I had been waiting months and months for a copy of this book, and when I was sent my copy I started reading it immediately. My excitement for the book was well deserved, Alice has written a wonderful, original story.
Disclaimer: I was sent a ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review!
Leora lives in a world where everyone has their life stories tattooed on them; this is what originally attracted me to the book – I thought it was a really cool idea, which has obviously been inspired by the real world. But, Alice managed to make the idea of tattooed life events even more interesting than I had anticipated, with a lot more detail and deeper thought included. The world-building in this story has been done so thoroughly that I don’t believe it has any holes; I’ve finished the book understanding the world, how it works and why it works the way it does.
Leora’s story starts off as a sad one, but as the plot steadily moved on it became sadder, angrier and more confused than expected. Throughout the book we live with Leora as she learns many secrets that have been kept from her and as she starts to see the world she’s lived in as something very different from how she was brought up to see it. Just as I thought I was about to predict a plot event, something would happen that meant that I was totally wrong – and I loved this! The ending especially just threw surprise after surprise at me. It was brilliant.
Alice’s writing was consistent and well done throughout and the book delivered a very high level of ease of reading. Alice also included quite a diverse cast, with many characters of different races and backgrounds being included; and I think (and am hoping everyone agrees with me) she’s managed to do it without doing anything that may cause offense. Additionally, despite ‘flaying’ being mentioned throughout the book it wasn’t done in a gruesome way, because of what it means to the society within the book, so there was never a time when I felt uncomfortable or like there was too many grim details. Actually, Alice managed to make skin seem like something more than just skin. Alice also managed to build up a brilliant idea of a religion within the book, that was both beautiful and interesting. I also loved the fairy tales included in the book and I hope that one day Alice will release a book full of the fairy tales mentioned in the book, and maybe some new ones too.