Blood, Ink & Fire by Ashley Mansour | Book Talk

This book was provided to me by Net Galley and Upturn Publishing for an honest review.
In the future, books are a distant memory. The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity. In the controlling dominion of the United Vales of Fell, reading is obsolete and forbidden, and readers themselves do not—cannot—exist.
But where others see images in the stream, teenager Noelle Hartley sees words. She’s obsessed with what they mean, where they came from, and why they found her.
Noelle’s been keeping her dangerous fixation with words a secret, but on the night before her seventeenth birthday, a rare interruption in the stream leads her to a mysterious volume linked to an underworld of rebel book lovers known as the Nine of the Rising. With the help of the Risers and the beguiling boy Ledger, Noelle discovers that the words within her are precious clues to the books of the earlier time—and as a child of their bookless age, she might be the world’s last hope of bringing them back.”
Blood Ink & Fire sets place in a dystopian future where books no longer exist. (Scary).
Life is controlled by United Vale of Fell (Fells for short) and their stream called Verity.
Come in Noelle who has the special and forbidden skill of being able to read words. She is the last reader. After her life is turned upside down by a series of events, she sorta-kinda embraces her destiny of the reader who will free everyone from Vale and Verity.
Blood, Ink & Fire follows the similar format of Divergent/Hunger Games. One big powerhouse with several “factions/districts” that they control.
In this book it is Fell versus the nine sovereignties.
Noelle is the heroine of the story, and I use that title lightly because she was not very heroic. She was actually very selfish and ignored all advice given to her. (Maybe it is just me; I will let you form your own opinion dear reader)
Noelle, like I said, was very selfish. She assumes she is doing the best for society, but in reality, she is doing things that are best for herself. People gave up their life and freedom for her, so she can stay safe and protected. People DIED so Fell wouldn’t get to her. Instead of honoring their death and gaining some character development she did what she told everyone one she was going to do: Not be the chosen reader and save the world. I understand having such a big destiny thrown upon you is hard to deal with and many people will freak under the pressure. But what she did…was…just…so stupid, annoying and selfish. Noelle allowed herself to be doomed from the start. Most protagonist rather risk their life to safe others. She was the exact opposite. I prefer Katniss to Noelle! (That is saying something cause I really can’t stand Katniss)
Even if the main character got on my nerve I was really intrigued by the concept of a bookless world. As I read it, this bookless dystopian world, I realized the importance of books. Not just for story telling, but history, science, knowledge. BOOKS ARE IMPORTANT, WRITTEN WORD IS IMPORTANT.
Something that made me really happy about this dystopian concept is that Mansour gave books a soul. I mean a literal soul. The soul of ALL the books appeared upon Earth to help the reader. (And he was hot)

“Books need the reader, just as much as the readers need the book.”

This soul of all books has a name. His name is Ledger and he is perfect. There are a few chapters that were in Ledger’s point of view and they were magical. Beautiful. Poetic. I wish the whole book were written in his point of view.

“Time had passed around him like a swirling doc of star matter, taking shape, forming constellations, creating patterns…”

It is probably clear by now that Noelle and Ledger are the couple of the story. It could be considered insta-love, but once you read the book you’ll see that his attraction to her is because of the body he took over. And he is the soul of all books, and her being the last reader sorta gives them that connection. It’s the way readers fall instantly in love with certain books. I don’t know, it made sense to me.
Anyways, story wise I enjoyed it. Character wise…meh. Geography/world building wise I was a bit confused, I was not quite sure how Fell was located with the surrounding sovereignties. I know it is in Northern United States with some Canada…but I couldn’t really picture it well.
I would recommend this book, even though I had some problems with the main character. Maybe she will redeem herself in the sequel.

There is also a dog and she is precious.
Rating: 3.5/5

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