*I received this book on NetGalley in exchange for and honest review.*
Author: Eric Smith
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Publication Date: January 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Tattoos once were an act of rebellion. Now they decide your destiny the moment the magical Ink settles under your skin. And in a world where Ink controls your fate, Caenum can’t escape soon enough. He is ready to run from his family, and his best friend Dreya, and the home he has known, just to have a chance at a choice. But when he upsets the very Scribe scheduled to give him his Ink on his eighteenth birthday, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that sends the corrupt, magic-fearing government, The Citadel, after him and those he loves. Now Caenum, Dreya, and their reluctant companion Kenzi must find their way to the Sanctuary, a secret town where those with the gift of magic are safe. Along the way, they learn the truth behind Ink, its dark origins, and why they are the only ones who can stop the Citadel.
What drew me initially to this book was the beautiful and vibrant cover. I just love this cover. It’s bright, yet still has that sense of ominousness that runs through the whole book. This fantasy YA novel is a quick read about a world governed by a Citadel that controls it’s population through their tattoos. Magic is feared and any wielder is brutally hunted, tortured, and killed.
Becoming inked is a symbol of coming of age. It’s denotes your trade and your skills. It’s an exciting day…but not for Caenum. He’s dreading it. He doesn’t want to be told who and what to be. We learn that the tattoos enhance one’s natural abilities and then lock you into that career path. Anyone unmarked is shunned or is a criminal. The government’s control is wide spread. Smith builds an interesting world. I would have loved the book to be a little bit longer and introduce us to the citizens and their tattoos a little bit more. Dreya has beautiful tattoos of plants that live and die with the seasons. Others are covered in ruins.
Kenzi is a very complicated character that we only see really through Caenum’s narration. He’s thrust into a power that he doesn’t understand and that is extraordinarily difficult to control. His moods bounce around and he’s hard to read. He seems to have so many secrets and a complicated past. If this story continues on in a series (which I think it should), I’d love to see something written from his perspective. He’s arguably one of the most interesting characters in the story. Go Kenzi!
My only criticism really is that the speech wasn’t completely believable and the plot was somewhat predictable. It wasn’t hard to see where it was going. There were a few twists that I didn’t expect and I was pleasantly surprised to come across. But the dialogue wasn’t as satisfactory as I would like to see in such a cool story. Smith’s story is carried by a well-built fantasy world, and a unique and exciting idea. I’d love to know what my tattoo would be!