- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 36 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury
- Audible.com Release Date: April 1, 2015
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00VIQKVN6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Inked Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Caenum is about to turn eighteen---it is the birthday he has dreaded for years. When he turns eighteen, he will be inked. The Ink will decide who he is to become, not taking into account any thoughts that may counter what it tells him. Plotting to flee before the Scribes come to deliver his future, Caenum finds himself in a debacle when a run-in with a Scribe takes an unexpected turn.
He finds himself fleeing his home with his life-long friend Dreya, and new acquaintance, Kenzi, who just so happens to be the very Scribe commissioned to ink Caenum. Escaping an attack on his town, they set out to find the Sanctuary, a place safe from the Citadel for wielders of magic. On the journey, loved ones are lost, friends are made, enemies are everywhere, and secrets revealed.
My thoughts are a scrambled mess on this one. It's taken me a few hours of on and off writing to complete this review, and I'm hoping it will even be reflective of my thoughts. I don't have much to say, so let's get on with it. Note: I tried to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but there may be hints throughout this review that I found necessary to discuss in order to properly review the book.
Things that I liked:
#1 The overall idea was engaging in and of itself. Tattoos infused with a bit of magic to reveal your identity sounded pretty neat, albeit scary. Just as Ceanum feared the ink, I believe I would too if I felt that I hadn't discovered my own true nature before something told me what it was. What if I didn't like what I heard? Stripping the option of choice from anyone is scary.
#2 This story started out running...literally. We open to the first page where Caenum is planning to run away before his inking day. His fear was compelling, and made me want to know more about what this process was all about.
#3 A few delightful twists were embedded here and there, making the story more complex than I originally thought.
Despite the unexpected turns, I felt that there still just wasn't enough to satiate my desire for a more completed story; which leads me to...
Things that I didn't like:
#1 The world building.
I felt like I was reading the story, looking from the outside in. Rather than being invited into the story, something held me back. Whether it was just an overall lack of world building (I don't remember there even being a name of the world mentioned,) or misunderstanding as to the societal setup, I didn't feel as though I could be part of the story. It wasn't really something that I could deem as a possibility---which, if you ask me, is the number one goal of the fantasy genre: believing that something could be real.
"The Citadel tries to force people into roles, into walks of life. Gives them assignments based on what they are born with."
We get small glimpses into the doctrine of the Citadel. However, little explanation is given as to how the entire system of this world came into being. I found myself often wondering where the backstory was.
#2 (view spoiler) Part of the way through the book, I was excited because I thought we finally had a normal and ordinary main character. However, I was wrong. This is more my personal preference. It didn't necessarily take away from the story, but I think I would have liked it better if someone had remained unaffected.
#3 Character Breakdown:
Caenum was supposed to be turning eighteen. But his voice and thoughts were from someone of a much younger age. Especially when discussing his "friendship" with Dreya, and his unsuspecting musings regarding their relationship.
#3.5 Ceanum's name. How is it pronounced? I found myself saying it "Che-a-num," as in Latin with the e-a next to each other. Since it's written in English, maybe it's supposed to be pronounced "See-num?" I'm honestly not sure.
The other two prominent characters, Dreya and Kenzi, had very little influence on me, whatsoever. I don't have anything to say on them, only that I wish their character development had been more prominent.
#4 That this novel tried to be a bit dystopian: depicted in the first quote (above,) the book itself stated that the ink was always spot on when deciding what that person would be doing. If the ink was consistently accurate with a person's abilities and character, then wouldn't everyone be happy with their wares? Wouldn't the ink choose what was most suitable for each individual, ultimately leading to contentment? I simply didn't find there being enough justification for this world to exist in the way that it did.
#5 Adventure-less: When the trio left their hometown to seek out the Sanctuary was when the pace of the story dropped. An adventure should be exciting, exhilarating, and increase the pacing dramatically. The pace did eventually pick up towards the end (as to be expected.)
Much of the story for me was simply unremarkable. I wish that there was more development behind the structure of the world, the characters, and the antagonizing forces against those that were gifted.
Vulgarity: Moderate, and more towards the end.
Sexual content: Only a small amount.
Violence: Some, but without gory detail.
Unsure of who he wants to be, Caenum is worried about what the magic ink will reveal when he receives it on his 18th birthday. But when something happens to the Scribes scheduled to give him his Ink, Caenum has more to worry about. Namely, The Citadel who are now after everyone he loves.
With the help of his best friend Dreya and a reluctant new companion Kenzi, Caenum must navigate the world outside his little town, dodging both The Citadel and Unprinted who are after them, to find Sanctuary all while discovering the things he never knew hiding just beneath his skin.
If you’re looking for a fast read, Inked by Eric Smith is your book. I was able to read this book in about two days. Magical and addicting, Smith is able to create a world without throwing too much at the reader at once. He slowly unravels the world and the characters, which was great because it led me to believe that certain things would happen, only to be surprised later when something I wasn’t expecting occurred. My favorite character was Dreya. I thought Smith did an amazing job at describing her and I loved the dynamic between Dreya and Caenum.
Overall, I loved the premise of this book. However, I wish that Smith had fleshed out the characters and the world just a bit more so the reader could really get a feel for everything. Luckily, there is a sequel so I can return to this fascinating world and find out what happens to the characters I became attached to.
The first thing that stood out to me is a the fact that the story was action packed from the get go. We open with Caenum about to run away from his village of Frosthaven only to be stopped by his best friend Dreya. Only, I think they would have had less eventful lives if she had let him go…
Usually fantasy books take some time to lay the groundwork before setting off the action so it was a nice change. At the same time though I felt like the world building suffered a little. Things were explained well enough to follow the story and appreciate what was going on but with such a unique concept it kind of pokes at your brain and makes you want to know all the things. I hope these will be addressed in some kind of sequel (hint hint Eric Smith).
In terms of characters I don’t think there was one I disliked. Caenum had his moments where I thought he should have been a bit more proactive but that was Caenum. You get used to it and you understand him much better by the end. Kenzi and Dreya were great characters as well. Only sometimes I wish we had a bit more of Kenzi’s background. There were some characters that came in later on that I absolutely loved for their unique charm and wit but I won’t talk about them. You’ll know who they are when you meet them.
And I also have to mention the romance. Being one who is extremely picky about romance, I enjoyed how this one grew over the course of the book. It wasn’t insta-love nor was it rushed. It felt perfectly paced and I’m content with the way it played out.
I’m honestly hoping for some kind of sequel. Preferably after a time lag because I want to see what the characters will be like a few years into the future. You can’t finish this book and not be curious which I think is something Smith should be applauded for. I don’t know if there’s one in the works but if there is I’ll definitely be picking it up.
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed Inked. A fantasy YA novel (not dystopian as I have seen mentioned in some reviews) where a tattoo decides your future.Read more