Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Title: Ink, Iron, and Glass
Author: Gwendolyn Clare
Series: Ink, Iron, and Glass #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Steampunk, Young adult
Dates read: 29th June 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: So, that left only one option available to her: she would have to scribe a laboratory for herself.

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Our best weapons are words.

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 forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of young scientists with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology – and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past. She recruits the help of thse fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created – and only she can stop it.


Wow. This was just… wow. And I don’t even remember when I bought it. Or why I didn’t read it straight away. Because… seriously… wow. This was awesome, powerful and brilliant. It was filled with all of those wonderful steampunk moments, and the aspects of young adult stories that I already know that I love. The fact that it is based in historical Italy, instead of Victorian London like many steampunk stories… that just added to the feeling of “wow”. I should really find a better word, but this one just seems to work so well…

One of my favourite things about this novel is probably just how powerful Elsa is. Most of my books feature a female lead who is powerful. But there is something so much… extra about her. Something which definitely drew me in from the very beginning. Add that to the creation of different worlds and realities… and the access to these realities is through a portal in a book… I found this to be one of my favourite worlds that have been built in a long time. There was something so eerily and beautifully familiar about all of it… whilst being completely new and refreshing.

I love that there are three main affinities for the “mad children”. And one of those is Alchemy… I’m still a little vague as to exactly what alchemy encompasses. But I do love that Skandar is the creation of one such “mad boy”. He may be my favourite, quirkiest creature yet. Definitely the most unique, a squidlike cuddle monster who can also attack and kill others… I may be a little ghoulish and blood-thirsty. But it was an idea and execution that I particularly enjoyed. And it kind of helped to make some of the more serious moments… less serious.

Leo and Elsa are a great couple in this. I love the way they fall for each other and the constant banter that they have. Their histories are intertwined and their futures even more so. And although there are moments in which you’re not entirely sure if they’re going to actually make it… you really just can’t help but hope for the best. Or at least, that’s what I’m hanging out for in the next book… when I have enough money to actually buy the next book…

<- More Gwendolyn ClareMist, Metal, and Ash ->

Image source: Goodreads


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