Review: Blood and Ink – Stephen Davies

Posted 6 September, 2017 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 18 Comments

*I received a free copy of Blood and Ink from via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *

Review: Blood and Ink – Stephen DaviesBlood and Ink on 19 September 2017
Pages: 224
5 Stars

When Ali and Kadi meet, it's hate at first sight.

Kadi is the daughter of a librarian in modern-day Timbuktu. A lover of music and literature, she will one day become a guardian of an ancient manuscript collection.

Ali is the son of shepherds and has been conscripted by the Defenders of Faith, an arm of Al Qaeda. He helps to overthrow Timbuktu and impose a strict Islamic state. The town’s citizens face many abuses as their way of life changes overnight.

By circumstance, the two teenagers are thrown together. As they get to know more about each other, both let their guards down. But when Ali discovers the secret vault where Kadi’s family keeps their sacred manuscripts, he reports the discovery to his commander. Kadi is forced to risk a smuggling operation to save the manuscripts from destruction. Once her life is in danger, finally Ali must decide where his loyalties lie.

Part thriller, part love story, this exciting drama takes place in the midst of true-to-life events in Mali in 2012.

Blood and Ink mesmerised me! Very well done, mixing actual events and fiction, showing the differences in muslim faiths, how some are stricter than others, and what was done by a people to rise against their oppressors.

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews


I was transported by Blood and Ink, through the way it unfolded two sides of a story. How it showed two sides of a war. Two sides of a religion. How good and bad can be blurred, and how difficult it is to change sides once a stance is taken. Because the story is based on true events, I think it was very realistic. Even ficionalised history can be well done, and I found the way everything unfolded to be enlightening.

Taking a village under siege, radical muslims raise against more moderate ones. And they change the law. Little by little, one of the followers, a young boy who managed to help his brethren over the wall realizes that some of the things he knows about his religion and what is practiced by their leader don’t really mesh.

There is opposition, a lot of courage, and a strong sense of loyalty among the villagers.


Kadi isn’t supposed to become the new guardian of the sacred texts, but she almost is anyway. She feels alive in the musty cellar where the history of her village is hidden.
Ali thinks he fights for God. That’s what he’s heard for months of training, and he is happy when they finally move forward to start to fight. Until people die, that is.
There are side characters that are well fleshed out on both sides, and I think it made my comprehension of what is happening in some places in the world much better.

Writing style :

Blood and Ink is written in first person point of view, past tense. Some chapters are from Kadi’s perspective, others from Ali’s.

Feels :

All the feels with Blood and Ink. It really does convey both the hope and the despair very well. The righteousness of the leader, and the strong sense of belonging and history with the villagers.

Fave Quotes - (un)Conventional Bookviews

I love this sound of exploding bottles. It is the sound of purity and wisdom, the sound of God returning to Timbuktu.

Our very first song will be “the political song,” “Alla Le Ke.” It tells the story of two princes in a kingdom called Tumana. One brother stoe the chieftaincy from the other and banished him from the land. Eventually the rightful heir returned and the cieftaincy was given back to him.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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18 responses to “Review: Blood and Ink – Stephen Davies

  1. RO

    I don’t normally read YA, but this storyline sounds amazing, and the writer put a lot of work into being authentic. I definitely want to grab this one! Hugs…

  2. This sounds really good and very on topic for some of what we are seeing in the world right now. It is very hard to pick sides and even harder to change once one is picked. I’m very intrigued.

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