A Review of: Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst
Updated: Nov 1, 2018
About the Novel:
Inkmistress is a young adult fantasy novel. It takes place in the fictional kingdom of Zumorda, and follows the story of the demigod (child of a god) Asra, who is in love with the human mortal, Ina. In this world, humans take animal ‘manifests’; they physically bond with animals and are able to take the form of that animal. Asra has the power to alter the past and dictate the future by writing with her blood, though this comes at a great personal cost. She uses her powers to help Ina find her manifest. This has far reaching, unexpected consequences, and Asra begins a journey across the kingdom to right her mistake.
I find Coulthurst’s writing style to be immersive and almost poetic at times. This is especially true when Asra (the narrator) is reminiscing about tender moments with Ina, or her developing feelings for fellow demigod, Hal. It is easy to become enveloped in the world inhabited by these characters, and to believe in its magic.
Asra herself is a strong, well written character. Everything she felt, I felt alongside her. She has a powerful and compelling voice that really carries the story. Though she is a demigod, her mistakes make her feel more human and relatable.
Asra’s traveling companion, Hal, has a jovial nature, and serves as one of the bright spots within a novel shrouded in darkness. Coulthurst did an excellent job crafting his character. His connection with Asra never felt forced, but rather developed naturally. These two characters are the true standouts of the novel.
Ina is introduced as Asra’s first love interest, and she has grand dreams for the people of her village. It would seem Coulthurst attempts to set her up as an antagonist who is a sympathetic victim of circumstance. If this is indeed what the author was intending, I felt it could have been executed better. Ina uses and manipulates Asra, and because of this, I found it difficult to empathize with her.
My only other critique is that I got a little confused when it came to who was able to harness magic, and to what extent. The concept of mortals having manifests was integral to the story, as was Asra’s status as a bloodscribe. However, I found myself struggling to understand the ‘rules’ of magic within the world of Inkmistress.
Would I Recommend This Book?:
This novel would be ideal for someone who is new to the YA fantasy genre, as it incorporates all of the key elements of the genre. It’s a good way to dip one’s toes in, as there isn’t as much commitment as with other fantasy novels which are parts of a larger series. While this book takes place in the same world as Coulthurst’s first novel, Of Fire and Stars, it is understood without having read the other.
Final Score: 8.75/10