Blood, Ink and Fire by Ashley Mansour
I first found out about this book from Alex Pettyfer as I kept seeing him talk about this new book he was publishing. I didn't really know much about it but as soon as I read the first few lines on the blurb I was hooked!
'Imagine a world without books…
In the future, books are a distant memory. The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity.'
Books are such a huge passion of mine and whenever I have a free moment, I read! I read as much as possible and once I start I usually can't stop. The fact that this book was going to be about a world with no books was devastating. I couldn't imagine not being able to immerse myself in a world that doesn't truly exist. But it did the job; I couldn't stop thinking about what the world could be like and so I pre-ordered it straight away.
Alex Pettyfer was doing the sweetest promo with it with a card signed by him and personalised. Thank you so much to Alex Pettyfer for bringing this book into my life!
Blood, Ink and Fire is a really fascinating story that is exciting from start to finish. I've never read a book quite like this. It is full of clever ideas, making it unique from other books in this genre and personally, I've never read one quite like it. While I loved the book overall, the novel does have it's downfalls.
I think in a sense it's a little bit copied from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. There is the Fell which have numerous zones and then once the mission begins the story centres around a quest to locate 9 volumes of Shakespeare's plays belonging to each of the founders of a resistance against the Fell. Fell is a central district in what used to be the US and their objective is to achieve domination of the populace with Verity, a computer system, and eradicate literature and the ability to read, appreciate and imagine for themselves. Basically COMPLETE. CONTROL.
Together these books can explain how the Fell can be defeated. The first few volumes and hence districts are nicely written but then it seems the word count was running out and the latter numbers were just casually picked up. I would have personally, have preferred to read about the journey they went on too.
I think that initially the storyline is rather confusing and characters aren't fully explained. By the middle of the book I finally understood all the ins and outs but it would have been nice to have a little more development at the start before embarking on all the action. Plus there were a few inconsistencies. I think the biggest downfall is that Noelle's and John's relationship is never developed so even though we hear about these feelings, it too soon changes direction completely. The characters I really could feel for was Lady Macbeth and Grandma G, older women with history, understandable motivations and strength.
One of my favourite aspects is that Noelle, with the help of Ledger, look at flashbacks of the original 9. It really helps you feel their pain and reasoning behind some of their decisions that you may otherwise thing of as stupid.
Ashley Mansour is clearly a very clever author and intelligent person. Throughout the novel there were a lot of references to Shakespeare’s plays, from character names to plots. While I am not a massive fan of the plays, I am aware of the key most-famous plays and characters so I found it nice to be able to recognise some of the features. Particularly, all the code names for the initial 9 members of the 'rising'. However, it isn't a major plot point so you can still fully enjoy this book without any prior knowledge.
I'm just hoping for a sequel because the story literally can't end like that! I think it will end up being a dream or someone will walk in and stop them. I can't imagine their not being a sequel because all it leaves me with is questions. Questions about what, why and how because it very suddenly and abruptly just jumps ahead and stops.
Having said all this, for some reason I loved it. I finished the book in less than 48 hours and that's with university. I just couldn't put it down. It was very fast paced and I couldn't wait to see what happened next.
Must read if you too wonder what life would be like if free will and rights were taken away.