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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
The Inked by Kristina Streva is set on the coast of Denmark. Yuri, Britt, and Tanis are “The Inked”, creatures born with tentacles because of an ancient curse. Kaleb, son of the king of Merfolk, impulsively trades healing balm for a tryst with Yuri. Unfortunately, his prejudiced twin brother Neo follows him. Neo impersonates Kaleb, luring Yuri out to be captured. He takes her back to Atlantis to provide evidence of his brother’s unfitness for the throne. The cruel king declares his sons must duel to the death. Britt and Tanis are determined to save their sister. They infiltrate Atlantis with the help of a young mermaid called Sadie, and Oliver, the blacksmith’s son. How will Kaleb avoid killing his brother and could Britt possibly retrieve stolen magic?
The Inked by Kristina Streva was an enjoyable young adult action fantasy with elements of romance. I enjoyed the expanded mythology used to build an entire sunken society. The underwater adventure explored the arbitrary and pointless nature of racism with the Mermaids of Atlantis and Inked sharing a common origin story. I enjoyed seeing the characters navigate the ‘first contact’ between alienated groups, to establish communication. Kaleb, Yuri, and her sisters were likable, and I anxiously hoped a solution would be found to the seemingly lose-lose situation that trapped them. The fight scenes were well narrated and included exciting detail. There was a little gore, just adequate to underline the serious nature of violent fights. The book reminded me of the classic Hans Andersen little mermaid story, and yet it was entirely original.