Title: Blood, Ink & Fire
Author: Ashley Mansour
Genres: Dystopia | Fantasy | Romance | Science Fiction
Length: 464 pages | 6224 locations
Noelle is different from everyone else in Fell. In a place where words are forbidden and no one even seeks them anymore, Noelle feels an urge towards them.
When she makes the decision of following that calling, can the ones she loves be safe? What will she find? About herself, about the world?
I understand many people loved this book so I will try to keep my review as objective as possible.
Blood, Ink & Fire starts out as your average dystopia: a society where individuals are deprived of freedom and has this incredible AI whose purpose is more than meets the eye. Quickly you get the feeling that this is an ode to Fahrenheit and Shakespear and book loving in general.
However, as a work of fiction, to me, it failed to deliver. Suspension of disbelief is taken to an extreme, dialogues and monologues are cringe-worthy and the narrative just doesn’t flow, being obvious at time and not delivering resolution at others.
For example, we don’t even know why people are ‘immersed’ on their 17th birthday. Why 17? Because it is convenient that our main character is that old when all the juicy stuff starts happening?
And the bad guys. They are supposed to be almighty and have full control and all imaginable resources to be anywhere, anytime they want and yet they only show up at convenient times?
Even the names are ridiculous. Why Fell? Other than it is one letter apart from Hell? Obvious much?
And Boolos as short for book lovers? Really?
Need I go on?
There is a lot of info dumping and yet no actual world setting. When do these people eat? How can Noelle drive? How can she run for ages, did she get any exercise in her previous life that would justify it? And it goes on and on.
Also, once again, romance completely overpowers the story from a point on. And it doesn’t even make sense. This Ledger guy sounds much too human from the getgo, for someone or something who is not supposed to be one of us. I didn’t even get what he was supposed to be.
There’s a lot of feels and yet I go through the book completely unable to connect to any of the characters, least of all the main one, who everyone seems to love, Lord knows why.
The book had potential. I thought the relationship between Noelle and John was cute, different, and not just because he was blind or they didn’t make romantic moves. Although the fact that they called each other by their initials never made any sense to me but I guess it was supposed to make their relationship more special. Then it just went downhill for me. Things started happening for the sake of happening and I was, quite honestly, bored.
There were, as I said, things left unexplained and others that made no sense like what happened to the twin who deserted the Risers, or Noelle finding herself in a room, alone, with a note explaining that the room only locks from the inside and she can use the key to let herself out. Wha…? Is this a whodunnit book? Nope, it goes completely unnoticed.
There were several interesting concepts, especially the importance of books and the dangers of this new age where people no longer seem to resort to them to obtain information or pleasure – supported by quotes of books at the beginning of the novel whose authors have studied this phenomenon and sadly I have to say that was about my favourite part, the inspiration. The development of the premise just left me disappointed beyond words.
Disappointing does not even begin to describe the ridiculous ending. Is it supposed to be surprising or shocking? It’s not. It’s just ridiculous.
If you are going to introduce a different concept you need to make it work, not just be lazy in the end. You have this guy who isn’t a guy but sort of the memory of books. He has a mission. She has a mission. Find 9 books which will somehow lead to the location of this special, amazing place, although it is never clear what is supposed to be done when it is found. HOW?? How on Earth was that supposed to happen? How does it work? She reads all 9 volumes and something clicks? Are there hidden clues in each of the volume? How??
Also, for a thing that is supposed to be special, there were numerous opportunities to shake the reader with the wonderful act of reading and yet I only even remotely felt it once that I recall and even that lacked a good amount of emotion.
So even though most of this book waived between a 2 and a 3, by the end it just went down to 1. What a total waste of time.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from Jun 19 to Jun 24, 2016