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Ink in the Blood

(Ink in The Blood #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  47 reviews
A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represe
Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: February 11th 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Kim Smejkal Hello, and thanks for your question! I'll see if I can answer this briefly. :) The world-building in INK includes tenors: a visible, variable aura…moreHello, and thanks for your question! I'll see if I can answer this briefly. :) The world-building in INK includes tenors: a visible, variable aura everyone has that reflects their gender identity. Orientation, identity, and expression are along continuums and there is no binary, but to use familiar terms, the novel features nonbinary and trans characters, and on-page m/m, f/f, and bi rep.(less)

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Start your review of Ink in the Blood (Ink in The Blood, #1)
✔ theatre
✔ queer girls rebelling against a vengeful god
✔ tattoo magic

i'm sold.


insta | twitter | blog | booksirens | duolingo
rachel ☾
sorry, did you say queer fantasy with tattoo magic??
Anja H.
Jun 25, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2020-anticipated
This includes a character called Anya, so naturally, I'll be reading it!
Amy Imogene Reads
Aug 23, 2019 marked it as to-read
ARC approved!! Honestly hope this is the start of more tattoo-based magic stories because I am HERE for this

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group via NetGalley for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Lea (drumsofautumn)
Jun 28, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-be-released
UHM NOT ONLY IS THE COVER GORGEOUS BUT LIKE CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS: "Orientation, identity, and expression are along continuums and there is no binary, but to use familiar terms, the novel features nonbinary and trans characters, and on-page m/m, f/f, and bi rep."
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.

I really don't know what's up with me and YA arcs that I've been reading but most of them bore and/or confuse me so much, I can't relate to any of the characters, and the worldbuilding is messy as hell. This one is no exception, only the writing made it even harder to understand what is going on. So I was very interested in this concept but now I have no interest whatsoever
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read an early version of INK IN THE BLOOD and it was one of the most intense, atmospheric, magical reading experiences of my life! This book will not only make you FEEL THINGS, but make you feel like you are /there/. It's been over a year and tbh I'm still recovering...
Rebecca Schaeffer
I was lucky enough to read an early version of this book and it was truly excellent. It's deliciously atmospheric and full of manipulative gods, clever girls, and dark carnivals. It's everything I ever wanted it to be, and I'm so excited for it to come out!
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow-ee! Was that ever a ride of a book! I finished it yesterday and I still don't know who to trust. I'm going to take that as a very good sign.

Let's start with the obvious, shall we? The queer representation is through the roof in this book. For instance, the main character, Celia, is bisexual. Throughout the story we meet several people who are gay, lesbian, straight, or prefer he, she or they as their pronoun. I struggle a little and get confused with the 'they' pronouns, just because
Horse Cryptid
HELLO I read an early draft of this book and it's COOL AS HECK. If you guys like whimsical worlds with a theater-aesthetic and evil goddesses, PICK THIS UP. It's so neat and unlike anything I've ever read.
Savannah Holland
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
So what started out as an interesting concept with solid bones turned into one of the of the most dissapoint I g and convoluted plot disasters I’ve ever read????
I mean it was a quick read I guess so there’s that
Also it was p cool to have all kinds of queerness by accepted and respected by the society

Also how tf is there gonna be a sequel????
Lyndall Clipstone
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I was lucky to read an early version of this, and it is amazing. Possibly one of the most original and unique stories I've ever read. Themes of faith and morality and rebellion all so cleverly woven together in such a complex, intricate world with a magical atmosphere. Theatre aesthetic! Brave girls who try to outwit a devious trickster goddess! The most heart-wrenching ride or die friendship! And an ending that will wreck you in the best possible way.

Andria Sedig
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Celia and Anya are Inklings, devout worshipers of Diavala. Their gift with the ink allows them to impart wisdom from the Divine through tattoos that they ink onto their own skin and then send to the recipients. But Celia and Anya are questioning the Divine's will and want out. With the help of a friend, they escape into a troupe of traveling performers. Their act, the Devil in the Bell Jar, causes people to question right and wrong and is highly popular with audiences. But maybe it is too popula ...more
Kim Smejkal
Aug 28, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Hey everyone! Because this is a reader space, I'm going to keep this short and sweet: I wrote this book and I'm quite in love with it. I hope you love it too. :)

I'm also going to take this opportunity and provide some content warnings. Please be aware that INK IN THE BLOOD includes: violence, torture (off page), depictions of blood, character death, substance abuse, violence towards children, and emotional abuse.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this queer little st
It's not my cup of tea
Emma Katherine
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read my full review here:

Opinions: My friends and I had lots of fun discussing Ink in the Blood together, considering the characters, themes, settings, and other key features. All in all, we all loved Ink in the Blood and will add it to the top of our Most-Anticipated lists. I was especially enamored by the characters - Diavala is an estranged, powerful, misunderstood character that makes up the plot, indirectly giving the readers a reason to love sweet, magic-wieldin
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This book started out intriguing enough; I found the ideas of a tenor - unique hues that indicate a person’s gender - and ink magic really interesting and original. Unfortunately, the author’s writing style got a bit too weird and hard to follow for me. The plot of fighting against a trickster deity also just didn’t do it for me.
Angela Torbus
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely amazing! The story line, the emotion, the characters just take you with them. I have already let Kim S. know that Griffin is my new book boyfriend - and she approves! The only thing that I can be mad at with this book is I read the ARC, so that means, I have to wait for it to publish in 2020, and then ANOTHER year or so until I can read the next book! Absolutely, I recommend this book on all levels. You won't regret it!
sanna ♡
Oct 07, 2019 marked it as unreleased
7 October 2019
I’m not so sure if I would be interested in reading this, but I’ll save it for now. It does sound interesting. Tattoo magic. I don’t think I’ve read about that before.
Jacqueline Firkins
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has a fascinating premise, with unique details and characters. The prose is poetic and intricate, with leaps forward and back in time and a constantly shifting point of view that will force readers to pay close attention and fully engage with the story. The non binary gender and sexuality of the world was a refreshing change. The whole book has a kind of fluidity to it. It reads almost like a dream. There's no solid footing. No linear thread between one line of dialogue and another. I ...more
Possible cult + vengeful god = WANT AND NEED IN MY LIFE.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Frist, thank you to Recorded Books Inc. for the ARC for an honest review!

Celia Sand and Anya Burtoni are best friends, partners, inklings. Inklings draw and send on tattoos for the Profeta, a religious institution that gifts tattoos as divine orders. When Celia and Anya audition for the Rabble Mob, a travelling show, they are accepted and leave, running from their past.

But when their past catches up with them and the very person, The Divine who inspired the creation of Profeta, begi
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
This review and more can be found on The Book Bratz.

When I first received an advanced copy of Ink in the Blood, I wasn't entirely sure what to think, since I'm not a huge fan of fantasy books and I often have a hard time getting into them. I have nothing against them at all, I just tend to be more of a contemporary/rom-com reader, so I felt really out of my element when starting this book. However, it turns out that I had absolutely nothing to worry about, because I ended up LOVING this book
The London Institute Book Club
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Two friends, Celia and Anya Burtoni, are inklings who using magic in the form of enchanted tattoos. They are able to interpret the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. However, they are captives of a religious cult and make their escape with a traveling theatre trope.

Fantastic world building and a unique premise.

Perfect for fans of Caraval, The Night Circus, and W
Amanda Sanders
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author created a world with religion and magic that shows abuse of power can ruin lives and disillusion believers. I hate to give details that will give anything away, but I definitely liked the surprises the author throws in for whether or not the main characters should be believers and what exactly they should believe in. The pace and action for the story are good and the characters are likable. I look forward to a sequel.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ink in the Blood was a sucker punch to the gut, and exactly what I needed to break my reading rut. The tattoo magic was so wholly original in how it was used, and a breath of fresh air compared to elemental magic systems. The chaotically bisexual main character had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, her heart tugging mine along with it as she struggled to find her place to fit in while a divine entity forced her hand in other directions. The Plague Doctor love interest was honestly my fa ...more
The Mother Cover Lover
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Let me take you back in time with me. About two years ago there was this little contest I participated in, which I'm sure some of you know. (Clears throat) Pitch Wars?! Anyways, I didn't make it, but the Author Kim Smejkal did, if I recall correctly. Funny thing is we actually swapped our first two chapters to critique each other. Kim was way ahead of me in the game then, super busy with the competition, and sadly we didn't keep up. Her first two chapters, however, always stayed tucked away in t ...more
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
An interesting idea that lagged and didn't fully devolpe for me. Some really fun bits though. Full rtc
G.L. Jackson
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is a book that demands a thoughtful, attentive read. I didn't want to rush through it because the details and world-building are so important and often exquisite, and the magic system (tied to the world's religion) is well thought-out and planned. There are several layers to the story: best friends escaping from an oppressive situation. Burgeoning discoveries of the world's mythologies. A strong female friendship transcending both time and tragedy.

Ink in the Blood is definitely
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group - HMH Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I fell in love with this book right from the beginning. The concept and execution Kin Smejkal took with this book was very unique and different which made me like it more. I myself have never been a huge fan of tattoos but when these tattoos reveal a lie that has been
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Kim Smejkal writes dark fantasy for young adults and not-so-young adults, always with a touch of magic. Her debut novel, INK IN THE BLOOD, will release from HMH in early 2020.

When she’s not writing, she’s homeschooling her kids, tutoring other people’s kids, and voraciously hoarding any precious alone time. Though she grew up on the Canadian prairies, she now lives with her family on b

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Ink in The Blood (2 books)
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