EXPeriencing ‘Inked’ by Eric Smith

Cover photo via Publishing Crawl.

Nothing like a good vacation to get you caught up on your reading! Although my vacation was not filled with lying poolside or on the beach, I did get to have some quality time with my Nook on my flights to and from Orlando. And that meant I finally got to finish Inked by Eric Smith!

I was generously given a digital copy of Inked from the publisher to review, and I just have to preface my review by saying what a fun experience that was. Book people are some of the best people out there, so getting the opportunity to read and review someone’s book for free was just delightful. Now on to the review:

Most of us have some idea of what we want to be when we grow up. Whether that’s an astronaut or firefighter, a teacher or writer, we just know. Then as we get older, we learn how to make those career aspirations a reality—we go off to college or a trade school, get the skills we need, and try our hardest to make a living doing what we love. But, what if it didn’t matter what you wanted to be when you grew up because your career was determined for you at the age of 18? What if instead of simply signifying adulthood, turning 18 meant you were branded into a career path chosen for you? That’s just what happens when you get Inked.

In Inked, we follow Caenum as he tries to come to grips with his 18th birthday, the day he’ll be Inked and have his future determined for him. He fears the path he’ll be forced down and is even ready to run away from it all to risk being Unprinted simply so he doesn’t have to live a life he didn’t choose. But when he and his best friend Dreya have an unfortunate run-in with the Scribe who’s supposed to be Inking Caenum, mayhem–and magic–break loose, setting Caenum, Dreya, and their new-found ally Kenzi on a journey none of them could see coming.

As it turns out, magic is very real in this realm, despite the government trying their hardest to eliminate it for good. Caenum and his friends find themselves learning more about this magic and what it means for them as they run from their old lives to their new fates. Meeting new friends and enemies along the way, the teens must cope with their new-found knowledge and talents to navigate this strange new world beyond their homes’ borders.

Inked is a coming-of-age story that would be good for any young teen wrestling with what it means to grow up. Much like The GiverInked follows one teen as his world is turned upside down and he learns there’s much more out there than his small town and the path that was chosen for him. The concept behind Inked—being tattooed with your career, a government squashing magic and those who wield it, and the consequences of being different—is unique and allows for a fast-paced journey.

Eric Smith has created a new realm for teens to explore and magic to wish for. If you know someone looking for a coming-of-age story to help them through their tumultuous pre/teen years, tell them to take a look at Inked.

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