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.
It’s trope checklist time! Let’s see…
- Protagonist on the cusp of adulthood? ✓
- Tragedy on the day protagonist comes of age? ✓
- Protagonist has special ability? ✓
- Protagonist learns that the special system of their world is secretly evil? ✓
- Protagonist learns that he is the son of an Important Person? ✓
- “Surprise” twist of someone you wouldn’t think be evil turns out to be evil? ✓
- Character randomly gets thrust role of leadership on him and everyone says “Damn, you’re a good leader?” ✓
- Open ending that leaves room for a sequel? ✓
- Said sequel likely about the continuing fight to take down The Man? ✓
As you can tell, this is as vanilla fantasy as it absolutely gets. Oh sure, the tattoo elements (a neat idea, although a bit underdeveloped) add a slight dystopian flavor to the whole affair, but not by much. It follows the tropes pretty much to a T. You could probably invent a plot based on my description of the tropes in it and be not too far from the truth.
I’d normally a dog of book for it’s lack of development of the magic and the world – we basically see nothing of the bad guys for the most part – but this is one of those books that you pick up when you just want a quick (I read this in under 90 minutes) read. Does it need that sequel that it sets up? No. Will I go out of my way to read said sequel? Probably not. Will I remember any of this in a day? Nope. But if you’re into this kind of thing, you should have fun. You can currently buy it for $3.82 on Amazon as of me writing this review (8/19) and for that price, I can give it the thumbs up. Just know what you’re getting yourself into and adjust your expectations accordingly.
Verdict: Borrow It