Ink, Iron, and Glass

30523827Ink, Iron, and Glass. Gwendolyn Clare. Young Adult/Fantasy. 2018. 336 pages. 4 stars.

“It won’t bring you comfort, to watch me get back which you cannot.”
“I know.”
“Then why?”
Still without looking at her, he said, “Because no one should lose everything. It isn’t just, and I wad raised to believe in a just world.”

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review.


Can she write a world gone wrong?

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.


I went into this book with low expectations simply because I haven’t been reading any mind-blowing YA fantasy books lately, and I didn’t want to be let down. I’m glad to say that I enjoyed this book way more than I thought, and I was pleasantly surprised!

The most unique element of the book is the world. It’s set in an alternative Victorian Italy for the most part, but we also go Paris, the Netherlands, and this made-up world called Veldana. THAT WAS COOL. I also love how the “magic system” in this fantasy novel isn’t  magic per say but is treated more like science. We have Mechanics, Alchemy, and Scriptology. I would have liked to be more briefed on the rules of these sciences though because all of a sudden the characters were creating/doing things I didn’t know was possible but apparently was possible because we don’t know the rules yet of their “magic system.”

Plotwise, I feel like the book was setting up the main story for the next book. I guess this is why my heart was not racing fast like it does for most fantasy books that I enjoy. What kept me going throughout reading the book was intrigue, and to me that was enough.

For characters, I liked them for the most part, except I have mixed feelings for Leo. GRRR IT’S PEOPLE LIKE HIM THAT REINFORCE THE TOXIC PATRIARCHAL STRUCTURE IN SOCIETY hahahaha okay I was half kidding, but I felt like his need to protect Elsa was too much. I’m interested to see some character development in the next book though. On the other hand, I like Elsa! I feel like she acted reasonably and I love how sassy she can get when tested!!

I feel like the only reason I’m giving this book 4 stars is because of how unique it was. It felt like a palette cleanser amidst all the same YA high fantasy books that have been released lately, and that made me feel good while reading the book. I still recommend this book, but I highly suggest having low expectations prior to reading it. 🙂


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