in Hathorn and in Verdopolis to create a darkly magic tale that will keep you spell bound till the end.

I give this story 4 stars

Sapphired Dragon xx

About The Book:

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

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.

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