This Review contains spoilers.
“The past doesn’t have to define you, Leora. Your mistakes don’t have to be for ever. There’s redemption. There’s always redemption.”
Series: The Skin Books
Published: 2017, by Scholastic Ltd
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
Contains: Violence, Death, Slight Gore
‘Ink’ is set in a dystopian world, where the population is split into ‘marked’ and ‘blanks’. The Marked are branded in intricate tattoos which read their lifes, from achievements to failures, and fear those with bare skin; the blanks. The story follows Leora, a girl just leaving school, as she pursues her dream to be an Inker (tattooist), while also trying to clear her deceased father’s name.
Admittedly, I’ve been putting off reading this book for a while, it being low in my to-read list, as the lack of information in the blurb reminded me of classic ‘soulmates-with-matching-tattoos’ fanfiction. However, I regret not picking it up sooner; I adore this book.
The story itself flows beautifully, beginning with the events leading up to her father’s death, and immediately you can see the connection between father and daughter, which only lured me further after his passing to witness the development of Leora up to the end. The Protagonist is one of the main reasons for loving this book, as Leora – such a beautiful name! – is strong and incredibly relatable at times; she doesn’t appear even mildly interested in romance until near the end, her entire concentration being on her future which is refreshing compared to other YA books. Her friendship with Verity was also wonderful to read, having been friends with another for a large portion of their lives and there wasn’t much need for a too detailed introduction, which I loved, and her strongwilled character was relatable and by far one of my favourties from the book. Another character I feel is worth mentioning is Obel, the inker, who’s secret is finally answered towards the end, yet I still feel like there’s so much more to be said about him; his mystery throughout the book kept me turning the pages desperate for more.
Between some cliffhangered chapters there’s little fables which are part of the world’s histroy, which I loved reading through. I’ve always had an interest in fairytales and upon realising their importance to the story I fell in love with the book more. Each tale that is recited suits the current plot, or foreshadows something in the future, and although I found it entertaining to work out for myself, I appreciated how it was explained by Leora soon after.
I don’t think I could complete this review without mentioning the beautiful cover, which is what initially made me purchase this in the first place, regardless of how little infromation was given. The fact that the patterns decorating it begin to make sense whilst reading is such a clever idea to me, and I appreciate how much thought went into the design. There’s also the cutely drawn map at the beginning of the book, which initially put me off as I felt it was to be a complex book if a map was necessary, yet it’s the complete opposite. I didn’t have to look back to it once, yet loved ‘reminiscing’ afterwards.
Overall, ‘Ink’ is a fast pace, easy read which I’d recommend to everyone. The characters are believable, the plot is gripping (and unfinished; I can’t wait for the next installment) and it centres around the theme of tattooing; what else could you want?