‘… they roar their approval – not joy at my return, but jubilation at Mayor Longsight standing above me, above them, ruling over his people. A man, made divinity.’
In the final novel of Alice Broadway’s Ink trilogy, Leora Flint is at the mercy of Saintstone’s leader, Mayor Longsight, having returned from Featherstone at the end of Spark. Longsight has miraculously survived the assignation attempt at the end of the second novel, and is increasingly confident in his hold over the people of Saintstone. But his return from the dead has raised questions, not least for the town’s Storyteller, Mel, and, like all seemingly-benign despots, his power begins to look more precarious.
Broadway doesn’t waste time getting new readers up to speed, thankfully – a knowledge of events in Ink and Spark is necessary. Leora is gaining a clear sense of the corruption of leaders, and the sense that stories can all too easily be adapted to fit a political agenda. Notions of truth and transparency are explored in all their complex details, and we’re acutely aware of how vulnerable those who oppose the accepted narrative can become. The use of false information feels particularly pertinent.
This is an extremely satisfying conclusion to an excellent YA trilogy. Broadway’s world is vividly drawn, and she uses her world of the blanks and the marked to explore issues of identity and ideology very cleverly. The power of storytelling is once again placed centre-stage, allowing her readers to consider the way we use stories to create our own sense of the world around us. Leora is a complex, brave hero and one very welcome in today’s world. I’ve loved all the novels, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this brilliant author does next.