Review - Ink by Alice Broadway.
Ink by Alice Broadway.
Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever.
When Leora's father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life.
But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.
Ink is a book that asks a lot of questions.
What if everything we did, everything we were, was tattooed onto our skin. Our names, our ages, our education, careers and crimes?
What if our skin bore a record of our every achievement, every mistake, every relationship, everything we valued?
What if you could read someone's life story on their bodies, when they walked past you on the street?
What if the most important thing in our lives is how we are judged on our deaths, and whether or not we deserve to be remembered?
What if someone chose not to be marked? How unknowable would they be? How unsettling would that be?
In Ink, Alice Broadway has come up with a unique concept and built a fascinating society around it. I recognised elements of Egyptian death mythology in there, and there's some really interesting symbolism that I'd love to unpick sometimes. But most of it feels really fresh and new. It felt rather macabre at first, but it is described so eloquently that I soon came to see past that, and to get that core concept and to see how it all fitted together in this strange little place.
Leora, the main character, is fairly naive throughout most of the story, and at times this became a little frustrating. It felt like she couldn't grasp what felt really obvious to me as a reader. However there were twists and turns that I didn't see coming either, and by the end there was a delightful moral ambiguity. Like Leora, I'm no longer sure what is right or wrong, who are the good guys and who are the bad.
Ink asks a lot of questions. It answers some of them. It gave me a lot to think about, and it left me anticipating more.
Ink is the first volume of a planned trilogy, and I am really looking forward to exploring more of Leora's world, and getting some more answers.
The second volume, Spark, is out on 5th April 2018.
Also, that cover really is absolutely stunning and it fits the novel perfectly, with its intricate tattoo designs in the shiniest copper I've ever seen on a book. I can't wait to see the cover of Spark!
I'm giving Ink four and a half moons.