Ink, Iron, and Glass

336p. Imprint. Feb. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250112767. POP
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—Elsa is a scripted being. She was called into existence as subtext by a scriptologist, a maker of worlds who made Veldana, the place where she lives. Elsa's mother is a scripted being who was trained to be a scriptologist herself. She continues the work of creating Veldana, and she has trained Elsa to do the same. When her mother gets kidnapped, however, Elsa's life is thrown into chaos. She follows the trail of the kidnapping back to Earth, where she finds refuge with a secret society of pazzaerallone—people with gifts in scriptology, mechanics, alchemy, or all three. With their help, she eludes assassins, tracks down her mother, and stages a rescue that is successful in every way except for one. This entry is clearly the first in a series about a team of teenagers who have to save the world from greedy, wrongheaded adults. Set at the end of the 19th century, the novel samples historical figures the way a hip-hop album might sample a classic riff: it opens a window to European history, lets in fresh air, and sends facts flying. An author's note sets the historical record straight. In the meantime, Clare spins an entertaining adventure tale that also addresses colonialism, inclusion, and musings on the nature of being.
VERDICT This novel is a source of serious fun; a must-have choice for YA collections.

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