Book Review: Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias

15721155Title: Ink

Author: Sabrina Vourvoulias

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Crossed Genres Publications

Published: October 15, 2012

Page Amount: 230 pages

Blurb From Goodreads: What happens when rhetoric about immigrants escalates to an institutionalized population control system? The near-future, dark speculative novel INK opens as a biometric tattoo is approved for use to mark temporary workers, permanent residents and citizens with recent immigration history – collectively known as inks. Set in a fictional city and small, rural town in the U.S. during a 10-year span, the novel is told in four voices: a journalist; an ink who works in a local population control office; an artist strongly tied to a specific piece of land; and a teenager whose mother runs an inkatorium (a sanitarium-internment center opened in response to public health concerns about inks). The main characters grapple with ever-changing definitions of power, home and community; relationships that expand and complicate their lives; personal magicks they don’t fully understand; and perceptions of “otherness” based on ethnicity, language, class and inclusion. In this world, the protagonists’ magicks serve and fail, as do all other systems – government, gang, religious organization – until only two things alone stand: love and memory.

Why Read: I’m not sure how I came across this book. But recently I ran out of books to read (gasp!), on my Kindle and I had to go on a book buying spree to make sure I had a suitable collection. So naturally I went to my Goodreads TBR and this book stared me in the face. It looked reasonably short (which sadly can sometimes be a reason to read books), and I thought – why not?

Review: This book actually really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting much other than a usual dystopian science fiction book. When it comes to those types of books, I usually don’t look for diversity. Sadly, it isn’t a topic that I consider to be covered well in this genre. This book was a serious exception. The different depictions of the cultures from South America really struck me as touching. The magic component is, naturally, a big part of the book – but what I really took away from this book was the close ties that being an immigrant in this country must form.

The scary part of this book was reading it, it’s not too difficult to imagine things like this happening in the far-off future. The political rhetoric of my generation is horrifying, and sometimes disturbingly like the fascist monologues of almost a century past. Ink takes that to the extreme. If we had the power to tattoo people, could I believe Trump or Cruz supporting this sort of measure? Absolutely. That is what is so powerful about Ink. The book takes this dramatic potential in our future and brings it to our attention, what could happen if cooler heads do not prevail.

Back to what I loved about the book: family and love. Usually I don’t focus on those kinds of themes in dystopian novels because they are written in cliches and *ahem tend not to be written well. In this case, there was an exception. The way that Vourvoulias describes the connections and bonds that people form in times of horror really touched me. I found myself ignoring the explosive action scenes, and instead longing for the scenes, where I could almost palpably feel the emotions between the characters.

To make this short: I extremely recommend this book (Can I write that in proper English?). Even though it is fiction and based in an alternate reality, I felt touched by immigration, by the horrible experiences people go through to make sure their family is safe. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime reading experience.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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