Book Review – ink

ink – Alice Broadway
Genre – Teen/Fantasy
Excitable Rating – 7/10

This book reads almost like a fairytale, around which much of its plot actually revolves, and is also why the genre I’ve chosen is Teen rather than YA.  While I think older readers will enjoy this book it’s totally suitable for readers as young as 12 (or younger if advanced readers).

ink is set in the town of Saintstone, of undisclosed location (fairytale!), in which everyone gets regular tattoos cataloguing their lives both government issued ones and personal – SO AWESOME! Broadway has created a society in which everything in a person’s life is inked onto their skin.  The narrative is told through the eyes of teen on the cusp of adulthood Leora, whose father has just passed away; though this is not something considered so terrible in Saintstone as the aforementioned catalogue of tattoos are flayed from the body and bound into a Skin Book (slightly eww but also cool?) which the family keeps so they can forever read the story of their relative and they therefore won’t be forgotten.

As the book begins with Leora as a teen moving into adulthood, we initially see this world through the naive eyes of a child and as the narrative progresses more of the drawbacks of a government able to permanently view of all of your life choices becomes apparent.  Leora’s complete indoctrination into her society’s beliefs at the beginning of the narrative being slowly stripped away as she grapples with grief for the loss of her father and fear of him being forgotten is a powerful way of talking about mortality and also how much control government’s should have over their citizens.

All fairytales must have a villain, in ink there are the blanks.  These are people without tattoos, to Leora terrifying creatures of nightmare from her bedtime stories; to the reader they are the Katniss Everdeens and Tris Priors – people who refuse to be categorised and controlled.  Broadway’s subversion of this by giving us a viewpoint from within the confines of the society rather than as an Outsider makes for an exciting read.


Exciting Features:

  • Female lead who has stretch marks and talks about having stretch marks!
  • Includes sections of fairytales from their culture, though they have a slightly more Brothers Grimm than Disney feel to them.
  • Tattoos can be “read”, Leora has this gift and can read the story behind a person’s tattoo
  • No distracting lovey-dovey stuff, just some mild crushing. No dystopian earth-shattering obstacle-conquering love here my friends (refreshing, no?)

I could talk about this book quite a lot.  If you too, like me, enjoy a bit of dystopia mixed up with some fairytale with a smattering of kick-ass tattoos then you shall also rather enjoy this book!

 – There is no picture for this post purely because I lent the book to a colleague as soon as I finished it! –

Thanks for reading!
~ The Excitable Feminist


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