Not quite up to my expectations, but I LIKED IT NONETHELESS
“iT WAS RIGHT THERE, i kept giving you hints …”
Fun fact : I love tattoos. I really really do, even if I can’t allow myself to be completely covered in them. So, when I saw this book mentioned in a rec post that was all about books about tattoos, it just seemed like a good combination between my love for tattoos and my love for Fantasy.
The thing is, it doesn’t quite deliver the way I expected it to.
First, I want to emphasise this : exposition is important ! Of course, you don’t need four whole chapters of explanation about why this universe works this way, or what the main character’s grand-parents used to do when they were kids, who wants to read that ? But it’s also not a good thing to throw the reader completely into a story without explaining much and just hoping that they’ll get it along the way. You need a balance.
Here, we have what appears to be some sort of classic fantasy/medieval setting, with people living in rustic houses, fortresses, and travelling on dirt roads with wagons pulled by horses, but at the same time, they speak like we do. It’s a very modern-like speech with Okays and Whatevers, and it just clashes. I wouldn’t have minded as much if there had been a reason, I guess, but as far as I can see, there isn’t one. Anyway, a little bit more explanation from the beginning wouldn’t have been too much.
When it comes to the tattoos, I was a little bit disappointed because, to me, destiny does not mean your job, and it’s exactly what we’ve got here. A mayor with symbols for power and government on his skin, a baker with pictures of bread and pastries. I don’t know, your destiny is supposed to be so close to who you are, and your job doesn’t define you. It could be an important part of what you are, but it’s not all. It’s all well and good to be meant for government, but it doesn’t tell you what kind of leader you’ll be. I want politicians with snakes, or bad omens running along their arms, or with symbols for hope and prosperity. I want a florist with music moving on their skin because they have perfect pitch. I want tattoos evolving as your views change, as you change, become darker if you go on the “wrong path”, etc.
I get that they’re using Ink to control the population, and keep them in their place without giving them hope to be something else, but surely they can’t guess or completely control what the Ink will represent on everyone’s skin ! Anyway, it was a bit limiting, is what I’m saying.
The relationship between the characters was quite sweet. I loved how uncomplicated Caenum’s and Dreya’s relationship was, even though I would have wanted her to be a more active part of the story.
I’m a bit disappointed by the end ? (I keep complaining, someone stop me !) Caenum’s father constant personality changes weren’t as smooth as they could have been, so if the author was looking to show a complete 180, then he succeeded, but it doesn’t make much sense. I feel like he just needed a plot twist, and that was the best option. Also, Caenum becoming a leader ? I have a hard time believing that. He never stood out as a leader, or a particularly great soldier and, among these battle-experienced people, I find it hard to believe that he’d just be accepted as a natural leader (Ryst becoming suddenly supportive kind of appears out of character too). I get that his way is the best way, but if all these people followed his father with his mad plans, it doesn’t make much sense that they’d be willing to make peace now that someone said so.
Conclusion ? I still like the theme and the universe, I just think that there was more to do with it.