Ink, Iron, and Glass

Ink, Iron, and Glass

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 fo...

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Title:Ink, Iron, and Glass
Author:Gwendolyn Clare
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Ink, Iron, and Glass Reviews

  • Lisa

    ETA: So glad I picked this up. The action picked up immediately, and I saw new depth with the characters. Plus, wow, some surprises that I'm still reeling from!

  • Vicky Who Reads

    Elsa lives in a world made by her mother through the scientific branch of scriptology where a person can write new worlds.

    But, when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must travel to the real world--historical 19th-century Italy--where she finds a secret society of young people with gifts like her own in scriptology, as well as mechanics and alchemy. On the way, she meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past, as well as many other friends who hel

    Elsa lives in a world made by her mother through the scientific branch of scriptology where a person can write new worlds.

    But, when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must travel to the real world--historical 19th-century Italy--where she finds a secret society of young people with gifts like her own in scriptology, as well as mechanics and alchemy. On the way, she meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past, as well as many other friends who help her find her kidnapped mother and fend of assassins.

    I really wanted to enjoy this. Really, really.

    I had so many hopes--this was going to magical and dangerous and a total romp through the woods with twists and turns and betrayal and swoon-worthy romance. I wanted to be in Clare's spell--following along enthusiastically.

    I forgot that this was a fantasy. (Technically, steampunk, which is basically fantasy in this case.) Fantasy can have books that are huge successes for me, mediocre stories, or total disasters. This fell into that unhelpful middle category of having so much potential, but unfortunately lacking in execution, making it average and bland.

    I so wanted to enjoy this, and on some aspects I managed to--the magic system, although somewhat basic and sometimes-but-not-always convenient, was interesting and novel to me, and I loved reading about the scriptology and alchemy and mechanics and this was all so interesting--there was vast potential in this storyline.

    Although I feel like this wasn't fully explored in this book, I do have high hopes for this plotline in the next novel as I think it made good progress and has more yet to come.

    This was really the highlight of the novel--I just loved the steampunk aspect, and the historical-Italy setting didn't hurt either.

    But what ended up averaging with the five (and also marring other parts of the story) was just the characters.

    They were all so

    . I never really got a chance to grasp who they were and to understand their hopes and dreams and desires on a deeper scale rather than "Leo has daddy issues" and "Elsa misses her mother" and it was all very two-dimensional. It felt like I'd met all of the characters before in other books, seeing the same type of backstory or the same entitlement or the same sort of dynamic. And it's not necessarily unoriginality, but it's just so bland and regular and common. Just like clichés aren't all bad, common characters aren't all bad either.

    But they are in such a grand scale that no character felt unique to me. Where they did have developed backstories or layered issues, it was still something that didn't give the reader that greater sense of understanding and made me feel like I was knowing what they wanted me to see, not what

    wanted to see.

    And I know that this is someone's baby--Clare is bound to love the characters like they were her own because she crafted them. How can I go and insult something that someone else loves?

    Yet, I have to be honest and say that I unfortunately just didn't like this batch of characters. Besides feeling done-before and two-dimensional, there were just things about them that bothered me.

    Elsa was nearly flawless all around--she does almost everything right and is successful when she tries and is hardworking and the paragon of a good, hardworking daughter. But wait--she's totally flawed emotionally because "love is a weakness." (See quote for uncorrected proof:)

    This trope doesn't always bother me, but I felt like it wasn't hashed out enough. The only thing this really affected was Elsa's love issues and this was one of the more miniscule parts of the novel.

    Leo, the other main protagonist, also suffers from unhashed-backstory-syndrome and he's got problems after both his parents and his brother died in an attack. I can't spoil too much of this plotline, but I just wasn't really a fan of how this worked out and it felt cliché.

    There's a few other things that I wanted to point out that were effects of the characters.

    Firstly, the romance was just something I wasn't into. I didn't feel like there was chemistry and Leo and Elsa felt more platonic than anything to me. When they did have a little spark, it felt pretty forced to me and I would have been a lot more satisfied if they just stayed friends.

    I liked how Clare added diversity in Elsa being brown, but I felt like it was almost tiptoed around. Actually tackling the idea of race in this circumstance would have really changed the narrative to make it more profound, but by tiptoeing around this idea that "Oh, Elsa's brown, but we don't know too much about it" made it seem kind of there to be there rather than there to be used and addressed. I understand if Clare is uncomfortable with writing about this (better to stay in your own lane than to go and offend a couple dozen people), but I wanted more from this and felt that there was a lot of potential in this storyline that was lacking because Elsa was so cookie-cutter.

    Also, the plot was largely fine by me. They did some traipsing around and talking and trying to find something to do, which didn't bother me too much. Things sped up later in the story during the climax where they were doing all sorts of crazy things in labyrinths.

    But what bothered me about the plot was a decision Leo makes which the reader discovers at the very, very end, and it led me to developing an intense dislike for his character. He take the choice away from others without them knowing, and this was a terrible move for him to do without counsel. I felt like he was "playing God" and doing things that shouldn't be done, and I really hope this is addressed as something that shouldn't be done during book 2.

    Overall, I didn't really enjoy this book very much and it ended up being a large fault of the characters. And this isn't a terrible book--for me, it ended up being unfortunately average and bland for the most part--but if the characters do sound like people you'd like (not everyone shares my opinions of them being bland), then I say go for it. This just ended up being not the book for me. (Though I give it a giant kudos for including the serial comma!)

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  • Carlos

    Meh is all I can muster for this book, great idea and a lot of potential but the execution left a lot to be desired, it didn’t work at least for me , I thought the author could have done a lot more to expand the characters and explore the world she created in this book, instead there were moments when you forgot what you were reading and who was who. It wasn’t a horrible book , it just didn’t work for me because of its format and choice for a plot , I will still read its sequel to see whether th

    Meh is all I can muster for this book, great idea and a lot of potential but the execution left a lot to be desired, it didn’t work at least for me , I thought the author could have done a lot more to expand the characters and explore the world she created in this book, instead there were moments when you forgot what you were reading and who was who. It wasn’t a horrible book , it just didn’t work for me because of its format and choice for a plot , I will still read its sequel to see whether the author decided to explore more of this world in the next book.

  • Cait • A Page with a View

    2.5 stars. Ok let me start with leaving the book description here because HOW AMAZING DOES THIS SOUND:

    2.5 stars. Ok let me start with leaving the book description here because HOW AMAZING DOES THIS SOUND:

    I started the book like

    but that quickly turned into

    I went into this with a lot of anticipation, which might have been a mistake because it reallllly wasn't what I was expecting. The overall execution definitely could have been more exciting and I felt like the writing style was blocking me from getting into the story. So my enthusiasm vanished pretty quickly, BUT I still liked some parts. The diverse characters, wonderful quotes at the top of each chapter, and the clever way to make an alternate history were great.

    This book reminded me a bit of The Reader by Traci Chee at times, so if you liked that then maybe you'll have fun with this one too! It's definitely a slow start, though, so maybe knowing that could help you get into the story more.

  • Rachael

    One of my least favorite things in the world is when I read a book that I self-hyped so much in my mind and then the actual product monumentally disappoints.

    And

    is the PERFECT example, so I guess it's good for something after all :')

    What makes it worse is that this book has the kind of concept that could work on pretty much

    . A steampunk novel where the main character is a character in a world that became sentient?? And she creates worlds but then her world gets d

    One of my least favorite things in the world is when I read a book that I self-hyped so much in my mind and then the actual product monumentally disappoints.

    And

    is the PERFECT example, so I guess it's good for something after all :')

    What makes it worse is that this book has the kind of concept that could work on pretty much

    . A steampunk novel where the main character is a character in a world that became sentient?? And she creates worlds but then her world gets destroyed and she’s stuck in 19th Century Europe and has to try and find her way back?? I would read this book, go see this movie, binge-watch this TV show, and play this video game Every. Single. Time.

    But, alas. This book is just. Bad.

    First off, these Victorian Europe characters were born sounding like they were born in the 90s. The 1990s. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have noticed if they hadn’t switched from sounding modern to sounding like actual legitimate characters from a historical fiction novel back to modern so many times. It was sooo choppily written and extremely jarring and I feel like my mind and my ears have to sleep for a thousand years to get the sound of this dialogue out of my brain.

    Also this book has highkey one of the most annoying cases of instalove I have ever read in a novel and ohhh my goshhh I want to die just thinking about it. I’m talking full on

    and I mean honestly I’m just so sick of this crap loll.

    I can’t wait for death

    This book also did a whole lot of telling and not showing. It made the exposition almost as choppy as the dialogue.

    Okay – and here’s the thing. I feel weird and reluctant calling out a steampunk/alt-history novel for historical inaccuracies, but listen. Usually in steampunk, the technology that is incorporated is some new invention, or it’s modern-day technologies with some sort of anachronistic twist, but this book just took random, plain ol’ modern day inventions without any twist and shoves them into the story (e.g. radial saws and flamethrowers). And sure, there’s some pretty basic and two-dimensional robots and a sentient household, but instead of invoking the wonder and fangirling that steampunk novels usually do in me, I was just bored. The world-building and technological aspects are just weak.

    Another thing about the historical inaccuracies – a lot of this book (or, at least, a lot of the part that I read), takes place in Sardinia, and there is absolutely no mention of Sardo, the Sardinian Language. Though many citizens spoke Italian at the time, Sardo was still a main language and the idea that there is absolutely no mention of it when de Vries and Elsa arrive in Sardinia and Elsa is learning Italian seems less like a minor alternate-history decision and more like weak writing. Literally all you have to do is google “what language do they speak in Sardinia.” It’s not that hard to avoid linguistic errors like this.

    Also, and by no means is this a Frozen knockoff, but I Legitimately Cannot Physically Read the name Elsa without thinking of Idina Menzel hiding out in an ice castle.

    Plus, and this definitely isn’t a Rick Riordan knockoff, but when I hear of a character named Leo who has curly hair and is a mechanic I am incapable of picturing anyone else besides Leo Valdez. The Leo in this book is Leo Valdez now.

    So, bottom line is I would probably skip this one unless you are REALLY into steampunk and will read even the super crappy ones. This was not a good novel and it did not fill my fantasy craving. I’m disappointed.

    idk if it's just because I'm tired but this book is kind of pissing me off and it's past midnight and I have finals to study for and I just don't have the energy so./ this may be back on my currently reading shelf tomorrow morning who knows?? I certainly don't

  • Lily ☁️

    at 14%. And thus, my long streak of finishing every book I read comes to an end.

    The book cover pronounces

    to be “exciting and original”, but while the latter may be true, the former ... well, let’s just say that I felt the exact opposite of excited.

    ¦

    ¦

    ¦

  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    Ooo pretty cover! I like it =D

  • mith

    BLESSED BE THE POWERS THAT DECIDED THAT THE OXFORD COMMA STAYS IN THE TITLE.

    i don't know who you are, but i love u.

  • Lior

    This book sounds AMAZING

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