Return to the world of inklings, tattoo magic, and evil deities as Celia uncovers the secrets of the ink in order to stop Diavala once and for all. This eagerly anticipated sequel to Ink in the Blood is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Wicked Saints.
Celia Sand faced Diavala and won, using ink magic to destroy the corrupt religion of Profeta that tormented her for a decade. But winning came with a cost. Now Celia is plagued with guilt over her role in the death of her best friend. When she discovers that Diavala is still very much alive and threatening Griffin, the now-infamous plague doctor, Celia is desperate not to lose another person she loves to the deity’s wrath.
The key to destroying Diavala may lie with Halycon Ronnea, the only other person to have faced Diavala and survived. But Halcyon is dangerous and has secrets of his own, ones that involve the ink that Celia has come to hate. Forced to choose between the ink and Diavala, Celia will do whatever it takes to save Griffin—even if it means making a deal with the devil himself.
I nearly DNFed the first book in this series, but hung in there, and it quickly became one of my favorite reads of the year. The followup in this duology is everything I’d hoped.
This sequel begins a few weeks after Ink in the Blood ends. Celia is determined to save Griffin (the plague doctor) from Divala’s wrath, but of course that’s much easier said than done. She’s still reeling with massive guilt and grief over the death of her best friend and begins to wonder if saving Griffin is even a possibility. Their bond has grown stronger and both are willing to sacrifice their life for the other – but neither expects to survive what’s coming.
Lies and coverups run rampant in this story, and it’s difficult to know who to trust and what their underlying motivations are. After Celia learns some shocking facts about the ink’s capabilities beyond tattoos, it’s hard for her to even know what’s real. The intricate world-building from the first book is expanded upon and delivers some surprises – things may not be what they seem.
My favorite character continues to be the completely charming plague doctor (Griffin). His Riddlish (meaning hidden in vague nonsense statements) may still leave you scratching your head, but there’s always an underlying message.
Startling twists, clever plans, and devious characters – all are present in this sequel I’m still thinking about days after finishing. The themes of religion and magic create a compelling, atmospheric story in this dark fantasy, and it’s one I’d highly recommend to fans of the genre.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.