Picture a world where your every action, every deed and every significant moment in your life is tattooed on your skin forever. When you die, if you have lived a ‘good’ life your skin is removed and made into a book to be presented in a soul-weighing ceremony to your family. However if you have not lived a good life, your skin-book is burnt in a fire, condemning you in death and bringing shame on your family forever.
That is the premise on which this YA trilogy is built and around which the dystopian world of Saintstone is created. I absolutely loved the first two books in the series – Ink (review here) and Spark – so when Scar the third and final book arrived on my doorstep I couldn’t wait to read it. It doesn’t disappoint (and before I go any further – the cover art is just gorgeous on all three titles!).
With each episode, the heroine Leora has discovered more about herself, her past and indeed her future than she could ever have imagined. From the day her father died, as secrets about him are revealed, all the doubts she has about her beliefs grow– especially in regards to those who choose not to live as marked – the Blanks – who are exiled to Featherstone. By the third book, Leora has been through so much, heard so much truth alongside so many lies, her confusion and fear are palpable. She has to challenge the very foundations on which her society is built even no matter the consequences. With her friends either missing or imprisoned- or perhaps not who they seem, it’s up to Leora to reveal the deception and expose the villainous leaders for who they really are. In Scar we see that Leora has not lost faith in herself and even though she faces her darkest moments, she finds hope. A thoroughly fitting finale to a great series.
The Ink Trilogy is a brilliant exploration of how society can be split apart by differing beliefs and religion. It explores how we share ourselves, our actions, thoughts and deeds with one another, drawing parallels with how people display everything about themselves on social media in our society. What imprint does this leave, even after we’re gone? What does this say about who we are and what we do? People so often need something or someone to aspire to and can be so blinded by the images presented to them, they fail to see who that person really is.
The trilogy features themes of friendship, betrayal, love and family. The really clever use of beautifully written fables throughout demonstrates how tradition can hold us hostage but also help us find our way. It also shows how the beliefs on which a society has been built can be reflected so differently depending on who is telling the story – comparing the respective beliefs of the people of Saintstone and Featherstone. In each book there are intriguing plot developments, well-written action sequences, lots of tension and some really emotive scenes, all creating a fantastic narrative. The Ink Trilogy has everything you want in a YA series – a brilliant setting, great storytelling, compelling characters and an utterly thought-provoking narrative.