Imagine a world without books…
In the future, books are a distant memory. The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity. In the controlling dominion of the United Vales of Fell, reading is obsolete and forbidden, and readers themselves do not—cannot—exist.
But where others see images in the stream, teenager Noelle Hartley sees words. She’s obsessed with what they mean, where they came from, and why they found her.
Noelle’s been keeping her dangerous fixation with words a secret, but on the night before her seventeenth birthday, a rare interruption in the stream leads her to a mysterious volume linked to an underworld of rebel book lovers known as the Nine of the Rising. With the help of the Risers and the beguiling boy Ledger, Noelle discovers that the words within her are precious clues to the books of the earlier time—and as a child of their bookless age, she might be the world’s last hope of bringing them back.
Blood, Ink & Fire is a gripping, evocative tale that asks, who would we be without books?
This book made me shiver only by reading its summary. As someone who reads every day except for a few day-long reading slumps, I can't even imagine not being able to read. I knew I had to read this book to see what it could be like.
While the part about not being able to read was clear, the rest of this universe was pretty vague. I couldn't get an idea of what the world looked like, how it's ruled or how life in general is. We only see a day in Noelle's normal life before she's thrown into this big adventure to take Fell down, which doesn't let us really see what it's like to live with Verity, the program that watches them and tells them what to do and when to do it. I know we learn what immersion does to the population, but I couldn't really understand how Valers agreed to do it, because it didn't seem like it was really explained to them. Also, many things are different from our society, but I can't really see the explanation behind them, because they don't seem like improvement to me. I wish I had been able to learn more about this interesting world, because it looked like a poor imitation of The Giver's to me (sorry, but I had to say it).
There were a few characters that I really liked, like John, but I feel like we should've seen more of them. I think the big problem here is the fact that it starts pretty much into the action of this story instead of showing a bit more normalcy before truly beginning. This also made it hard for me to believe that Noelle would leave her house like she does after receiving John's gift in the very beginnning, because the instructions it contained weren't really clear to me and I would never expect someone who lives in a world strict like hers to do everything she does in order to meet her friend for an unknown reason. It was very brave of her, since she risked pretty much everything when she did that, but I think there should've been more of a build-up leading to that.
I loved many parts about books and "boolos", which is the word used to refer to book lovers. It's the whole reason why I read this book, so I hoped there would be some and I was glad to discover a couple of them. Noelle's ability to read was fun to read about, especially when she first started reading, because it impacted her a lot and she loved it from the very beginning. In that way, I could see a lot of myself in her.
Many readers could find an amazing book in this, because it certainly has great ideas. It might not sound like it in this review, but I actually had a nice time reading it, so I would recommend it to people who aren't too picky about world building in dystopian novels.
(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)