Sunday, January 1, 2012

YA book review: Ink by S.J. Davis

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 90 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Vamptasy (September 1, 2011)

Summary: “It’s a good day to die.”
My mother holds my arm fiercely.
“But as you grieve for me, listen for the voices. Then, you must get the ink.”

Sparrow stumbles between two worlds, light and dark, love and hate, what is real and what is in her mind.

When her mother dies on the Reservation, Sparrow’s world is shadowed with anger and narrowed by pain. The voices arrive, but are they real? And how can a tattoo
make her stronger?

My review: I have noticed an increase in novellas on the market ever since ebook sales began increasing these last two to three years. And one question keeps cropping in my mind: why do authors choose this type of story, especially when the work they have created could be longer? This was a prevalent thought as I raced through Ink.

S.J. Davis' writing was often poetic, lovely and moving. Sparrow hears voices, sees people in her dreams and in her room and knows they are not of this world. while she questions her sanity, her mother's dying words haunt her. She moves from the Indian reservation she called home to live with her Aunt Shelby in Washington, DC, three months after her mother's passing.    There she makes new friends and finds Layne, who becomes her boyfriend. Meanwhile, one of the voices materializes, that of a young man named Mateo, who is her spirit guide. He warns her she is in danger and has to get the ink. Will Sparrow listen to him?

The mystical nature of Ink was what initially drew me into the story. Although I found the opening prologue muddled with its confusing dreamy state, the first chapter featuring the car crash kept me riveted. Sparrow's voice grabbed me with its questioning and interesting viewpoint. My own questions quickly rose about the three month jump the story then took from Sparrow's accident to her out of state move. I wondered how she fared with those voices over that time period? Then we learn by the third chapter she's a cutter, an issue I didn't think was resolved or thoroughly addressed (and since this is a novella, may be addressed further). The character of Layne needed more development before I could back him as Sparrow's boyfriend. Scenes moved too quickly and while I was still understanding what I had just read, we were on to something else. Despite that, there is so much going on in Ink I hope will be expanded on in further installments. The native American Indian mythology, symbolism and spirit guides is incredibly intriguing and I found the idea behind the 'ink' itself to be a fantastic concept (and I dropped my comparison to Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely fast since both tattoo ideas were vastly different).

Ink is a promising start to a YA series with a unique concept. Within its eighty or so pages, S.J. Davis' writing wrapped itself around me with its gentle prose and made me regard things with a new outlook. I hope to read more about Sparrow and her engaging world full of of mysticism in the future.

Rating: I really liked it.

Favorite excerpt:  "“So, maybe you’re right,” I look out the window. “But how do I get rid of you? Can everyone see you?” 
     He clears his throat and looks strangely hurt. “I won’t be as visible after you have the ink. You won’t need me. You’ll be strong enough on your own.” 
     No you won’t. You never will. 
     “Did you hear that?” I ask him. “And what ink?”  
     “Yes, I do hear her too. But right now the voice is merely a threat. You can overcome her.”  
     “So I’m not making up these voices?”
     “No, the voice is real. But, it isn’t part of this world.” He holds up my right arm and turns it over, exposing my scars and cuts. He looks down at me closely; his forehead is damp with sweat. He bends down and kisses my scars.  
     Chills and fever envelop me. Black and white words swirl around my mind, tangling in my thoughts like fishing line. I grasp at them, but lose them. Cold and hot flash. Shadows undulate on my walls, swirling on my ceiling. My name, Sparrow, appears on the ceiling in a shiny red scrawl. 
     I stare at my name above me. Mateo’s lips are still on my inner arm. Smoke dances around us like flames. 
     Mateo looks to me and says, “It’s beautiful, smoky shades of blood like the ink. It’s almost time to get your tattoo. Go to Stuart Gilkison at The Black Line. Just like your mother. He knows what to do.” 
     Istowun-eh’pata can’t save you. Not from me."

Cover comment: This is a lovely cover. I'm not sure this is how I imagined Sparrow to look, but I like the way she's lying down on the ground.

Book source: From the author for my honest review during a book tour.

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