Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ink in the Blood (Ink in The Blood, #1)” as Want to Read:
Ink in the Blood (Ink in The Blood, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ink in the Blood

(Ink in The Blood #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,451 ratings  ·  395 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 represent the
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Clarion Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ink in the Blood, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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 eve…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)
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne CollinsChain of Gold by Cassandra ClareOne of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManusA ​Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa TahirImagine Me by Tahereh Mafi
YA Novels of 2020
814 books — 3,043 voters
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. MaasThe Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne CollinsThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. SchwabChain of Gold by Cassandra ClareBlood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
Can't Wait Books of 2020
1,098 books — 2,671 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,451 ratings  ·  395 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ink in the Blood (Ink in The Blood, #1)
Amy Imogene Reads
A gritty traveling circus, the angel vs. the devil, romantic tension to CUT a KNIFE, tattoos, diverse orientations, and again for the people in the back, romantic tension for days.

Concept: ★★★★★
Romance elements: literally the hardest to find in YA—it is FRESH
Imagery: ★★★★★ *chef's kiss*

Make room for Ink in the Blood on your reading list.

If you loved the Night Circus for its iconic imagery and archetypal romance figures that were players on a stage as well as flesh and blood love interests, y
rachel ☾
sorry, did you say queer fantasy with tattoo magic??
After reading:

Fuck. You.


A queer girl rebelling against a vengeful goddess & her institution who manipulate people’s lives via tattoo art runs away with a self-proclaimed sister to join a troupe. However, the goddess had an eye on her for some time now and will not let her go so easily.

Prior to reading:

✔ theatre
✔ queer girls rebelling against a vengeful god
✔ tattoo magic

i'm sold.


insta | twitter | blog | booksirens | duolingo
Oct 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal is the first book of the young adult fantasy series by the same name, Ink in the Blood. Being a continuing fantasy series the books of course should be read in order to be best understood as the story will continue on in the second book.

Celia and her best friend, Anya, have spent ten years in servitude at Profeta. Celia and Anya are what are known as inklings, they give religious tattoos full of magic in the name of Profeta. Now Celia and Anya see a way out and ar
This pains me to say, but I DNF'd this baby pretty quickly.

I was in love with the idea of tattoo magic, and was hoping for some kickass characters and an insane world to fall into. But instead I was left having trouble keeping my eyes open. I just didn't get pulled in and found myself rereading sentences over and over, with nothing sticking. Maybe I can revisit this at a different time and it will be better for me, but for now...

Francesca ❆
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much HMH Books for providing me a free copy through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.

3,5 stars for a story about religion, magical inked tattoos, and immersive theatre shows.

The book focuses on the story of Celia and her friend Anya, their journey escaping the oppressive religious sect and joining the traveling performing company called Rabble Mob.
The two have an amazing and strong bond of friendship and it was one of the strongest part of the book: how they foun
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
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 i
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 story!
Sheila G
I'm excited to be a part of the INK IN THE BLOOD blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club from February 5th - February 11th, 2020!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, HMH Books for Young Readers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.


DNFing at 18%

When I first came across Ink in the Blood, I thought the synopsis sounded really interesting. Tattoo magic wound together with faith for fans of Kendare Blake? I'm her
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Until about three quarters of the way through Ink in the Blood I liked it, but I wasn't obsessed. Sure I loved not only the circus/performance setting (having only read Caraval and being in sore need for another similar setting) and the ink magic, but I was missing that Wow factor. But then somewhere around the last thirty or twenty five percent, it become a book I couldn't put d
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????
Katey (Kaje)
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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... ...more
Lea (drumsofautumn)
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."
A Book Shrew
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-reads
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.

Full review at A Book Shrew

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' pro
Hadas Tsury
Feb 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Areli Amaya
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
ARC provided to me by HMH Teen in exchange for my honest review.
Celia Sand was marked by the Divine when she was but a child; the land of Illinia believes in the powerful, beautiful and magical religion of Profeta, one where the goddess manifests her will in the form of alluringly intricate tattoos and makes her wishes known through inklings, people who have been chosen to exact her justice.
Upon arriving to the temple and meeting Anya Burtoni, the girl who would become her closest friend, Celi
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ink in the Blood

I said many times and I will repeat myself…. 2020 will be an extraordinary year for books. 𝗜𝗻𝗸 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗱 by Canadian author, Kim Smejkal, is another proof of that. Once I started, I could not put this book down. This is the story of 16-year-old, Celia Sand, and her best friend, Anya Bertoni. Both were selected to serve as inklings in the religion of Profeta. Once in, the inklings cannot leave and must tattoo messages from the Divine on themselves and transfer the tattoo to the intended receiv
Adah Udechukwu
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ink in the Blood is a pretty good fantasy novel. It'll be nice if you read it if you haven't done so already. ...more
Dec 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2020, botm-books, fantasy

DNF @ ~200 pages or 45%.

My thoughts as I was reading:
- Why does reading this book feel like I'm in the mind of someone on crack? The writing is chaotic and hard to follow.. (that was at ~5% in)
- This writing is so confusing sometimes. It's so hard to distinguish the different voices of the different characters. I just feel like there's no reason why I should be this far in and still confusing the two main characters and all the side characters blend toget
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! ...more
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
I'm definitely happy that I finally knocked Ink in the Blood off of my TBR. Even though it hasn't been on there long, it just nice to mark it complete. After finishing this beautiful book, I can say with so much excitement that I can't wait for the next book.

Now this one right here dive into so many things. You get the traveling circus, magical tattoos, so much freaking tension, and a bunch of other things. I could keep going on and on describing what you will see along the way but honestly - y
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
Still amazing after a re-read before diving into Curse of the Divine!
I first fell in love with this book when I saw the cover reveal last year, and friends, let me tell you that the insides of this dark fantasy debut from Kim Smejkal most certainly match!

Smekjal's writing is lush and beautiful with beautiful descriptions, but is also fast-paced and engaging. We jump straight into the thick of the story, and I love the way that we are introduced to the world. The action, character introduction,
michelle (magical reads)
4.25 stars

read on my blog

**I received an ARC from Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

Nothing was more spectacular than the power of the ink.
Celia and Anya couldn’t expose their magic, but they would use it.
They’d play like Diavala and be tricksters all the way.

I'm thrilled to be on the street team for Ink in the Blood! It's been so much fun so far, and I was also so excited to start this book. I mean, tattoo magic! Female friendships!!
Nicole (FearYourEx)
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5/5 stars
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the e-galley.

If you follow me on Instagram you know I love tattoos, I'm slowly collecting art on my body. And I definitely requested this book due to the magic tattoos. But this book is so much more than that.

This book is the beautiful story of Celia and Anya as they begin to fight back to a corrupt religion that rules their country. After seeing the tattoo she inked on the body of someone obviously suffering from abuse. The tattoo she had to
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....

Review: 4 Stars

I had a hard time getting into this book. I actually set it aside for a while before giving it a second shot. I am so glad that I continued past the slow beginning though, because this book was really great. Once I got 15% into the book I was invested and hooked, but for some reason I just had a hard time sinking into the beginning. Ink in the Blood had characters that really found their way into my heart a
Nikole Clow
“They’d play like Diavala and be tricksters all the way.”

Ink in the Blood is one of those stories that holds a powerful meaning and can easily maintain a reader’s attention. I was pleasantly amazed with how this story unfolded. I enjoyed the characters, the array of LGBT representation, but I overall enjoyed most the bond between two girls and their fight for their own destiny.

The writing is both lyrical and poetic. Honestly, the writing is what really drew me into the story (once I started to r
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Holy moly this book gripped me from start to finish! It is the strangest, most atmospheric and mesmerising book I have ever read.
Filled with tattoo magic, dramatic performances and a vengeful god. I mean, what wasn't there to like?! There is also so many characters that represent the LGBTQ+ community and it flowed seamlessly and was beautiful to see such an array of people portrayed as unique and interesting characters.
The storyline and worldbuilding was awesome with a magical tyrannic
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m calling it now: this is 100% going to end up being my favorite book of 2020. Huge thank you to the publisher and Goodreads Giveaways for sending me an ARC of one of my new favorite books in exchange for an honest review!

The whole concept of the book is just so cool. In the religion of Profeta, groups of people are able to ink designs into their skin and transfer those designs onto the skin of others forever. So they use ink tattoos to answer questions people might have or come up with a desi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: missing cover art for Ink in the Blood 2 20 Jul 10, 2020 08:12AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Rules for Vanishing
  • How to Build a Heart
  • The Devouring Gray (The Devouring Gray, #1)
  • The Starless Sea
  • Beneath the Haunting Sea (Beneath the Haunting Sea, #1)
  • The Girls with No Names
  • The Kill Club
  • Echoes Between Us
  • Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #1)
  • The Evil Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, #1)
  • The Luminous Dead
  • Everafter Song (The Evermore Chronicles #3)
  • The Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #1)
  • Marrow Charm (The Gate Cycle, #1)
  • The Octopus Curse
  • A Midnight Clear
  • Silverlegs (Seed of Rage #1)
  • Scars Like Wings
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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, released from HMH in early 2020, and the sequel, CURSE OF THE DIVINE, released in 2021.

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 prair

Other books in the series

Ink in The Blood (2 books)
  • Curse of the Divine (Ink in the Blood, #2)

Articles featuring this book

Recent events have been especially tough on debut authors, with bookstores closed and book tours canceled. So we're rounding up a list of hit...
101 likes · 32 comments
“Just like that, he’d hopped onboard her ship without realizing that the deck was rotted.” 4 likes
“You see, a plague doctor isn’t much of a doctor at all. We’re the ones left behind after all the real doctors leave. We tally the dead. We hold hands and stand sentry at bedsides. When the rest of the world flees, we become the unfortunate mask of any remaining humanity.” 3 likes
More quotes…