This is a story about the power of stories.
‘Ink’ is a fantasy novel about a sixteen-year old girl, Leora, who believes the stories her parents, friends, teachers and authorities tell her, until her father dies and she gradually discovers, with anger and pain, that there are other stories. As Leora becomes an ‘inker’ herself she meets Oscar, whose father is one of the ‘Forgotten’ ones, and she is mentored by Mel, the official storyteller. But other people are telling their own versions of the stories, and eventually Leora has to make a choice that will decide her dead father’s fate. But who can she trust and which stories are true?
‘Ink’ has a fascinating concept: the idea of a world where your good and bad deeds, your history, is tattooed on your skin for all to see. I loved the imagination and sensory detail in the story. The description of Leora and her mother reading her dead father’s ‘skin book’ was intruiging, enthralling and made me shiver. The novel has strong themes of prejudice and hatred for different outsiders, of judgement and redemption, as well as a menacing undercurrent of fear and political control that is relevant today.
It is a smoothly written, fast paced and well plotted novel about the dangers and rewards of questioning the stories we are told, and it has a strong, believable, conflicted protagonist. It reminded me of ‘The Hunger Games’ but with considerably less violence and with very strong Christian themes. I would highly recommend it for teenage Christians, and adults too.