Tuesday, August 8, 2017

WORLDS OF INK AND SHADOW BY LENA COAKLEY - BOOK REVIEW

Ok, so I think this is one of those classic I didn't really know what I was reading until I started it. I thought I was getting a modern-day story about the Brontë siblings, but actually what I got was more of a historical fiction with a magical twist.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley.


The story follows the four Brontë siblings, Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and their brother Branwell. Each of the siblings is talented at writing and other artistic areas but Charlotte and Branwell are able to make the worlds they create come to life and they play a role, both as a character in the story and the author of the story. But they soon find that they are losing control of the stories and the wonderful worlds they created are becoming much darker than they ever imagined. As the price the pair pay to live in their made up world begins to take a toll and with darkness spreading, the siblings decide that maybe it is time to let go of their fictitious worlds.

Before I get too far into this review, I will say that I am by no means a Brontë expert, when it comes to any of the siblings. To be perfectly honest, I didn't even know they had a brother, and I'm still not 100% convinced they did. So I am definitely not the person to check the validity of any of that factual information that comes with the family. That being said, I think that if I was a little more familiar with each author, I would have found any little nods to their writing throughout that otherwise went over my head.

I think that I liked most about this book was the concept - bringing these famous, long-dead authors back to life. Who knows what they really would have been like, but it was interesting to see what they might have been. However, I almost feel like the only thing this book had going for it was its premise.

I found the story itself to be a bit dull. I don't know if it was maybe because it was kind of a classic, and my brain just went into classics shut-down mode. The writing was alright, but nothing too spectacular. It was told in third person perspective which, while helpful with having four different narrators, I think hindered my ability to really connect with the characters on a deeper level.

I did also notice a couple of times in the book where the characters had fairly progressive thinking. There was some talk of the women being more than just a governess, something that I feel might be atypical for this time-period, as well as both the main male characters not having that stern governing force you often see in books written in this era. I appreciated this thinking as an option, but I'm not sure if it is historically accurate. Then again, this isn't solely a historical novel.

I think I would have preferred if this book was just the story the siblings made up in their new world, no prelude with the 'real' world. But then I suppose you wouldn't be able to pitch it as having to do with the Brontës. I think that the family events and 'crossing over' elements muddled what could have been a decent story. I found myself more confused as to what was happening than anything else, especially at the beginning when things hadn't been explained yet.

Overall, a really great idea, just not really great execution.