Book Review: Ink

Ink by Alice Broadway



“We were lucky really, seeing death walk up from a distance.”

─ Alice Broadway


“Sometimes I wish I could follow this thread back to where I started, rolling it into a neat ball. But if there’s no going back, maybe I can knit these events into something new and beautiful.”

─ Alice Broadway


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Book Information

Title: Ink (Ink Trilogy Book #1)

Author: Alice Broadway

Publisher: Scholastic Press, New York

ISBN 978-1-338-19699-3

Genre: YA Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Folk Tales, Fables, Fairy Tales

Ages: 14 +

324 pages


Book Summary:

Leora lives in a world that is divided up into two type of people: the marked and the blanks. Leora like all the other children born into the community of the marked were raised to believe that having your skin marked or tattooed is an honor, displaying your achievements and life to everyone. To have your skin unmarked or blank is dishonest, depicting you are hiding secrets from the people around you.

Leora is approaching the age that she must choose her profession, and her own marks the tell about who she really is as a person. To add to this confusing time her father dies after a long illness. Part of the grieving and remembering process of the community is to have the deceased skin preserved in a book format that family members keep and can view the marks on the skin. Leora discovers there are secrets around her father’s book.

Leora tries to move forward with her life while trying to discover what the issue is with getting her father’s book returned to the family. Rumors circulate and those closest to her that she believed were trustworthy are now hiding things from her.

As the deceptions worsen, and tensions rise, Leora finds herself feeling betrayed and berift. Finally, in the ceremony to determine the fate of her father’s book all the secrets are revealed, as the truth is laid bare. The only one shocked is Leora, who does the unthinkable and lashes out.

Book Rating   3.5/5

Ink is the story about a girl who finds she knows nothing about who she really is. In a world that is divided into the marked and the blanks, Leora’s world is drastically changing. First her father has died after a long illness. Then she is finishing school exams that determine her future profession. Leora manages to achieve her dream of being an inker, but as she begins training her life seems to unravel. The truths she took for granted as absolute about her father, her family, her life, her community, and most importantly about herself are being questioned.

Leora attempts to uncover and understand the details that are turning her world upside down. The new truths are hard to believe, can she live with them? The people she loved and trusted are what she was raised to believe were the enemy. Somehow the bad people are really good, and good people are bad. Her new ink teacher Obel tries to convince her that people are not one or the other, but a little of both.

Small actions lead to consequences and hidden truths to questions. Leora is banished and sent to spy on the blanks in Featherstone or she and those she cares about will suffer. The deception weighs heavily on her shoulders as she becomes part of the community and learns that there are two sides to the truth, and sometimes it is difficult to know which is right.

As mentioned in the Spark review I liked the way Broadway used fables, and fairy tales of the history of the marked to show how the truth the people of a community are raised with are skewed to their perspective. The stories depict events of the marked community viewpoint as a form of verbal history turned fairytale showing truths without the complete truth. Leora comes to question whether the stories are an accurate depiction of history. The stories are important to her as they not only are a part of the community history, but a connection to her recently deceased father.

My only complaint would be the way the story ended. It isn’t necessarily a bad ending. There is build up and then reveal full stop. I realize this is most likely due to reading the books out of order. Read in order it does have a build up to make me want to continue reading more of the story in the next book of the trilogy.
I didn’t realize that the Ink series was a trilogy when I originally bought the book Spark (Book #2 in the Ink Trilogy).  As I mentioned in the Spark review it was a stand-alone book that I liked. So, I am reading the trilogy out of order, specifically Spark (Book 2), Ink (Book 1), and Scar (Book 3). Ink did include the part about the naming ceremony that is referenced in Spark that confused me previously.

For those of you who are also concerned with the appearance of a book, I found a pleasant surprise when I removed the paper jacket to read the book. The cover has a very nice orange foiled design. I will be putting the paper jacket back on before placing on the shelf, but am slightly disappointed to cover up the foiled cover art.

To find more information about Alice Broadway, her books, and book tours visit her site:

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