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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  391 ratings  ·  110 reviews
What happens when rhetoric about immigrants escalates to an institutionalized population control system? The near-future, dark speculative novel INK opens as a biometric tattoo is approved for use to mark temporary workers, permanent residents and citizens with recent immigration history - collectively known as inks. Set in a fictional city and small, rural town in the U.S ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published October 15th 2012 by Crossed Genres Publications (first published October 3rd 2012)
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Sabrina I believe they are just printed by different publishers. I am reading the 464 pg version and the margins are huge and the print is fairly large. The c…moreI believe they are just printed by different publishers. I am reading the 464 pg version and the margins are huge and the print is fairly large. The covers are different as well, but otherwise no difference in plot or anything!(less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  391 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
I loved the combination of science fiction and magical realism throughout the book. To me, it felt right and effortless, reflecting the varying worldviews of characters who nonetheless live in the same, palpable world.

The march of political events sometimes felt hand-waved. Perhaps not coincidentally, there are no villains, as such. There are several nasty side characters & one out-and-out sociopath, but Vourvoulias does not explore the mindset of The Powers that Be. Much of the time, the chara
With a story about the tattooing of immigrants and the attempt to disappear this second class part of society, it came across a little disturbing considering all the discussions of immigration going on at the moment. I liked the concept and the writing but I wanted something deeper and ended up with a more superficial tale.
Tim Scattergood
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias is a mind bending story that interweaves 5 seemingly “normal” individuals through a time where who you are is decided by the color of the tattoo on your wrist. The twists and turns of this near future thriller will have you wanting more and more. Time and again I found myself looking at the clock and realizing that hours had gone by, and I thought it had been five minutes.

As a coworker of Sabrina I have had the enjoyment of talking to her every morning about what had j
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latin-lit
This dark tale, seeped in magical realism, has the feel of a great dystopian young adult novel. What strikes me as unique, however, is that the whole society that this story is set in is not a dystopian one. Most people within the society go about their lives with little awareness about the fate their governments draconian policies are inflicting upon the minority population. In creating a dystopia in and among every day life, Sabrina Vourvoulias has created an engaging love story/ war epic that ...more
Henk-Jan van der Klis
Sep 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
What happens when rhetoric about immigrants escalates to an institutionalized population control system? The near-future, dark speculative novel INK opens as a biometric tattoo is approved for use to mark temporary workers, permanent residents and citizens with recent immigration history - collectively known as inks. Set in a fictional city and small, rural town in the U.S. during a 10-year span, the novel is told in four voices: a journalist; an ink who works in a local population control offic ...more
Elizabeth Bear
A strong and promising first novel with an engaging voice, INK tackles a number of difficult topics (racism, immigration, xenophobia) through the eyes of four varied and engaging protagonists. Vourvoulias is an accomplished writer on the scene and sentence level, and though it seemed to this reader that she lost control of the novel's structure somewhere in the middle, the fragmentation of the second half is not distracting enough to ruin the narrative arc. I could have used a little more divers ...more
Daniel Older
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It was troubling, funny, beautiful, exciting. The near-future dystopian crisis of immigration rings truer every day and the characters are alive. INK guides us through a broken, angry world through the POVs of various players in the coming culture wars. Each struggles through the emotional, political landscape of privilege, power and heartbreak as the carnage of xenophobia drives faultlines between families, friends and lovers. There are a few moments I wanted more from; at ti ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had so much opportunity to be great. The premise is excellent but the execution is terribly lacking. The characters are either so obnoxious that you can't stand them (Finn), or so perplexing and random that they lose all sense of being real (Abbie). The "hacking" that Abbie does is as bad as any 90s movie, and the sections meant to feel suspenseful end up boring, stop short of action, or just jump forward to some random period in time (a day? An hour? Years, even). And don't get me sta ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
I found the issues confronted affecting and deeply infuriating, and the book well-written and compelling. The structure, though, didn't entirely hold up--the four separate POVs weren't always distinct, the time jumps were a little disorienting, and the science fiction and magical realism elements weren't always seamless. The magic in particular felt like it came and went without being woven deeply enough into the fabric of the novel. Still, something I would recommend reading. ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's shocking that this book hasn't gotten more attention tbh.

The romance is awful - that typical question of why does the book have to be about white/non-white relationships, though here it's ink/non-ink relationships. Also why all the gendered violence? Also why all the pregnancies? The magic subplot doesn't really come to much either and that's a disappointment.

But, it's a really necessary dystopian scenario imo.
May 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
When I started it I knew this would be a difficult read, but I wasn't expecting it to be forget-my-tea gripping as well.

Further thoughts to come.
Deals with racial representation, particularly Latinx. Background queer characters.
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: review
Four point-of-view characters make their way through several dark years of state persecution of non-white American immigrants. These immigrants are dubbed 'inks'. (The word 'ink' does double duty, referring to immigrants who exceed the "ideal" amount of skin pigment and also to the tattoos used by the government to brand and track them.)

Ink is three books rolled into one:
---It's a socio-political dystopia in the vein of The Handmaid's Tale (although much smaller in scope). The social and polit
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I cannot believe this novel was written in 2012 as it seems a vision straight out of the last year! Sabrina Vourvoulias's 'Ink' artfully explores where we have been going as a nation without flinching from the terror, but also providing moments in which I thought my heart was going to burst from the empathy I felt for the characters and the hope I felt for their future.

Highest recommendation (I burnt through the last 200 pages last night)
Ernest Hogan
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A powerful, imaginative dystopia about immigration. Written with a journalist's eye for detail and truth, it comes closer to reality every day. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It was chaotic and real. What I appreciated more than anything is the honest portrayal of discussing the experience of discrimination with well meaning (ally) white people. Vourvoulias doesn't try to explain away the awkward interaction nor does she allow the space for forgiveness just because they don't understand but they mean well. It was truly beautiful. It's just there in all of its everyday awkwardness.

This is a short novel that is jam packed full of complexity
Barth Siemens
Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopia
I enjoy dystopian novels; especially when they're well-written. Ink has a great premise and the author, Sabrina Vourvoulias, has an interesting quality to her writing that is reminiscent of a naturally carbonated mineral water. My enjoyment of the novel was repeatedly derailed by the paranormal subplot, which was never fully enough described to elevate it from a solid work to a truly great work; instead the lack scaled my estimation of the work down moderately. I expect that other readers may no ...more
The emotional work that went into reading this story was valuable to me, but the flaws of the storytelling make it hard to recommend it to anyone not specifically looking for near-future dystopian views of immigration policies in the US. I'm inclined to believe that the most unlikeable aspects of the story are commentary and not trope, but it requires giving the author a benefit of the doubt that the narrative does not always earn. ...more
Jennifer Stoy
More of a 3.75 star. I liked this book, I liked the characters, but I almost wanted more world-building, especially about how ink worked and how the egregious Nazi parallel didn't shut down the idea. I mean, there are plenty of plausible ways to get from there to here, but more of the backstory would have been welcome, especially with so many stories being told at once. ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
With the administration's calls for mass deportation and a Muslim registry, and this country's legacy of internment camps, forced sterilization, and displacement and detainment of its own people and those born elsewhere, how terrifying it is to understand that a novel is foreshadowing our future and reiterating our past. Ink is eerie, timely, and necessary reading. ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for an intense, well-written book that requires only the teeniest tiniest stretch of imagination to make it relevant to contemporary American culture, Ink is for you. Read it alongside The Handmaid's Tale for a one-two punch of dystopian possibility. ...more
Helen Shchur
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I just couldn’t finish this book. The idea is great, but the execution is poor. I don’t know what makes it’s so difficult to read, maybe the lack of action, but it’s not the book I was hoping for. Points for the idea and trying, but that is pretty much it.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The eye is a strange organ. Without compassion. Without filter. The true repository of memory." ...more
Oct 13, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(University reading list)

I genuinely don't even know where to begin with this book. Whilst the narrative and style was relatively easy and quick to read, Ink took a mental toll on me beyond what I expected. This was partially due, I think, to me being forced to read all 460 pages in 6 days in time for my class, and in part because the writing is incredibly shoddy.

Let's begin with the plot. I think Ink has an incredibly interesting concept, and it is definitely believable. I'm not entirely sure w
Emily Tyler
3 stars

This novel had a lot of cool ideas, and it's the kind of dystopia I enjoy reading (although, we have to ask, dystopic for whom? definitely not people currently at the border). The execution was lacking for me, though.

The premise is that all immigrants in the US are given barcode tattoos that indicate their status (blue is a citizen, green is someone with a work permit, and black is "illegal") so the government can track them. Also, there are facilities where the "inks" go that are basica
Julie H.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sabrina Vourvoulias' Ink, originally published in 2012, was re-released in 2018, and that's the version whose path I crossed on a recent library run. The story is a magical realism, possibly dystopian tale (the jury's still out on that, I suppose) that hits all too close to home in relation to the fear-mongering, children in cages, anti-immigrant sentiment increasingly informing policy and the evening news. It is also a timeless story whose details include the arbitrarily marking and othering of ...more
To quote one of the chapters titles OMGWFF!
This book represents really in a nutshell what I love about Goodreads. It is a book I would most likely not have picked up myself but I saw one of my Goodreads friends add it to her to read list. As I was looking for a book that had an ugly cover (and IMO this one has) and because the writer is of a different ethnicity to mine it Would perfectly fit into two categories (author with different ethnicity and an ugly cover) of my Popsugar 2018 challenge
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The characters in this book are some of the most fully-realized I’ve ever seen. Abbie’s mother, who is complicit in some of the horrors brought down on inks, turns out to care more about her daughter than it might seem. Toño, a gang leader, steps into the action in some unexpected ways. Del, who falls for a Cuban chemist called Meche, is still caught up in a strained relationship with his not-quite-ex-wife. After Mari’s been missing for months, Finn has to try to figure out whether he actually l ...more
Samuel Zucca
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
A lot of interesting ideas in this but I feel like it was quite bloated for how short the book is.

Ink details a very plausible world in which immigrants are categorised by different coloured tattoos and GPS trackers to follow their movements. Legislation advances throughout the novel, and internment camps start to pop up, with stories of forced sterilization coming out of them. This was written in 2012 too, so I think it's ideas only seem to become more relevant. From the perspective of this mod
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This feels like a dystopian/magical realism story set in a future that is uncomfortably close to where we are in 2018. There are four main characters whose voices alternate in sharing their lives in an America where the rights of many people have been abridged or suspended. Citizens with recent immigration history, legal permanent residents, and all people with other types of statuses (visas, etc.), are tattooed by the federal government and kept under close surveillance in a database. All of th ...more
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Literary Fiction ...: Would love if you would consider 1 35 Aug 01, 2012 09:50AM  

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My novel, Ink, was published by Crossed Genres in October of 2012. (

I was born in Bangkok, Thailand -- the daughter of a Mexican-Guatemalan artist and an American businessman. I grew up in Guatemala, and moved to the United States when I was 15. I studied filmmaking and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., which -- it has to be sa

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