Reading time 2 mins
Review: WORLDS OF INK AND SHADOW by Lena CoakleyWorlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley
January 5th 2016
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult, Biographical, European, Historical, Europe, Fantasy & Magic
eARC provided by ABRAMS Kids

AmazonB&NAudibleBook Depository

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings find escape from their constrained lives via their rich imaginations. The glittering world of Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy world of Gondal literally come to life under their pens, offering the sort of romance and intrigue missing from their isolated parsonage home. 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 the characters they have created--the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna--refuse to let them go.

Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës' juvenilia, Worlds of Ink and Shadow brings to life one of history's most celebrated literary families in a thrilling, suspenseful fantasy.

I wanted so much to love this book. I stuck it out because the cover is beautiful and premise sounded so good. I really tried to enjoy it. In the beginning I think I did, and then again around the 65% mark. It just wasn’t enough to keep my interest. I didn’t realize this book was a retelling of the famous storytellers the Brontë siblings. I usually like re-tellings. I haven’t read Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. I am not much into historical fiction. I have to admit this book was hard for me to read.

The Brontë siblings, Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell had a talent like no other in their time. They wrote fanominal stories. This book imagines that they made a pack with a really dark force, who allowed them to imagine a world and then write the players actions as they went. Reading this book took major concentration on my part. The problem is that there is no warning when we are in the world or in reality. Is it real or memorex? We switched characters with each chapter and each one got a turn “writing” their world. In this book we imagine that they watch it and place the characters as the story writes itself.

I know that all sounds great, but this is historical fiction. Imagine the language, the attire, the lack of women’s rights, and the stupid sibling rivalry. Then imagine Charlotte falls in love with her fictional hero and Branwell is determined to kill him. Imagine a story where nothing much really happens. I felt like we were just following these ancient characters around. I kept waiting for something awesome to happen, but the author just strung me along for nothing much. If that sounds good to you, and you are a fan of the period, then this might be the book for you. This book felt like listening to someone tell me about their dream. I just wanted it to stop.

I also have to mention that the font absolutely killed me. I have never been irritated by font before. I do hope that it is just because I was reading an eARC. I hope the final edition doesn’t look like that.

I think this book will appeal to a certain reader. It just wasn’t for me.

My Rating



About Lena Coakley

Lena Coakley’s first novel, Witchlanders, was called “one stunning teen debut” by Kirkus Reviews and won the SCBWI Crystal Kite award for the Americas. Her forthcoming novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow, a portal fantasy about the young Brontë siblings and the worlds they created, will be out in 2016.

I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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