INKMISTRESS by Audrey Coulthurst


Age Range: 13 - 16
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A demigod pines for romance but finds herself responsible for deaths and chaos.

Asra lives alone on a mountain, providing villagers with magic-infused herbal remedies. If she mingles with mortals, they’ll learn she’s a bloodscribe: words written with her blood can change the past or future. Desperate to keep her (secret) mortal lover, Ina, from marrying a boy, Asra uses her bloodscribe power, accidentally (and inevitably) triggering deadly events. Whether she necessarily caused as many deaths as she thinks, she’s consumed by guilt: if she finds Ina, who’s become a vengeful dragon and departed, Asra can rewrite the past. Romantic love is Asra’s primary focus—after Ina, a boy named Hal, also a demigod. Questions of faith also run through the book, both in the form of Asra’s curiosity over which god is her parent and a challenge to the king, which threatens the land’s life-support. Given that Asra’s blood causes magic on contact, readers may wonder whether she menstruates (gods do have children). Dramatic chapter-ending cliffhangers invigorate momentum; ongoing, unnecessary reiteration slows it. Bisexuality in both protagonist and villain is refreshing, though the concluding text explicitly undermines Asra and Ina’s relationship in hindsight. Asra and Ina are white; Hal is dark brown. For richer treatment of bisexuality, passion, and blood power, look to Sarah Fine’s The True Queen (2018).

Filled with fervor but more told than shown and diluted by repetition. (Romance/fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: March 6th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-243328-2
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2018


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