Read This!: INKMISTRESS by Audrey Coulthurst

InkmistressInkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

Summary: Asra is a demigod with a dangerous gift: the ability to dictate the future by writing with her blood. To keep her power secret, she leads a quiet life as a healer on a remote mountain, content to help the people in her care and spend time with Ina, the mortal girl she loves. But Asra’s peaceful life is upended when bandits threaten Ina’s village and the king does nothing to help. Desperate to protect her people, Ina begs Asra for assistance in finding her manifest—the animal she’ll be able to change into as her rite of passage to adulthood. Asra uses her blood magic to help Ina, but her spell goes horribly wrong and the bandits destroy the village, killing Ina’s family. Unaware that Asra is at fault, Ina swears revenge on the king and takes a savage dragon as her manifest. To stop her, Asra must embark on a journey across the kingdom, becoming a player in lethal games of power among assassins, gods, and even the king himself. Most frightening of all, she discovers the dark secrets of her own mysterious history—and the terrible, powerful legacy she carries in her blood.

INKMISTRESS is quite simply one of the most beautiful fantasy novels I have ever read. A big-hearted protagonist grappling with her own power, a complex cultural and political system, a series of conflicts that pit our heroine’s deep desire for family against her determination to save her kingdom, two compelling love interests – who could ask for more? That one of those love interests is male and one is female, and that so many of the primary romantic relationships in the story are same-sex, is almost beside the point – except, of course, for the fact that gay and bisexual characters rarely appear so matter-of-factly in epic fantasy. The real strength of the book, to me, is the way it engages the mind in Asra’s moral dilemmas while equally touching the heart. (Because Hal = SWOON.) If you’re looking for a light-hearted fantasy novel full of your favorite tropes and clear-cut good guys and bad guys, look elsewhere. INKMISTRESS trades in deep, nuanced characters, moral complexity, and a story that often surprises in the best way, keeping the reader hooked until the incredibly satisfying conclusion.

INKMISTRESS is out now.

View all my reviews

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