NAMED A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR & ONE OF THE BEST FANTASY NOVELS OF THE YEAR
“Astonishing and pristine, the kind of debut I love to be devastated by, already so assured and sophisticated that it’s difficult to imagine where the author can go from here. . . . It’s simply a delight from start to finish.” – AMAL EL-MOHTAR, New York Times Book Review
“Follow where this novel leads and you will be lost in a bewitching spell, a book of magic about books of magic . . . extraordinary.” – MARLON JAMES
In this spellbinding debut novel, two estranged half-sisters tasked with guarding their family’s library of magical books must work together to unravel a deadly secret at the heart of their collection—a tale of familial loyalty and betrayal, and the pursuit of magic and power.
For generations, the Kalotay family has guarded a collection of ancient and rare books. Books that let a person walk through walls or manipulate the elements—books of magic that half-sisters Joanna and Esther have been raised to revere and protect.
All magic comes with a price, though, and for years the sisters have been separated. Esther has fled to a remote base in Antarctica to escape the fate that killed her own mother, and Joanna’s isolated herself in their family home in Vermont, devoting her life to the study of these cherished volumes. But after their father dies suddenly while reading a book Joanna has never seen before, the sisters must reunite to preserve their family legacy. In the process, they’ll uncover a world of magic far bigger and more dangerous than they ever imagined, and all the secrets their parents kept hidden; secrets that span centuries, continents, and even other libraries . . .
In the great tradition of Ninth House, The Magicians, and Practical Magic, this is a suspenseful and richly atmospheric novel that draws readers into a vast world filled with mystery and magic, romance, and intrigue—and marks the debut of an extraordinary new voice in speculative fiction.
"Ink Blood Sister Scribe is so many things at once: an adventure, a puzzle, a twisty thriller, and a tender romance. . . . I adored it.” – ALIX E. HARROW
"If, like me, you’re a fan of Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo, pick up this book at once.” — KELLY LINK
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The lies told by loved ones are as shattering as blood magic in this contemporary fantasy debut. The Kalotays each have their own ways of dealing with their family’s complicated legacy. Joanna ensconces herself in the family house, seeing over their precious collection of magical books. Her sister, Esther, roams the globe, afraid that her unique immunity to magic will endanger them both. But they must come back together when they find themselves pawns in a scheme to craft a devastating spell. Even as we started to figure out who is behind this deadly plot (and who is secretly trying to help stop it), we were totally intrigued by the devious motivations of everyone involved. It was easy to be obsessed with this world where magic and spell books have a power that’s very real—and increasingly rare. If you liked Peng Shepherd’s The Cartographers or Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea, don’t pass up Ink Blood Sister Scribe.
Magical and beautiful and romantic. Full of love and loss and family. Hope to see a book two!
Wowza! 4.5 stars rounded up to 5!
4.5 stars (though rounding up to a 5) because even though it took me a bit longer than I’d like to get into “crusing mode” (where I’m hooked and invested and don’t want to put the book down), once I hit it around 70ish pages, it was on & I was totally down for the adventure!
And I must say, while I had a few inklings early on about who could or couldn’t be trusted in this novel, I was dead wrong about the majority of it! In fact, I didn’t even see most of the twists in the book, and while I had a few questions that made me not understand where the story was headed or how certain plot lines came to be- all questions were answered with a pretty little bow. And while this book is a standalone right now, I do hope she’ll write a second down the line.
Anyways, the story mainly goes through the point of view of two half sisters in their twenties who have not seen one another in a decade, when the older sister left the home without any explanations. It also follows through the point of view of a young man who has magical blood that can write spells and is fairly sickly, and the story weaves a tail of how they are all connected.
While I have read plenty of books about witches and spells, magical scribes and ancient libraries, I did find some of this authors take to be original enough that again- I wasn’t able to figure out the ending. It was the perfect book to start and finish over Halloween week(end).
Very different and exciting.
This book was wonderful. I’m always looking for books that are fantasy different. Would love to see this in a movie.