Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic
A romantic and thrilling YA fantasy from Audrey Coulthurst, the author of Of Fire and Stars, about a demigoddess with the power to change the future—but when her powers go dangerously wrong, she must do whatever she can to protect her world …and stop the girl she loves from destroying it. Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Rae Carson.
Asra is a demigoddess with a dangerous gift: the ability to dictate the future by writing in 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 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, by author Audrey Coulthurst, is the companion novel to the Of Fire and Stars series. Inkmistress is set in the same world as Of Fire and Stars, but a few hundred years earlier. Asra is the protagonist of Inkmistress. She is a demigod who has the ability to sense the life force in everything. She lives a life of seclusion in the mountains above Karthasha, but uses her blood to add to tinctures that help the village survive. She also has the ability to use blood magic.
Asra has the power to change the future and the past with her blood. Yet, at a cost. To be able to wield such power, it takes from her lifeforce and ages her. In this world, people come into adulthood when they are able to manifest, or bond with an animal by being blessed by the six gods that truly do control this world. Asa is also in love with a girl named Invasya (Ina) who yearns to not only manifest, but also to become an elder. When marauders threaten her village, and the King refuses to send help, Ina asks Asa to help her find a way to manifest.
After breaking her vow to never write with her blood, Asa does so because she truly believes she is being helpful and besides, she is in love and doesn't believe anyone would truly use her ability against her. What happens next is not going to be spoiled by me. What happens next is betrayal, a journey cross country that leads to an encounter with Phaldon (Hal) who is also a demigod. It also leads to Asa being hounded and chased by people who have been told about her bloodscribe ability and believe it is the key to removing the King from his throne.
Asra is a character who I can emphasize with. She genuinely cares about people, and of by the way, she is also bisexual which is somewhat of a rarity in the YA genre. Asra is somewhat naive, and a good portion of the story is her coming to understand her own value and trying to figure out who to trust and how much and making up for creating a literal monster with her blood. She makes a lot of mistakes in this regard, especially when it comes to both Ina and Hal and those who are more worldly and haven't been cooped up in a mountain while being raised by a witch not knowing who her parents really were or why she was left to be raised by someone else.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. Even though you see a 3.5 rating, it could easily be a 4 star rating. I don't like forgiving others who stab you in the back, and then betray you. This happened often enough to make me scream in agony. I realize Asra is a naive character compared to the others, but there are times you can be too trusting for your own good. Alas, my final concern was how abrupt the ending was. But, don't let my concern keep you from reading this story.