'Ink & Arrows' is one of those titles that just grabs your heart with both hands, unapologetically, right at the start of the story and then never lets go.
It's no exaggeration to say I loved, LOVED this story, the richness of the main character and her romantic interest to be, and the odds against them even surviving. Let alone, doing so together.
Rea is a member of a tribe called the Suveri, absolutely loathed by the people in the city neighboring her small home. Her tribe specializes in tattoos with magical properties, both highly sought after and simultaneously scorned as something hideous. Sebestyén is a decorated General, a warrior, and a man destined to be Emperor of the very people who hate her kind. And she hates him.
Though Rea blames his kind for the death of her father, they strike a bargain. In exchange for teaching him the tattooing artistry of her people, he saves her from a dire circumstance and agrees to fulfill three wishes for her.
Their relationship is complicated, rife with conflict. They both harbor ideas of the other going into the agreement that may or may not be accurate and while she lives a life mostly free of restraints, his is quite the opposite.
Admittedly, I fell for him instantly. Though he was sometimes standoffish, there's also just a sense of rather adorable wickedness about him when we first meet him. The more she rails against him, the more amusing he seems to find her. And fine.. fair.. characters like that are a bit of a weakness for me.
The story is beautifully written, the dialogue feels easy, and honestly.. I was emotional and invested through the entire book. I have no idea if there will be more. I can barely find any information about the author, but that just intrigues me further.
I have only one complaint.. and upon looking back at the rest of the story, it's a small one. There's a point where things wrap up rather suddenly.. like the author just decided.. "that's it, I've done enough." We're sort of forwarded through a series of events that impact everyone pretty dramatically and just given a neat little ending. I really feel the events were important enough we should have experienced some of them.. but there's just.. 'decision' - 'time passes' - 'end.'
Nonetheless, I can tell you.. I hope there will be more. I want to see what the future holds for the people in the world of Ink & Arrows. I want to read more work by this author and only yesterday will be soon enough. No later.