The cover is the first thing a reader encounters, and while I know we’re cautioned against judging a book by that metric, we can’t really help what draws us. A deep purple cover with fuchsia foiled botanic design and a beautiful font? I’ll definitely pick that up. And when I discovered Ink Blood Sister Scribe is about ancient books filled with magic so powerful someone is dead on the front page? That sounds like a fantasy mystery I can't wait to want to dive into.
Two years ago, Abe’s daughter, Joanna, found him dead in their Vermont driveway, clutching the book that drained him lifeless. Abe and Joanna dedicated their lives to protecting a collection of magical books, and keeping themselves hidden from the outside world. After Abe’s death, Joanna must carry on on her own. Meanwhile, per Abe's instructions, Joanna’s older half-sister, Esther, hopscotches the world every year to keep herself, Joanna, and the books safe. But a romantic entanglement at her current location, a research station in Antarctica, has Esther delaying her departure, only to quickly realize the danger she’s in is very real. And in London, a young man called Nicholas, kept in a gilded cage, is beginning to question the validity of the unique life he’s been born into, which also keeps him imprisoned. Nicholas, Joanna and Esther find themselves drawn together in a reality where magic is real, and activated by books, blood and lineage. In this shadowy world there are some who would do anything to gain and keep control, despite the costs.
Emma Törzs meticulously builds her fantasy world onto the bones of contemporary life. As Joanna, Esther, and Nicholas begin to unravel the secrets have been kept from each of them, they also discover what they can accomplish together. Despite having suspicions about who was trustworthy and who was not, I was surprised multiple times. I loved the way all the threads finally came together in the last, action-packed moments. If you like darker contemporary fantasy with hidden libraries and a broody, slightly witchy vibe, this if for you. If you like your summer reading with a nod to autumn, you should definitely pick up Ink Blood Sister Scribe.
Or, if you just love the cover.