Written by: Lena Coakley
Published: January 5, 2016 by Amulet Books
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.
Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.
*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***
I am a fan of Gothic literature and therefore the Bronte sisters (well mostly Emily but you get the idea) so when I saw on Netgalley a historical fantasy about the Brontes in their teens travelling to their own imaginary worlds I knew I needed to read it. And this books definitely did not disappoint. It was a fantastic dark fantasy with subtle historical elements.
There was even more interesting elements of the plot that bookish people will appreciate. I went into this book expecting more on the historical elements but that's not what the focus of the book was, it was much more about the fantastical and supernatural elements which perfectly suited me. The book switched back and forth between the real world and the fictional worlds with spill over into both, but a lot of the plot was the goings on in the fantasy worlds that the Brontes created. I loved being able to explore the worlds, both Verdopolis and Gondal, despite only briefly seeing the latter. They were such different worlds and you could see which Bronte had created them based on their appearance. Verdopolis was a group effort and it had many different elements of Regency and Gothic literature including lots of romance and mystery. But both worlds had dark elements just like you would expect from these authors. I usually enjoy dark fantasies that have a basis in real history so I enjoyed that about this book as well.
It also probably comes as no surprise that this is the kind of book for bookish people, it is about three (well four) authors after all. I'm not very familiar with the juvenalia of the Brontes, nor any of their works beyond theier most well-known but this book made me want to read more of their books. The stories they created here were truly imaginative and if their actual books are anything like these then I'm sure they are fantastic. And I'm sure they are because you can see the progression of their work. You can see the characters who influenced Charlotte's Mr. Rochester and Emily's Heathcliff and Cathy. As a fan of Wuthering Heights (it's one of my all-time favorite books) I loved seeing the precursors to these characters and these books. Fans of the Brontes will also enjoy seeing that and appreciate this book for that reason.
On the whole this was a good read that bookish people, especially fans of the Brontes will probably enjoy. It did start a little slow for my taste but when the mystery and darker elements kicked in, it was really interesting and enjoyable.
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. This is a book for bookish people, especially fans of the Brontes and/or Gothic literature. It's got great characters and interesting dark fantasy worlds that fans of supernatural or fantasy books will enjoy. It was a really creative book and I would definitely recommend it.
Have you read Worlds of Ink and Shadows? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!