Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Length: 6 hours and 22 minutes
Series: Between Ink and Shadows, Book 1
Publisher: Melissa Wright
Released: Apr. 25, 2022
Genre: Epic Fantasy; Historical Romance
She’ll win back her freedom, even if she has to steal it. Nimona Weston has a debt to pay. Her father’s dealings with the dark society known as the Trust cost Nim her freedom. There’s one way out of the contract on her life and that’s to bide her time and pay the tithes. But when the Trust assigns Nim to a task in the king’s own castle, her freedom is not the only thing she’ll risk. Warrick Spenser has a secret. As king’s seneschal, he should be the last soul in Inara to risk association with dark magic, but long-hidden ties to the Trust are harder to shed than simply cutting the threads. When the Trust sends a thief to his rooms, Warrick thinks he’s finally found a way to be rid of them for good. But Nimona Weston is hiding secrets of her own. Magical contracts, blood-debt accountants, and a deadly game. An epic fantasy with Regency flair, an improper and slightly stabby heroine with a penchant for trouble, clean slow-burn romance, and a dark and twisty plot that pits magic against kings, love against power, and a gothic underworld against a kingdom desperate to survive. Perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and The Shadows Between Us.
Summertime means long, hot days that beg for escapist reads by the pool or lake or just the backyard. This reader lives for a good YA series and when mixing in a little dark fantasy and you have her in a truly happy place. (Darn work!) Melissa Wright brings us the Between Ink and Shadows series which one would hope holds the same promise as her Frey series and the Descendants series.
In this first installment in the services, Between Ink and Shadows, we meet our main character Nim. We learn early on that Nim is indebted to a super scary secret society called The Trust, Through her and Warrick, we learn much about the society and its complexities. The inherited debt (not unlike inherited wealth) holds significant impacts on the life choices one can make and the world, while fantastical, feels a little too real at times. The world-building is probably the most difficult part of this story.
Ms. Wright had me at her story blurb depicting Nim as "An epic fantasy with Regency flair, an improper and slightly stabby heroine with a penchant for troubles". Nim and Warrick pair up and display a penchant for trouble if ever there was one. Written in a totally unique twist to Regency style with more witty dialogue and clever banter than its more traditional counterparts, it is too easy to slip into the realm and immerse yourself in the magnetic chemistry from start - his inner demons and secrets vie with hers and the magical using world. Like a classic Regency, sexual attraction is a constant but there are not a lot of overt sexual storylines.
As a couple, I would definitely "ship" Warrick and Nim, even with their secrets and mysteries. I was dying to uncover them all. Melissa Wright does a fantastic job of gripping the reader's attention and not letting go. Mary Jane Wells takes that fabulous storyline and breathes life into the very complicated scenarios in the beginning of the Story. I adored the audiobook narration for her pitch-perfect performance. I think just about everything in this story drew me in - strong, likable characters, witty banter, magical bargains, and mystical contracts and for sure the narration which made the story for me. There are good, " good guys" and bad, "bad guys",. and it is easy to cheer on the right side. As a visual person, I could have used a little extra world-building because there were some major gaps in my knowledge regarding all the Magic, Contracts, and rules of the Trust. Thankfully the story keeps moving and with the audiobook, you can generally pick up things contextually.
I give this delightful fantasy read, 4 Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. I am most definitely heading straight to Audible to snag Book 2, Before Crown and Kingdom.