*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Ink, Iron, and Glass
Author: Gwendolyn Clare
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation, where her mother―a noted scriptologist―constantly alters and expands their reality.
But when her home is attacked and her mother kidnapped, Elsa is forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of young scientists with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology―and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.
In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created―and only she can stop it.
Review: I have to say that as soon as I read this synopsis I was completely sold on it. It was shaping up to be another great historical YA fantasy! After reading it, though, I was kind of let down by it. It was so promising and had all the right elements, but it fell flat for me. I wanted to love it so much, but I just didn’t have that “wow” moment while reading.
The story starts off with Elsa’s mother being kidnapped from Veldana, the worldbook they live in. She has to travel to earth to try and find her, and ends up in Italy at a sanctuary for what are known as “mad” people (scriptologists, mechanics, and alchemists). I didn’t feel that there was much chemistry with her and the other characters. There was a feeling of disconnection for me in this aspect of the book because Elsa basically refused to grow close to anyone and it was hard to relate to her character. Maybe it was also a lack of emotional depth, I’m not sure. But it was difficult to empathize with a character who was not really willing to create new relationships and invite people in to help her find her mother. I had high hopes for Elsa and Leo’s relationship to unfold but between her stubbornness and him keeping secrets of his own, what started off as a possible relationship kind of fell in shambles.
One aspect I did like about this story was its originality. The scriptology was such an amazing ability to have, and I wish we saw more of it! I was hoping for some world-travelling, but most of the time was spent in Italy. There was so much room for worldbuilding, but this book barely scratched the surface.
What also cause the story to fall flat was the overall plot of the story. Sure, Elsa was out to search for her kidnapped mother, but then what? There was much more room for subplots to unfold and new problems to pop up and bring excitement into the story, but I felt like there was nothing really resolved by the end. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book, but I just didn’t love it as much as I hoped I would!