Tuesday, November 8, 2011

TATTOO by Kirsten Imani Kasai

Publisher:Del Rey, a division of Random House
Date Published:July 26, 2011
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Trade paperback
Reviewed by:Lynne
Obtained via publisher

A female, Sorykah Minuit, lives in a fragile world where human and animal genes are combined. The rarest of all mutations, the Trader, can switch genders instantly.

Sorykah is a Trader who is battling for dominance over her male alter, Soryk. Both want to live full, separate lives. Thus, each has their own agenda that makes them enemies of one another, within their own flesh.

Sorykah has infant twins, females named Ayeda and Leander, whom she rescued from Matuk the Collector, a mad man who held sway over the land, a man finally killed. However, evil still reigns in the form of his son, Chen, a man who has betrayed her. Desiring only to make a life for her children, safe from such people, Sorykah discovers her journey to free them has not ended.

Chen is following in his father’s footsteps. His power extends from the capital of Neubonne to the depths of the frozen Sigue where the ink of octameroons is harvested to make addictive, aphrodisiacal tattoos, a key to his wealth and power over the masses.

Children of an ancient, evil god, Diabolo, Ur’s children, the octameroons would do anything to prevent themselves from being stolen and having their ink squeezed from their bodies. Their slaughter threatens the safety of all the somatics and humans. Their survival is vital to the health of the entire pole region.

Diabolo, having been corralled in ice by the octameroons, is causing a shift in climate, and the glacial areas of the Sigue are melting. If he breaks free, then the world will be under water; the landmass of the Sigue will melt and vanish.

Soryk, Sorykah’s alter, is in love with Queen Sidra the Lovely who rules over Erun City. She carries Soryk’s child, a daughter. Sidra is all Soryk wants in his life and soon finds himself unprepared for the future his relationship with Sidra brings.

As Sorykah and Soryk try sorting out their lives, they fall into a sinister web of death and deceit that greatly impacts their lives and all they know. If Chen is allowed to retain control of Tirai Industries, then the world will be cleansed of all Traders and the people never liberated from the destructive tattoo addictions prevalent in their world.

TATTOO by Kirsten Imani Kasai is a phenomenal read. Although I haven’t read ICE SONG, Ms. Kasai’s introduction to the world of the Traders, I was able to piece together through excellent backstory narratives and dialogues what led up to TATTOO.

TATTOO skillfully weaves an intricate web of plotting and characterization that makes one stand up and take notice. Ms. Kasai is a remarkably gifted storyteller. Her imagination piqued my interest, especially with her richly-detailed world and unusual and unique characters.

TATTOO is so interesting, and it puts the reader inside the heads of its characters. Sorykah and Soryk came alive as distinct individuals, with the needs, problems, and desires that all people have. She allows us to suffer through the heartbreaking suffering of the TATTOO addicts who live only for that next fix, no matter the cost. By bringing the world of the Trader to coincide with our own and the problems it brings is well-written and believable. Easy for the reader to relate to.

I was amazed at Ms. Kasai’s superb writing style. The details she brings to the world of TATTOO are brilliant. She has taken the time to consider each word in order to reveal to the reader the imaginary world she has created. She has gone the extra length, it seems, in order to draw the reader into the realm of creative genius that surrounds TATTOO as we move through it.

At times the pacing of TATTOO seems a bit slow, and I had to force myself through it. Although that may have been because I wasn’t quite sure what was happening in the beginning because I hadn’t read ICE SONG. However, not to be left hanging, I soon figured it all out. Then I seemed to pick up speed as I read, eager to see what would happen next. With a variety of action and adventure throughout, TATTOO does not leave the reader wanting. Instead, you find yourself rooting for the hero/heroine as the story unfolds. You find yourself wanting them to be happy and soon hope Sorykah and Soryk will find a solution to fulfilling their dreams and become capable of living their separate lives.

TATTOO is a wonderful escapist book. Although it would make it an easier read if ICE SONG was read first, this is still a book that is able to stand alone. It may just take you a bit longer to figure out what is happening, because there are so many interesting characters within it that you might need to untangle first.

I thoroughly enjoyed TATTOO and believe it one of the few books I have read that can be considered a thrilling masterpiece. Kudos to Ms. Kasai. Her storytelling skill is one to be strived for and enjoyed by anyone interested in the realm of fantasy and science fiction.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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