'Gaining their ink was just the first step. Now they have to earn it.' Christian Blake, an unruly Engli...

Review || Ink by Jobie Baldwin

Ink by Jobie Baldwin cover
'Gaining their ink was just the first step. Now they have to earn it.'

Christian Blake, an unruly English teenager, finds himself in a mysterious tattoo parlour in Connaught Square where he is possessed by a Rune God, Hagalaz, and given the power to harness the forces of nature. Only problem? Hagalaz doesn't like to play nice. He is the God of Disruption, and he is intent on making Christian's life a living hell.

Christian’s mentor, The Raven, pulls him from his relative comfort in London and takes him across the world to join his Tribe, a group of four unlikely teenagers with their own newly-gifted magical powers. They are tasked with taking on the forces of evil brewing across the globe: The Settlers, a growing group of aliens that have slowly integrated themselves into the mainstream of Planet Earth's politics and positions of power.

They have a dark secret, and it the Tribe's mission to discover what that is and to put a stop to it. But nothing is what it seems, for it will take much more than the powers of a few long-forgotten gods to put an end to the impending global catastrophe that threatens to destroy everything and anyone in its path. 

What I liked:

  • In Ink, ancient deities choose humans as essentially their champions in an upcoming global catastrophe because of the alien "Settlers." 
  • When the humans are chosen, they receive tattoo runes that serve as a conduit to the Guide.  They can then call upon the powers of the deities through their tattoos.  
  • The main character, Christian, struggles with his Guide, Hagalaz. There's a lot of character growth that occurs as he learns and changes. 
  • There is a romance aspect but it doesn't overwhelm the plot. 

What I didn't like:

  • I'm not a big fan of Christian to start. He seems pretty typical of YA MC's in that he is angsty and believes all adults are alike in their condescending ways.
  • There's a large cast of characters that parade in and out of Ink. Sometimes, it feels overly complicated and cumbersome.
  • While the plot is unique, it feels extremely complex. Ancient deities in human vessels against an alien uprising. Yup.
  • Ink ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, which I don't mind if it furthers the plot. It's a little difficult to see where a series would come from this, but it does leave a good starting point for book 2. 

Final Thoughts:

I think this may be a case of the second novel being even better than the first. It's not that Ink was bad it just had a lot going on. After immersing yourself in Ink's world, I think the second book will be less confusing since you've gotten the hang of things here. There's also a lot of action once Ink gets going so the pacing is pretty solid. I think teens will relate more to Christian than I did, though he did start growing on me towards the end.  

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JOBIE BALDWIN is the author of the Young-Adult Fantasy novel, Ink (2018). 

In 2008 Jobie joined a writers’ collective, CafĂ© Three Zero and contributed short stories to their published anthologies Tales from the Cafe and Red. 

She is currently working on the second in her Tribe Series (Flak) and is planning to write Raven's prequel in 2019.

Jobie lives near London with her husband and their two rescue dogs Lori (the Greyhound) and Monty (the Podenco). She says, “I’m vegan, I’m a biker, but the thing I love most of all is writing down the stories my characters whisper to me while I'm asleep.”