I’m always a tiny bit hesitant to get invested in a novel whose protagonist is more practical than emotional. It’s absolutely a strange personal bias of mine, made even more odd by the fact that I’m a Ravenclaw, so practical people are my tribe, yo.
The Gryffindor secondary is strong with me, however, so of course characters with passion and too much emotion to know what to do with are dear to me.
Still, even with my hesitation when I started reading Ink, Iron, and Glass, it didn’t take long for me to get hooked. The world-building is on point, taking us into an alternate history Italy with characters who are dubbed “mad” for their affinities for certain studies. Elsa, our practical protagonist, is a scriptologist—or is she more than that?
The whole science of scriptology is fascinating in this steampunk world. The ability to write an entire world into existence is amazing, and I like that the actual science isn’t forgotten (have to get the air quality right, or you won’t have any oxygen to breathe, etc.).
Eventually the action picks up, and we start following some of the other characters a bit more, getting to know their histories and falling for them. (Okay, real-talk, Leo is much more up my alley than Elsa. He’s impetuous and jealous and troubled by a tragic past…so good!)
I think this duology has a lot of promise, and I’ll be picking up the conclusion when it comes out. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves steampunk, alternate history worlds, and of course anyone with a soft spot for a more practical, logical protagonist (with a passionate, impulsive love interest, because HELLO brooding YA hero).