Ink It S Twenty Years Since The Evenfall Swept Across The Vellum And The Bitmites Took Reality Apart, Twenty Years Since Phreedom Messenger Disappeared Into The Wilderness And Seamus Finnan Was Imprisoned In His Own Past Twenty Years Of Chaos But The Dukes, The Remnants Of The Covenant, Still Cling To Power In Their Enclaves Of Order In The Bitmite Devastated Wilderness In Their Havens In The HinterAcross The Folds Of Time And Space, Though, Rogues And Rebels Are Rising Up Against The Empire From A Mediaeval Fortress Where Wandering Mummers Stage A Harlequin Play Based On Euripides S The Bacchae And Performed In The Cant To Kentigern Where Another Harlequin, Jack Flash, Wreaks Havoc On A Fascist State That Thought Him Dead From A Paris Where Jack Carter And Seamus Finnan, Heroes Of The International Brigades, Seek To Rewrite History To A Berlin Where A Very Different Jack Seeks To Save The World From A History He Has Helped Make Real Locked In An Eternal Battle Of Chaos And Order, It Seems Everyone Must Play Their Part Now, As Rebel Or Tyrant, Hero Or Villain It Is, Quite Simply, Stunning And The Most Powerful Debut Novel I Ve Read Since Susanna Clarke S J Onathan Strange And Mr Norrell Forbidden Planet International

Hal Duncan is the author of Vellum, which was a finalist for both the William H Crawford Award and the Locus Award for Best First Novel He is a member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle He lives in the West End of Glasgow.

[Reading] ➿ Ink Author Hal Duncan –
  • Hardcover
  • 600 pages
  • Ink
  • Hal Duncan
  • English
  • 07 February 2017
  • 9781405052092

10 thoughts on “Ink

  1. says:

    Wow This book is really good.To try to sum up the plot of Ink and its precursor Vellum would take up much space and time than I care to expend But in a nutshell The world has ended, reality has shattered, and seven people try to put together pieces of themselves that are shattered and scattered across reality while they try to find the mythical real Book that is the map key to the universe In a nutshell.Ink is one of the difficult simply to read narration jumps back and forth between characters and plot lines, all of which revolve around similar characters with same names Keeping the Jacks, Guys, and Joeys, etc straight was difficult always and impossible a number of times However, confusion has a purpose What emerges from the jumble of narrative strings is not the story of many characters, but of the same characters in the same roles, Jack the hero, Joey the traitor enemy, Anna the warrior Duncan creates archetypes out of these characters and after a while the reader can see these defined roles in whichever narration is being told There is so much to be taken from this book that I m not going to write about here It s a challengeing book, no question, but one of the best I ve read in years.

  2. says:

    VELLUM, the first book in this series, was my favorite book of the year and I was dying for INK to come out But while there were many wonderful moments in this book, it just couldn t keep me engaged I cannot live by meta character alone, I guess I m sorry to say, it s one of the few books that after months of slogging through it, I gave up That s right Didn t finish it Sorry So many seeds of brilliance, so much potential, but far too indulgent.

  3. says:

    I d like to say that if you arrived here without reading the first book in the series, Vellum then you should go back and read that to avoid being confused But I m not sure it really matters In fact, I m not even sure if reading them out of order would give you a markedly different effect than the right way round.For those who made it through the first book, you probably understand about as much as I do The unkin read angels use the Cant to rewrite reality, which is overall termed the Vellum and contains much than our world Most of the unkin are derived from ancient myths and would like things to stay the way they are There s about to be a war and a group of fresh unkin would rather stay out of it Those people for the most part happen to be our main characters, who appear over and over again in different incarnations across reality, generally suffering variations of the same fates and straining to achieve a goal that might be freedom Or Phreedom , which is literally the name of one of the characters.The first book was an unholy hodgepodge of pretty much every myth that Duncan could let his local academic library get him access to, all filtered through the story s sensibilities Unfortunately for all of us, that sensibility often than not bordered on outright incoherence The story kept jumping from reality to reality, giving the characters slightly different names but not giving us much to hang onto either plot wise or emotionally Like a KISS concert set inside a Baz Luhrmann film, it was just too much of everything at once The craft and the passion were there but after a while it felt blugeoning than anything else.Things improve slightly here Not by much, but slightly The characters are a little established, although if you ve forgotten anyone s motivations you re out of luck because not much gets reexplained The idea of the war seemed to have been pushed to the backburner, or at least Duncan isn t interested in openly describing it Strangely, it winds up paring things down slightly and instead of forcing us to frantically chase after myth drenched scenarios like a Whack a Mole game set to the wrong speed we re only really focusing on a couple scenarios at a time.Unfortunately its not clear what those scenarios have to do with the main plot, or anything at all You can t even be sure there is a main plot any The opening scenes alternate with a play given to a Duke and a princess that appears to mirror the action in the other scenes but beyond that its not certain what you re supposed to draw from it There s a plot that seems to be set in a V for Vendetta type future where the Futurists won and England is fascist There s a long interrogation scene that seems to repeat itself with subtle variations every time There s a kind of Indiana Jones type adventure going on somewhere else There s Cold Men There s not a dance number but that s probably an oversight What you do have are a lot of questions and a lot of answers but you can t be sure that you re getting the right answers to the right questions.So having to only follow like three or four plots simplifies matters, especially as he lets the plots string out longer so you can settle into them for a bit But instead of feeling like smaller portions of a larger war, it comes across as a series of pastiches for all the stuff Duncan wants to write about Just about all of them are well done, although the one that seems the nearest to his heart is the strange cross between a Michael Moorcock Jerry Cornelius story and that Alan Moore Lustbusters backup from American Flagg with the strange Wolfman Jack type commentary happening throughout, it has the most moving parts but like all the others its opaque as to how much of it is just mirroring the overarcing plot.The downside to the pastiches is that after a while it makes you miss the hyperactive approach of the first volume without any sense that we re going somewhere definite with these the scenarios go on and on and on Having made their point as an alternate versions of the reality we know they just keep on chugging along gradually taking over the book We keep waiting for a war to start but then keep asking ourselves if this is the war itself or merely its aftermath.If the characters were stronger than maybe it would help but, again, we aren t given much to grasp with them Some of the characters get stronger scenes than others and an extended sequence in the epilogue gives us a better idea of what a focused book might have looked like with everyone on the same page and even the epilogue overstays its welcome, acting instead as a remix of some works by Virgil but with variations of the characters scattered here and there working toward goals that aren t easy to infer you may find yourself wishing after hundreds of pages that some satisfying culmination may come of this.It doesn t If anything there s even less of a sense here that the characters are struggling toward a goal or working through a conflict as much as Duncan is writing all the stuff he ever wanted to write and cramming it into one book Like Vellum , its all interesting and erudite and to his credit never comes across as smugly clever clever the way that early Neal Stephenson can make me feel but either I m getting ossified in my old age with navigating complex plots in his defense I did have a couple rough weeks at work or he s so far over my head that astronauts are calling him in as a potential UFO Normally I m a sucker for weirdness or tapping into the primal sources of myths but boy, whatever frequency this one is broadcasting on isn t one that I m able to receive.

  4. says:

    Trying to stay on top of the plot of Ink as it fractures reality, space and different versions of these characters across the vellum is like trying to teach bees to juggle ham whilst also eating cake Crazy, possibly quite dangerous and delicious.The language, ideas and characters carry everything with the plots being dragged kicking and screaming along for the ride Allusions and references abound like giant literary abounding things and time is split asunder amidst the chaos.This and Vellum, the prior novel in this duology could possibly do with a spot focus and some editing the ending does feel like it fizzles out like a slightly disappointing firework, otherwise enormous mythical fun is to be had here.

  5. says:

    I gave the first book in this series 4 stars On its own, I would have rated it about 3.5, but I rounded up because I really admired the vision of the book, and I had high hopes that this second book would bring together the scattered ideas and shape them into a cohesive whole I guess that happened, but it ended up being a whole that I really didn t enjoy I think a big part of my problem was pacing This book felt tremendously slow to me I think part of that was just the style its written in It s a very jumpy style Like the first book, each chapter is divided into a large number of much smaller sections, averaging from one page to maybe five Maybe I was just less tolerant of it in this book, but it drove me nuts There would be a section of story from one timeline, a snippet of the same story being told in a different style, and then a snapshot of another timeline, and then it would cycle back through This completely kept me from building up any momentum I felt like I just slogged from section to section This book was also really focused on Jack Jack is my least favorite character in this duology, to be honest, so that wasn t a thrill The characters that I liked a bit better, like Phreedom and Finnan, had a much lesser role Phreedom was the target of a lot of disapproval from the other characters, as well, which It s not like anyone else makes good decisions Why should she get all the criticism from the others for her bad decisions And Finnan s story was pretty much completely disconnected from the rest of the book, so although I liked it a bit than the rest, it felt like a waste of time when all I wanted to do was be done with the book Repetition was another big problem here for me I understand that repetition is very much a key ingredient of the premise of the book, but there was just too much of it I felt like I was reading the same storylines over and over again, which got very old Plus, this is a pretty bleak story, so that made it even harder to read, and I certainly didn t really enjoy doing so Other minor quibbles All the sex All the drugs So casually, so mindlessly Bleh It was a bit much for me I don t dislike either of those things, but when it feels gratuitous, I hate it There s just something in my basic character that takes sex and drugs pretty seriously, so it really bothers me when they re overused like this Also, that everything builds on different pieces of ancient literature that I ve never read and have no interest in reading My lack of knowledge probably did not help my enjoyment of the book at all I hate when I can feel points whooshing over my head.These things aside, I still admire the vision of the books It s a bold idea I just think that the execution was lacking.

  6. says:

    Originally published on my blog here in November 2009.Book two of The Book of All Hours continues in the same vein as book one, Vellum Like that, and you ll like this Find that incomprehensible which is quite possible , and this will be the same Note that it is a while since I read Vellum, so my description of how the two books relate together might not be entirely accurate The Book of All Hours the book within the book describes, controls, or perhaps is, the multitude of universes In the aftermath of the catastrophic Evenfall, chaos rules now, everything is fragmented, yet some things remain constant between the different versions of reality Jack Carter is a revolutionary, everywhere, connected to the metaphysics of the Book But what is he trying to achieve Is he even dead or alive The story is extremely fragmented, told in an exceptionally allusive style Michael Moorcock s Jerry Cornelius meets Finnegans Wake References run from pop culture The Prisoner, the Sex Pistols, etc to ancient literature a performance of the Bacchae as political satire by a commedia dell arte troupe forms the structure of a long section of the novel, and one of Virgil s Eclogues is used in a similar fashion in the epilogue to folklore Puck, Reynard the fox Theological discussion rubs shoulders with a thriller set in the thirties Middle East Overall, it is a scintillating cascade of ideas, images, and styles.Like other books of this kind, however, the narrative is hard to follow, particularly if you are a reader who wants to have a linear plot It is also true that parts of the novel work better than others At least, it appeared to be the case to me, both here and in Vellum, but is could just mean that my concentration levels fluctuated It is likely to make sense a second time around, and a repeat read is definitely something I will do.In summary, The Book of All Hours will not be everyone s cup of tea, but I liked it.

  7. says:

    Ink is supposed to be a sequel and conclusion to Vellum Towards the end of Vellum , the angel Metatron combines the magic of the Cant the secret first language that s been used to write the titular Book of All Hours with the semi sentient nanotech bitmites in a bid to ensure the dominance of the Covenant a group of angels set on making sure the magic of the Cant is controlled and its use is restricted Once the bitmites are loose, though, they tear reality apart in an attempt to grant humanity its unconscious wishes Ink has little direct continuity with the events in the Vellum The familiar characters emerge eventually, and the beginning is an an allegorical re telling of a classic Roman play, combined with the Harlequinade Eventually, a meta narrative emerges that sees a group of unkin struggle across the various dimensions of what s left of the Vellum in an attempt to do something that may put the multiverse together again Maybe The neo futuristic plots from Vellum get a lot coverage in Ink , and trying to somehow piece those together in a semi coherent narrative is arguably the best part of the experience That being said, overall I found the book to be a difficult, poorly paced read It s an exercise so than a pure enjoyment read Things to pick up towards the end of the second part, and the epilogue is a type of thing that lets everyone draw their own conclusions as to what they ve just read It very much feels like Duncan tried to do a meta narrative similar to the Cornelius Quartet and I m not sure if he really pulled it off.

  8. says:

    This is definitely the best pair of books I ve read in a long time It was a lot of fun learning to read the parallel stories throughout the first book until you began to understand the idea of time as a 3D construct And then in Ink, you have to start thinking of it as a fractured structure which still holds a formidable sort of order I loved the characters, and how their plot lines come together in the end It constantly read like a different book than the 50 pages right before it, and I loved it for that The only downside for me was that they didn t start using my favorite character as a focus until the second book The book had a consistent six characters in Vellum, but it felt like he needed to expand to seven for Ink So an earlier minor character was given a serious revamp, which felt very strange The book is, at it s core, about four people with three sidekicks sort of I just happened to like two of the sidekicks a lot .Overall, these were two amazing books.

  9. says:

    This book was a dense, twisty, wonderful conclusion of Duncan s The Book of all Hours The group of friends from Vellum deals with the aftermath, just trying to get back what they had, or get something new or both or. well, yeah Twisty, like I said These books are worth the brain power necessary.

  10. says:

    Too long blahblah see Vellum review.

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