Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement.

ink blood sister scribeSisters Esther and Joanna were raised among a collection of rare books; magic books written in blood. But now they are estranged, their father dead and a whole world between them. Joanna lives secluded in the woods of Vermont, barely leaving the safety of her warded family home. It is her duty to protect the books now that she’s the last one left. Esther has fled, never staying more than a year in one location, running from something she can’t share.

Blood. Herbs. Somebody here had a book. Somebody here was doing magic.

While working at an Antarctic base, Esther has found something, someone, worth staying put for. Surely she must be safe in such a remote location? She can’t outrun the magic forever.

Dark and gripping, a shedload of mystery and intrigue, I loved it! It’s been a long time since I read a book that I couldn’t bear to put down, but Ink Blood Sister Scribe hit all the right notes.

For starters, I particularly enjoy a remote, isolated setting like the Antarctic. Esther’s opening chapters are so tense, the remoteness being cast as safety right until it isn’t. The backstory and explanations come at exactly the right pace, you’re not told much at the start, but it’s slowly drip fed until a picture emerges and the clues start locking into place.

He knew exactly what the rest of his life looked like: a continuing monotony of marble hallways, needles, simmering cauldrons of blood, stinking herbs, crisp new paper, cramping fingers, doctor’s visits, iron supplements, the same faces day in day out.

And then there is Nicholas, the last heir of a family of scribes, those who write the magic books. While Joanna, completely cut off from the rest of the magical world, has been unsuccessfully experimenting with creating new books, we find the reasons why from Nicholas’s point of view sections. His family have been writing books for centuries, writing books to order to whoever can afford them.

Nicholas has had a cloistered upbringing, on purpose of course, and is naïve about the family business. While he knows a lot about the books and the magic, he is soon to learn the terrible secrets of his family.

I guess his family could be seen as stereotypical, posh rich British people who trample over people to get what they want…but have you seen the real world recently? They would totally exist if magic books were a thing.

Cold was easier to bear when you’d never been warm.

One thing I never worked out was why did Abe write in that book? Was he just curious? I felt like he knew so much, he must have had an idea of what it would do.

It’s a standalone but I would very much like a companion novel set in the same world. There seems so much else that could be explored, especially the plans laid out for their future.

Ink Blood Sister Scribe is published by Century and will be available in an early ebook release on 30th May, with hardback and audiobook editions available on 6th July. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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