Published by Bloomsbury Spark on January 20, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade & Childrens, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
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.
Eric Smith takes you on a high-octane fantasy adventure, perfect for anyone who has dreamed of being different… only to discover that fate is more than skin deep.
Good concepts with a light execution
Inked introduces a fantasy world where people are supposed to be tattooed with magic ink on the day they come of age. The tattoo they get locks them into a certain job and path in life. Caenum however doesn’t want to be inked because he worries about what ink he will get. He’s of the opinion that how can the ink know what he should do with his life when he doesn’t even know himself what he wants to do. So he decides to run away and become one of the unprinted (which is considered to be the lowest dregs of society). Things keep stopping him from leaving and when the scribes finally come to town terrible things happen. Caenum, his best friend Dreya and a scribe apprentice Kenzi have to run from the townsfolk. This is all because Kenzi, who has been a big jerk to the townsfolk until he needs help, he is a special kind of person – a conduit for magic – the government wants to drain him of that magic and Caenum’s grandmother insists they take Kenzi to a place that is supposedly safe for magic users. Once things get going the three of them are on the move for much of the book and are in for a lot of surprises. The story and worldbuilding are all interesting but not as deep or engaging as I would have expected for the target age range of this book.
Young adult versus middle grade
I read a lot of young adult as well as the occasional middle grade novel and I personally felt there was an age discrepancy here where the vibe of the book was concerned. The characters weren’t as deep and the world building and storytelling style was all very light. While it was Ann enjoyable story I wasn’t pulled in as much as is hoped, but because it wasn’t a cool story but because my expectation was for that of an older young adult novel and what I read felt like the other end of the age range. If you are a young adult reader I would ignore the fact that the book description says Caenum is 18, because for the bulk of the book I felt more like these characters were 14. That way your expectations are more in line. It did make for super quick reading and one that I think my young nephews would enjoy.
Definitely a great book for tweens or young teen readers who need an introduction to fantasy fiction.