Book Review: Mist, Metal, and Ash by Gwendolyn Clare



Worlds collide in this thrilling sequel to the epic, imaginative, acclaimed fantasy Ink, Iron, and Glass.

In an alternate 19th-century Italy, Elsa has an incredible gift: she can craft new worlds with precise lines of script written in books. But political extremists have stolen the most dangerous book ever scribed―one that can rewrite the Earth itself.

Now Elsa must track down the friend who betrayed her and recover the book before its destructive power is unleashed. Can she handle the secrets she’ll uncover along the way―including the ones hiding in her own heart?




I really loved this sequel to Ink, Iron, and Glass. It was just a ton of fun with non-stop action and adventure, and danger levels that kept the tension high throughout the story.

First off, the world-building in this duology is really fun and unique. I love the idea of the pazzerellones and the three different ways those magical talents work. You have scriptologists who are able to write worlds in books and make them real, you have mechanists who are able to create wonderful devices, and alchemists who are able to make potions and such. Then there are the rare folks who can do them all. Not everyone has these talents and some people see them as a great resource while others view them as mad scientists who are a detriment to society. Our group of pazzerellones live in an alternate version of the 19th century Italian city states, so there’s an interesting mix of the fantastic layered with the historical.

In the first book I had a bit of trouble connecting with the characters, but not so here. I was fully invested in each of the pov character’s story lines and rooting for them even when they were seemingly working at odds to one another. I loved how each of the characters had their own very distinct motivations. Also, I thought I would be mad at Leo, after his decision at the end of the last book, but it’s clear why he did what he did. I also love the Elsa explained to him exactly why that was an idiotic thing to do. Yes, Elsa can be impulsive and stubborn, but actually, in this book, she’s shown a lot of growth and she’s made some really good decisions and planning–she’s really come into her own and I love that! Portia had a great story arc too. I would have liked a little more time with Faraz, but the story didn’t have a lot of room for extraneous stuff and his story line and personal growth wasn’t as important to the overall story here, unlike Leo, Elsa, and Portia. Plus, we had new characters like Aris (Leo’s truly mad scientist brother) and a couple of others who joined the cast this time around. And can we talk about Aris for a second? Because, wow. This is a character I should truly hate, he’s been a party to horrific things, but he’s also….sometimes a lot of fun? I really love it when I can feel a tad conflicted about a villain.

The pacing of the book was fantastic. There was plenty of action and between that planning and plotting while on the move. Once Elsa arrived where she was needed to be according to plan, there was a tiny bit of ‘hurry up and wait’ mode, while searching for the edit book that Leo had given to his father, but that was cut nicely with Aris being Aris–unpredictable and quite, quite mad. The stakes were high here, with the edit book being able to alter the real world and having fallen into the wrong hands. I thought the level of tension throughout the story was great–everyone knew what they were fighting for.

Overall, I really loved this sequel. I also really loved this world. I do hope the author continues to write more in this world, even if there isn’t going to be a direct sequel to these books. 4.5/5 stars.

16 thoughts on “Book Review: Mist, Metal, and Ash by Gwendolyn Clare

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I know I had a couple of issues with the first one (some insta-love) but overall the world building is really fascinating and I thought he sequel was fantastic. It’s only a duology and they’re quick reads so not too hard to fit in if you want to check them out. 🙂

  1. evelynreads1 says:

    I keep doubting about picking up ink, iron and glass, this review really makes me want to pick it up 😊


  2. marydrover says:

    I loved how well all of their flaws were shown, but also all of their growth! I felt like a lot of the characters in this were so much more well-rounded this time, and it was so exciting to read. And I agree with you about Aris! I kept getting ready to hate him, but then kind of enjoying his devious plans a little. He was a lot of fun.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, too!

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