What hard and wicked children we’ve become
Title: Worlds of Ink and Shadow
Author: Lena Coakley
Publication: January 5th 2016 by Amulet Books
Summary from Goodreads:
Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.
Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.
I am going to be completely honest with you: I have never read anything by either of the Bronte sisters in my life. I have no emotional attachment to them, their story, or their circumstances. I’m sure that half of the magic of this book was lost on me for that very reason.
Worlds of Ink and Shadow is a fictional retelling of the Bronte siblings childhood that is filled with imagination, madness, and the obsession and horrors of family. This book was really interesting, I’ll give it that for sure. Charlotte and Branwell, her brother, can travel into their created worlds – literally travel into the settings of their imagination. Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty damn awesome to me. I would love for that to be possible – except for the consequences that soon follow. Madness, an inevitable effect of hiding away within your own mind, soon sets in and drives the family into chaos. We cannot forget about Emily and Anne, the other two siblings in this equation. After witnessing their siblings powers, they start to grow jealous as any sibling would.
Madness and fantasy meld into the reality of the Bronte siblings, setting events in motion that are almost far too complicated to describe.
This is a story of obsession, a story of what it means to be family and how your circumstances can affect relationships. Worlds of Ink and Shadow takes a real life story, a real history, and turns it into something beautiful and imaginative. While the beginning is somewhat slow and convoluted, the story soon picks up and transformed into something I was unable to put down. I found myself increasingly drawn into the story, increasingly invested in the characters and what was happening to them. The book was full of mystery and suspense, it left me at the edge of my seat and salivating to find out what was going to happen to the siblings next.
My favorite part of the story was how it tackled the meaning of family. I love it when a book focusing on more than just a romantic relationship – to me it makes the story much more interesting. The characters were multidimensional, real, and raw. There was believable tension between all of the siblings; something I can easily relate with when I think of how my brother and I treat each other. The execution of the relationships was really stunning – I don’t know how else to describe it.
Overall, Worlds of Ink and Shadow is an entertaining historical fantasy that explores the bonds of family and how insanity can change them. The story is rich, exhilarating, and imaginative. I would recommend this book for everyone – regardless of if you like the Bronte sisters. This book takes their childhood story and revamps it into something everyone will enjoy.