I really wanted to love this book, and I’m a bit sad that it didn’t turn out that way. But I guess you can’t love them all. I received Worlds of Ink and Shadow in January’s Owlcrate. The theme was Magic.

Worlds of Ink and Shadow

I’ll admit, it’s an interesting concept – take known facts about the Brontë family, and wrap those events in a magical plot. I admire Coakley’s attempt.

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been close. After all, nothing can unite four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict, spartan 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. – Goodreads

The characters seem underdeveloped and very light on personality. The world building is pretty good, but without stronger characterization, it all kind of falls flat. The plot moves along at a steady pace, before suddenly ramping up to a big climactic battle – which fizzles out in the end. That was a bit of a head-scratcher, and made me wonder why Coakley bothered with it at all.

I’m struggling to write this review, because like I said, I really want to love this book. I’d still like to take a look at Coakley’s other work – Witchlanders sounds pretty interesting, but I’m going to have to give Worlds of Ink and Shadow 2/5.

2/5