Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal — ARC Review

Ink in the Blood by Kim SmejkalSummary:

A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.

Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal Bookstagram Photo

Review: 4 Stars

I had a hard time getting into this book. I actually set it aside for a while before giving it a second shot. I am so glad that I continued past the slow beginning though, because this book was really great. Once I got 15% into the book I was invested and hooked, but for some reason I just had a hard time sinking into the beginning. Ink in the Blood had characters that really found their way into my heart and is a story I don’t think I will forget any time soon. I am so grateful that I listened to all my friends that really loved this book because I really wound up connecting to this story.

You two are bright stars in the Rabble Mob, and the Rabble Mob is family.”

The characters were all quirky and a bit weird. They became a found family in a circus-like traveling show. Celia was the main character and she definitely gave off some gothic vibes and I couldn’t help but love her despite all of her flaws. Celia and Anya’s friendship was my favorite.They were bonded on such a deep level and would really do anything for each other. I feel like female friendships have become so rare in YA and this one was so deep. I did love the rest of the Rabble Mob as well, but what I loved most about all of these characters is that they treated each other like family and never hesitated to be there for each other. I loved all of these quirky weird characters that became a family.

The world built in this story was done so well. The religion built around the Divine and Diavala had heavy influences on society and was at the center of this book. I loved how the religion used tattoos to guide individuals, the whole thing was just so unique and compelling. I tend to love fantasy novels like this that have worlds with unique religions that are filled with corruptions. The layers of world building really brought the whole thing to life, making the world easy to visualize and understand.

“Ink equals manipulation. Ink equals bondage. Ink equals tyranny.”

While the plot was pretty incredible, for a while I didn’t really know where this book was going and it felt pretty character driven. But by the end I loved the way everything unfolded and the ending blew me away. A lot of the things weren’t revealed to the reader until they happened, which really helped build suspense and kept me reading. There were some unexpected twists, but the twist at the end of the book had me emotionally wrecked. It was written so well and the emotions of the characters were conveyed in a way that was so raw and authentic that I was crying myself. The plot just came together so well and really left me reeling.

I am really so glad that I gave this book a second chance because it was so worth it. I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read it! I loved the Rabble Mob and the world was so unique. The entire story radiated gothic vibes and it was just so different from a lot of books out there. I can’t wait for book 2 and I’m so glad that I decided to give this book a shot. I would recommend Ink in the Blood if you enjoy gothic vibes, found family and unique world building. I can’t wait to start reading the sequel Curse of the Divine!

One thought on “Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal — ARC Review

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: