Remember way back in the day when I told you about the lovely Renda Dodge and her book Inked?
Well, it's out! Go order a copy here.
I was excited to read Inked for a few reasons -first being that the concept of the story really intrigued me. Inked is about a young woman named Tori who has an undiagnosed personality disorder. She deals with it by getting a new tattoo every time there's a major shift in her life.
As someone with a tattoo and who is considering another one, that in itself was enough to pique my interest in the book. Tattoos are cool -what a person has, where they have it and what they tell you about it can give you an immense amount of information about that individual.
As a publisher, I was excited to learn that Renda used CreateSpace to publish Inked -I used CS to publish L&F (which, by the way, should be up for sale soon, so get your wallets ready for that, too).
Speaking solely as someone who's going to be using the same type of technology to publish something, I am really impressed with the way Inked turned out. Clearly there was a lot of design work that went into it, and that alone takes skill. However, the book itself is also really high quality (which, unfortunately, is not something your average Joe reader associates with self-publishing yet. Key word: yet). Sales of books like Inked will go a long way towards improving the general conception of what it means to self-publish. This is a professional book, and it comes across as one.
And then there's the story. Granted, I was trapped in a hotel room by myself at the time I first started reading Inked (laryngitis sucks, just fyi), but I couldn't put it down from the moment I picked it up. The entire book is around 210 pages long, and I read it in one sitting (and several cups of tea).
Tori is a fascinating character. She's rebellious, she's angry, she's scared -and she knows it, which makes the story even more interesting. Tori acknowledges her own faults throughout the story, but she's still too pissed off and frightened to allow herself much room for changing the parts of herself she doesn't like -not to say she doesn't, because she certainly does, but I got a feeling that Tori isn't ever going to totally break out of certain aspects of her personality (nor did I want her to). Tori isn't a character I could see undergoing a traditional growth pattern in a novel -and that's definitely one of the strengths of the book; keeping Tori very much herself keeps the book human. This is not a hero story, this is a story of someone who is just a person trying to deal with their life and getting a little lost doing it. We've all been there in one way or another, and Tori reflects that back to the reader.
In addition to the development of Tori's back story (her early life, first relationships, etc. -I don't want to give anything away because you should just go buy the book, it's worth every penny), there's the mystery of her present. Tori's mother is dying of AIDS and Tori reluctantly returns home to care for her mother. It's not a pleasant reunion. In addition to her strained relationship with her mom, there is the complication of Blake, who lives next door.
There's an instant attraction, albeit a reluctant one on Tori's part, but there's a lot more going on behind the surface of Tori's connection with Blake than is evident at the outset.
Inked is much more than the story of Tori and her tattoos, although that particular component adds a great deal of interest, and it's definitely one that I'm keeping around to read again.