[Book Review + Author Interview] Curse of The Divine by Kim Smejkal

Name: Curse of the Divine
Author: Kim Smejkal
Book 2 of Ink in the Blood Series
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: 9th February, 2021

I am so excited to review this! Thank you so much Terminal Tours, Kim Smejkal, Netgalley and the publishers for this amazing book! It is just so so so beautiful!
Note: This is no way affects my review!

I”ve not provided a huge synopsis/little synopsis as I would not like to give away anything from book one. Thus, the below review will focus more on how all the elements in the book went for me and who will like it! If you are yet scared that you will get any spoilers, please directly jump to the author review.

Book Links: Goodreads || Amazon || Barnes & Noble || IndieBound

First things first, thank god I picked the first book when I got notified about being in a tour for the second one. I would have regretted waiting for a long time! *you give me pain Kim, but i love it.* So, if you are someone who like YA fantasy, this is I guess a medium fantastical world. (Not too high nor too soft. am i making any sense?) The book is lovely and I love how the characters have evolved through it. The pace of the book is fast and it is engaging as well. If you are a fan of magic related to some kind of element, tattoo magic here. I guess you shall give this one a try.

The characters are poured so intricately that once you start reading it, you cannot stop losing yourself into each of the characters. The backstory, the present story, the thoughts in the mind of each character will pop out and just play infront of your eyes each moment. I just keep telling this again and again that this is so good, I just loved it so much. Even though we have names for main characters here, all the characters in the book just seem to have their personal moments under Kim’s space. (yes, it is so beautiful. I would love to add that again.)

The plot continues where the book one ends but it just takes you on another heavy ride, and while the world seems to be same, for me, it just changed it all. Just when you think you predicted the plot right, Smejkal comes and destroys it. She has soon such a good job in portraying each scene, each line, each character.

Okay, so now moving onto the next part. It did fall flat at a few instances, like I’m thrilled, I’m thrilled, I’m thrilled and then oh no! but these things happened like what, once or twice! so i do not mind it at all! But, again, I LOVE IT!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I am going to end it here for now. I am going to review the whole series very soon. (If i remember that.)

Hello Kim! I hope you are having a great day! I am excited to have you on board for this interview. This is going to be so much fun!  (Musings of Souls)

  • How did ‘Ink in the blood’ come to your mind?

Thank you so much for having me on your wonderful blog! I’m so excited to talk about both Ink in the Blood and Curse of the Divine, and I’m thrilled to have a completed duology out in the world! As a reader, I love duologies: you get more time with characters you love without having to wait years for the series to finish. 🙂

The Ink in the Blood duology explores the opposing forces of truth versus lies and reality versus illusion. This core idea started everything, and it came from a conversation I had with my father about why he left Czechoslovakia in 1968. He said the worst thing about living under communism wasn’t the lack of power or freedom, but the constant flow of lies from those in charge. That got me thinking about the nature of lies, how powerful they can become, and what the world would look like if it consisted of nothing but lies.

  • Can you give a little information about you and the books to the new audience you have here on my website?

Well, I live on the West coast of Canada on a gorgeous, rain-drenched island, am obsessed with coffee, love all things fantasy, and have impressive collections of masks, books, and bird feathers. Ink in the Blood was my debut last year, and I’m thrilled to celebrate the follow-up—Curse of the Divine—here with you today!

The books follow Celia, an inkling who serves the crooked religion of Profeta by tattooing divine messages onto the skin of believers. In order to ultimately win her freedom, Celia has to topple a false religion, overcome a powerful deity, and survive finding out the truth about how her ink-magic works. It’s a series with tattoo magic, theatre, malicious deities, illusions, fierce friendships, found family, a slow-burn romance, manipulative villains, and one very special bee. 🙂

It’s also a very inclusive dark fantasy. The world-building includes tenors: visible auras that reflect gender identity. Orientation, identity, and expression are along fluid continuums, so expect a lot of queer representation!

  • What was the best part of your journey while writing Curse of the Divine?

I found writing Curse of the Divine very difficult. I always knew how the duology would end, but some days getting there felt impossible. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote some more. The best part of the journey was when I finally felt like I’d hit the right notes. It was immense relief and profound joy wrapped up together. I’m so proud of it now, and wouldn’t trade all that toil and head-desking for anything, because apparently that was a necessary part of my process!

  • What is magic for you? In reality and in imaginative way.

To me, real magic is recognizing something mundane as special. It’s in those moments of stillness when you notice—really notice—a pretty bird or someone’s amazing laugh. On rough days, I have trouble seeing it, but the fact that I know it’s there is very powerful.

I love fantasy stories because they create entirely different realities. How amazing is that? Writers put words to paper and create worlds, people, and places that don’t exist, and yet they become real as soon as someone reads about them. Stories are magic.

  • Your favorite book/books similar to Ink in the Blood Series.

I’m going to jump on the opportunity to shout about some of my favorite fantasy books of the last couple of years, many of which didn’t get nearly the love they deserve! The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis, The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees, Beware the Night by Jessika Fleck, the Market of Monsters trilogy by Rebecca Schaeffer, and Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters. All of them are amazing and should definitely be added to TBR piles!

Krupali: Definitely adding them to mine!

  • A lot of us love to know about writer updates, so what next book/books are you planning to write? If any!

The last year sucked a lot of my creative energy away in a swirling vortex of anxiety, (I’m sure many people can relate), but I’m slowly coming back to my writer self. I’m working on two different projects with my agent right now, but I can’t say too much about them other than they’re both young adult fantasies, and I’m very hopeful for their future!

  • Which is one magical creature/magical element you wish to add in your real life from your books?

I would bring Xinto to life if I could. My love, my baby. He is perfection, and I can’t wait for others to meet him in Curse of the Divine! I suspect he’ll be a universally loved character, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if a Xinto fan club started up.

Krupali: I LOVE HIM TOO!

  • A little note for your readers, if you please?

I know how precious free time is, so it’s truly an honor when someone decides they want to spend it with characters and a world I created. I hope readers enjoy the quirky brand of theatre in Ink in the Blood and the upside-down illusionscape of Wisteria Township in Curse of the Divine as much as I loved writing them.

The best part about being a writer is when a reader connects with your work. Writing is a solitary endeavor at the best of times (let alone during a pandemic) so I’m hungry for Curse to get out there and find some new friends. For queer readers in particular, I hope you enjoy all the ways I made you the stars of this adventure. 🙂 And if you love the books, please reach out and let me know! Trust me, it’s always appreciated.

  • How did ‘Celia’ and ‘Anya’ evolve as characters? Do they have any reflections from your life, any experiences?

Celia is jaded, fearful, and confused, but she’s also very creative, independent, and fiercely devoted to her friends. She was forced to grow up quickly, grief colors a lot of her life experience, and she is no stranger to pain and sacrifice. Over the course of the duology—and largely because of Anya’s level-headedness, patience, and love—Celia grows into her courage and self-confidence. I channeled a lot of my younger self into Celia’s character—that feeling of being a little lost but desperate to break free—and I relate to her the most, particularly her flaws.

  • What does your perfect writing space look like? If there is one. Make us imagine that. 

I’m so lucky to have a cozy, wonderful writing space set up in my home: a big desk, a family of precious plants to keep me company, bookshelves and a planning corkboard, even a small couch for brainstorming sessions (and naps, of course). HOWEVER, my office also has this magical door that looks like it shuts, but it is, in fact, revolving… there’s always someone coming in or out. So the only improvement I’d make to this space is to find a way to finally lock that quirky door…

I jest. I love my family and my high maintenance dog. It’s just loud and chaotic, and that isn’t the best for my concentration.

Thanks so much for inviting me to your space, and for all the wonderful questions!

Kim Smejkal writes dark fantasy for young adults and not-so-young adults, always with a touch of magic. Her debut novel, INK IN THE BLOOD, released from HMH in early 2020, and the sequel, CURSE OF THE DIVINE, which just got published on Feb. 9, 2021.

When she’s not writing, she’s homeschooling her kids, tutoring other people’s kids, and voraciously hoarding any precious alone time. Though she grew up on the Canadian prairies, she now lives with her family on beautiful, muse-satiating Vancouver Island. She is represented by Daniel Lazar of Writers House.

Follow the blog tour here:

Oof! That was lovely, was it not? If you enjoyed, do tell me in the comments! Also, I hope you all are doing great and hope you and your family are having a happy and healthy time! Bu-byeee!!!

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