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Reviewed by Rochita C. Ruiz

“Ledes are opening words, leading is the space between lines, and leads are the embryonic matter of stories.”

This is how Ink begins. It tells the story of a dystopic near-future from the point of view of four major characters, Finn, Mari, Del and Abbie.

The Ink in Vourvoulias’s title refers to the identity tattoos which are given to temporary residents and to citizens with a recent migrant history.

Finn, a reporter, is following the lead to a story which brings him back to his old parish church. There he meets his parish priest, Father Tom, and it is there where he meets Mari for the first time.

It is through Finn’s eyes that we are first drawn into the world of the inked. It is through his eyes that we are first made to see the privilege owned by those who are not inked as opposed to those who are inked like Mari.

Vourvoulias’s Ink is a complex novel. It is social and political and it is clearly informed not only by history but also by present political events. Vourvoulias tackles the subjects of genocide and xenophobia and while Vourvoulias’s characters all own magic to some degree, it isn’t a magic that magically saves them or the world, but it is a magic that helps them to heal and become stronger in the face of the suffering and the opposition they must endure.

Much of what takes place in Ink feels like it could really happen. The treatment accorded to the inks, for instance, is reminiscent of the growing xenophobic atmosphere in the US as well as in other western countries today. And the harsh and inhumane treatment accorded to those found or suspected as not being registered inks reminds me of stories told about the treatment accorded to those who dare to cross the American border from Mexico.

Vourvoulias has strong authorial voice. Her writing style is clean and crisp, engaging the reader on an emotional level without being over the top.  Ink is not an easy read, but I do feel that it is a necessary read.

Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias

We give this novel 5 charms.

*This novel was purchased from Amazon. Clicking on the image will get you there.

**Ink is published by Crossed Genres Publication. You can find them here.

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