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Ink in the Blood

(Ink in The Blood #1)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  70 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
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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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Start your review of Ink in the Blood (Ink in The Blood, #1)
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.
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
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."
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!
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...
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
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 my
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!
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.

Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautifully dark
Dec 04, 2019 marked it as to-read
michelle (magical reads)
4.25 stars

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!! Overthrowing an entire religion!!! Ink in the Blood tells the story of a battle between an angel and a devil, two best friends caught in between, and everything they're willing to do to set things right.

full review to come

original review:

kinda confusing but that last third…also celia and anya’s devotion to
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: roaring-20s
I was fortunate to receive an ARC from the publisher and am so glad I leapt out of my usual reading genre. This book had me at the prologue. The writing is unique and poetic, filled with mesmerizing descriptions that transport you into a magical Cirque de Solei adventure between two devout friends. Some of the content was darker than I usually like to dabble in, but the writing was worth the PG13 rating.
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 ...more
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 on the
Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
Huh...this sounds interesting, could go great or could go terrible lol
It's not my cup of tea
Jan 17, 2020 marked it as to-read
**Review will be posted to my blog on January 20, 2020**

Thank you to HMH Books For Young Readers and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Ink in the Blood caught my eye on NetGalley because of the cover and the concept of magic tattoos. What I got as I started reading was a story about religion and a theater troupe! Celia and Anya are “inklings” – unfortunately every time I read the word “inkling” it reminded me of the video game Splatoon 2. Maybe that’s why my reading experience
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,
Monica (books_over_everything)
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-book in exchange for an honest review for a tour.**

Title Ink in the Blood (Ink in the Blood #1)

Author Kim Smejkal

Release Date February 11, 2020

Description from Amazon

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 Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude
Tattooed Bibliophile
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"You two are bright stars in the Rabble Mob, and the Rabble Mob is family.”


The first in what’s going to be an amazing series, Kim Smejkal blew me away with this one. Have you ever felt like you were on the inside of something big? I joined Kim’s street team for Ink in the Blood because I have a thing for tattoo books, so I figured I’d like it. But HOLY SHIT. Damn this is good. I feel the need to hoard my ARC copy because it might be a part of something BIG. Sorry for using so
Emily (emilykatereads)
This book is incredibly unique, it just didn't fully grasp my attention.

I was drawn in by the appeal of tattoo magic in this world of queer characters with no binary. It was wholesome, and fascinating. The explanations were really drew me into the story initially. We follow primarily Celia. She is an Inkling, who uses tattoo magic to spread the message of the Divine. Messages are inked to peoples skin to send them a message. Something to change their life and encourage them to make decisions.

Kal ★ Reader Voracious

This book features pan, ace, nonbinary, and trans characters as well as on-the-page m/m, f/f, and nb/m representation - be still my bleeding, tattooed heart!

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. Quotations are taken from an unfinished proof and are subject to change upon final publication.
Blog | Twitter | Pinterest
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
*This book was given to me by the publisher to give an honest review*
WOW! It's kind of like I read Shakespeare because it was really poetic and the character P.O.Vs changed a lot. It's more of a theater read but without dialogue, you are expecting. The characters were amazing and some didn't use proper names like "The Plague Doctor" even though his name was found by Celia (the main character). The author's writing was unique and I never saw something like this. The theme in this book was more
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.
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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 beautiful,

Other books in the series

Ink in The Blood (2 books)
  • Curse of the Divine (Ink in the Blood, #2)
“You two are bright stars in the Rabble Mob, and the Rabble Mob is family.” 0 likes
“Just like that, he’d hopped onboard her ship without realizing that the deck was rotted.” 0 likes
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