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Ink in the Blood

(Ink in The Blood #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  374 ratings  ·  186 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 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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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.

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

So I don't care what's on your TBR for this month. Make room for Ink in the Blood.

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
After reading:

Fuck. You.


Prior to reading:

✔ 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??
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
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
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!
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...

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
Sheila Goicea
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 In in the Blood, I thought the synopsis sounded really interesting. Tattoo magic wound together with faith for fans of Kendare Blake? I'm
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
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!
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."
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
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.
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...
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, Celia
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-tbr
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
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 couldnt expose their magic, but they would use it.
Theyd 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
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 Ive ever read????
I mean it was a quick read I guess so theres 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????
Nikole Clow
Theyd 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 readers 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 read,
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
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Im 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
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
I'm hosting a giveaway of my ARC copy on Twitter (I've since purchased a finished copy & want to spread the love!)
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
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.

I really loved this book even with everything that happens by the end it was so well written I am really looking forward to the sequel. I loved the characters so much especially Celia,Anya and Griffin or the plague doctor as her is called throughout most of the book. I loved Celia for how strong she was and how she ended up beating the odds that were stacked against her. I really loved Anya for her relationship with Celia and how she was the light in the darkness for Celia and in the end (view ...more
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
INK IN THE BLOOD is an engaging and atmospheric YA fantasy. Celia Sand was delighted when she was chosen to serve the Divine at six years old; her mothers were so proud of her. However, Celia soon realizes that this devotion is a curse, and being an Inkling is anything but good. Inklings serve the Divine by creating tattoos with messages that the person needs to hear, and those tattoos give them direction for their life choices.

However, as Celia has learned over the last ten years, the messages
Katey Hoffman
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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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 shes not writing, shes homeschooling her kids, tutoring other peoples 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)

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