eARC Review – Curse of the Divine

Title: Curse of the Divine (Ink in the Blood #2)

Author: Kim Smejkal

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication date: February 9th, 2021

448 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Return to the world of inklings, tattoo magic, and evil deities as Celia uncovers the secrets of the ink in order to stop Diavala once and for all. This eagerly anticipated sequel to Ink in the Blood is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Wicked Saints.

Celia Sand faced Diavala and won, using ink magic to destroy the corrupt religion of Profeta that tormented her for a decade. But winning came with a cost. Now Celia is plagued with guilt over her role in the death of her best friend. When she discovers that Diavala is still very much alive and threatening Griffin, the now-infamous plague doctor, Celia is desperate not to lose another person she loves to the deity’s wrath.

The key to destroying Diavala may lie with Halycon Ronnea, the only other person to have faced Diavala and survived. But Halcyon is dangerous and has secrets of his own, ones that involve the ink that Celia has come to hate. Forced to choose between the ink and Diavala, Celia will do whatever it takes to save Griffin—even if it means making a deal with the devil himself.


Sequel to Ink in the Blood, Curse of the Divine directly follows the events of the first book and the aftermath. The Plague Doctor and Celia are looking for a way to fully defeat Diavala once and for all. Their ideas taken them to find Halcyon, the only other person rumored to survive Diavala’s Touch. But Halcyon’s home is a bit strange, and the more they learn about him and the ink magic, the less they know.

The concepts in this duology are very unique and delve into magic and religion pretty deeply. The magic of tattoos is super interesting and the duo has a dark element to it that isn’t always found in YA fantasy. Celia is very much experiencing some issues from the ending of book one, which was interesting to read and see how she reacted to it.

However, I found this book to be incredible confusing. The magic system is expanded much further than it was in the first book, but I didn’t feel like it was explained very well and clearly. I had a hard time following the plot, and there was added POV’s with the plague doctor and Diavala that broke up the flow of the book. There is also little romance, similar to the first book – which isn’t a negative thing, just wanted to note it.

Again, the concept behind this series is fascinating, and there is definitely an audience for this series but I’m not sure it’s me! I enjoyed the first book more than the second, those by the last 20% I was much more invested and understanding more. I just wish the whole book read like the last parts.

Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

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