September 29, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Ink Blood Sister Scribe By Emma Torzs Weaves Mystical Libraries And Blood Scribes Magically

Ink Blood Sister Scribe By Emma Torzs-Summary

Goodreads summary of Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs (review below):

In this spellbinding debut novel, two estranged half-sisters tasked with guarding their family’s library of magical books must work together to unravel a deadly secret at the heart of their collection–a tale of familial loyalty and betrayal and the pursuit of magic and power.

For generations, the Kalotay family has guarded a collection of ancient and rare books. Books that let a person walk through walls or manipulate the elements–books of magic that half-sisters Joanna and Esther have been raised to revere and protect.

All magic comes with a price, though, and for years the sisters have been separated. Esther has fled to a remote base in Antarctica to escape the fate that killed her own mother, and Joanna’s isolated herself in their family home in Vermont, devoting her life to the study of these cherished volumes. But after their father dies suddenly while reading a book Joanna has never seen before, the sisters must reunite to preserve their family legacy. In the process, they’ll uncover a world of magic far bigger and more dangerous than they ever imagined, and all the secrets their parents kept hidden; secrets that span centuries, continents, and even other libraries . . .

Ink Blood Sister Scribe By Emma Torzs- Review

Emma Torzs’ Ink Blood Sister Scribe is a fantasy powerhouse. It is lyrical in its writing and complex in the story. Emma Torzs manages not to confuse but enhance each part of the plot by utilizing secrets, puzzles, and blood magic. It would become very easy for Ink Blood Sister Scribe to get lost in all that it entails, but it never does. She never loses her flowing prose or the voice of the characters that drive this plot.

Furthermore, she utilizes some classic fantasy pieces such as found family, family unknown, and magical creatures without it ever becoming tired. Then, she mixes in her own take on magic- there must be blood to activate it. With these pieces, she brings together a story of three people desperately searching for different truths, being led by a multitude of lies, and the need to overcome the past. Without each other, it isn’t possible, with each other, there is darkness and fear that must be overcome.

The magic system in Ink Blood Sister Scribe is unique in its execution.  You have different ways magic influences people. Some write it, some hear it, and while some are totally impacted by it, some feel no effect from it at all. Throughout the book, different secrets are suspected by different characters, and the reveals are sometimes predictable and sometimes serious whiplash. However, even the predictable reveals are gripping. The addition of those that maintain and protect the library of spell books, and how/why (no spoilers) they do so, is an added depth to the story.

Ink Blood Sister Scribe By Emma Torzs- Review

Throughout the beginning of Ink Blood Sister Scribe Emma Torzs breathes life into her characters through current and past events (in the form of memories, not timeline changes). Half-sisters Joanna and Esther often ruminate on their childhoods and how their family had been. Although happy memories of when their family wasn’t broken, you immediately get the distinct disconnect that Esther felt. Since she didn’t know her real mother, there was jealousy towards Joanna, and want for her place in the world, where she belonged. This only increased when determined that Joanna could hear magic, but Esther could not.


Thank you to Harper Audio for an advanced audio copy of Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs

They grew up knowing well the magic of magic. It was often used on birthdays to make them fly higher in swings or make vibrant flowers burst open. That same magic then tore their family, their lives, and their bond apart. Finally, leading to Esther’s father telling her she must stay on the run for her entire life. He sends her away with a promise that every November, she would take off for 24 hours, otherwise putting herself and whomever she is close to in distinct danger. Meanwhile, Joanna stays back to take care of the carefully curated magic library.

Nicholas grew up always knowing the perils of magic because he is the last scribe. Consequently, this has led to him being constantly under lock and key via a bodyguard and his Uncle. After he was kidnapped and had an eye ripped out, his uncle would not take any chances. Confined to the library and giving blood to spellbooks, Nicholas grows up lonely and bored. He never really feels the glory of magic intrinsically. It wasn’t his experience.

Emma Torzs takes careful time building up these lives and characters so that when they come together, it makes sense. It is easy for the reader to grasp the emotional whiplash, anger and fear that resonates between them.

Ink Blood Sister Scribe By Emma Torzs- Final Thoughts/Audiobook

There are two polar opposites things that can be said about the Ink Blood Sister Scribe audiobook. First, Saskia Maarleveld, is a wonder. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators. I don’t think there is anything she can’t do. From YA Fantasy to Adult Fantasy. From women to men (both young and old), her voice is spectacular. Additionally, Saskia Maarleveld’s intonations and cadence keep the flow of the text in perfect pitch. Lastly, her ability to bring characters and the story off the page and into your heart is unquestionable.

Secondly, there is the audiobook production which was not great. There are multiple points of view throughout Ink Blood Sister Scribe, and it doesn’t do this wonderful work any justice not to label the chapters by POV. It is such a simple thing to do, and yet it wasn’t done.

The faults of the production of this audiobook do not interfere with the enjoyment of the story. I don’t think anything could take away from the book Emma Torzs or Saskia Maarleveld.

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