Bookish · Historical Fiction · Islam · Muslim · YA

Book Review of Blood & Ink: When Romeo & Juliet meets Terrorism. (Are you cringing yet?)

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Basic Keywords and Intro:

  • Romeo & Juliet meets Terrorism.( Are you cringing yet?)
  • A Historical Fiction Novel: The 2012 coup in Timbuktu, Mali
  • Ali belongs to the “Defenders of Faith” movement
  • Ali begins to fall in love with Kadi
  • What would he chose? Love or “ Faith”


Points to address:

  1. Where do I even start? Oh, read this quote from the book

“He was a handsome young man and fiercely intelligent. He talked very elegantly about purity and law. But then he began to talk about killing. “Killing infidels?” “Not just infidels. Muslims.”

  • This statement implies that if only “Infidels” were being killed, then it would have been okay. This is absolutely untrue, but let me explain more. 
  • By doing that, the author categorized Muslims into 2 groups, terrorists & “Normal” people.
  • That is bullshit, but I will play along. 
  •  “Normal people” discovered that “Defenders of Faith”/ terrorists weren’t only going to kill infidels, but they are going kill Muslims as well
  • . This implies that even “Normal People” kind of Muslims approve of killing “infidels”. This means that Muslims are basically violent, shitty people.
  • That is why I am going to take sentences from the book, and explain why is that incorrect.

2. The 2nd part of the quote mentioned above.

“Not just infidels. Muslims. He told me that anyone who commits adultery should be put to death, as should anyone who abandons the five daily prayers.”

  • This is another classic example of when non-muslims look at the surface of the ocean , then I assume they know everything. Like no, you need to dive in to understand what  you are talking about.
  • So the surface here is: Muslims who commit adultery should be put to death.
  • Dive in: There is criteria that has to be fulfilled  in order for that to happen.
  1. The person committing Adultery is married, so they are cheating on their partner.
  2. There should be three witnesses.
  3. Those three witnesses must have seen the entire intercourse, up until climaxing.
  4. They saw it with their own eyes, so things like video and pictures don’t count.
  5. If only one of the three witnesses wanted to report that, while the other two didn’t, then that person shouldn’t report what he,she, they saw.
  6. If that person goes and reports, then that person will be punished.
  • Now with the praying part. Praying is an essential part of being a muslim, and if you don’t, you are probably going to be punished for it. Punished by GOD, and not another human being.

3. Terrorism….. has no religion.

  • I know that many terrorism groups claim to be murdering and spreading chaos in the name of God, but all of the religions that I know of are against killing innocent people.
  • Here are some Islamic laws that should be followed during war: 


  • Those are forbidden even during War. WAR, where all leaders claim that in War, all is fair.
  • I know that people who kill in the name of God do exist, but those aren’t muslims. They might claim that they are, but they aren’t.
  • The moment you kill someone innocent, you are no longer a Muslim
  • I feel like I need to mention this in my review because of that statement:

“But then he began to talk about killing. “Killing infidels?” “Not just infidels. Muslims.

  • So yes, I know that what happened in  Timbuktu was an act of terrorism. But since neither the author nor his “ normal people” characters tried to explain that, I had to do it myself.

4. “If a boy is thinking about proposing marriage to a girl, he is allowed to look at her unveiled, to help him decide, I mean.” This is something that one of boys of the “ Defenders of Faith” told Ali, quoting something that Jabir ibn Abdullah did.

  • I looked for this everywhere, but didn’t find anything. If you know its source, then please let me know.
  • For now, here is what I know. Men in Islam are supposed to always lower their gaze when a woman passes by, which means no staring at her face, body figure, etc.
  • Many Muslims; however, don’t do that. 
  • So if someone wants to marry a girl, he is allowed to look at her. If she is veiled, she stays  veiled. He can look at her face, and whatever else that is showing.
  • In Blood and ink, being veiled also included covering the face. If that is the case, then yes, she can reveal her face, but let me just say that covering the face isn’t a MuST DO thing.

5. “ Fatimata puts her hands over her eyes as if in prayer. “Timbuktu is Muslim,” she shouts, “but the women of Timbuktu do not walk veiled!”

  • I understand that if someone is forcing something on you, they might do something like that, but that statement just gave me bad vibes.
  • Here is the picture that the author painted. Basically “ normal people” muslims are not extremist, so they are anti-hijab. As is in modernized muslims don’t wear hijab, which is super lame. 
  • No matter where you go, you will always find some Muslims who are veiled, and some Muslims who don’t wear the hijab.
  • Wearing or not wearing the Hijab doesn’t make you any less of a Muslim.


Things I liked:

  • Learning about the 2012 coup that happened in Timbuktu, Mali.


Things I didn’t like:

  • How the story implies that Muslims are bad news.
  • How a story about Muslims was written and shared from the Western World perspective.
  • The Love vs Faith concept.
  • How the book was marketed as an educational book for children.


And I am finally done!!! I have been procrastinating reading and reviewing this book for a long time. I glad that I am finally done with that!

I received an eARC in exchange with an honest review.




9 thoughts on “Book Review of Blood & Ink: When Romeo & Juliet meets Terrorism. (Are you cringing yet?)

  1. I have not read this book, but I think this is indicative of limited research. The problem is fiction takes precedence over facts in novels. Sounds like a waste of good idea though. 😒😩

    Liked by 2 people

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