by Michelle Rene (Annorlunda Books)
American Gods meets Stranger in a Strange Land in this novella of post-Judgement Day dystopia, where the details of everyone’s life are tattooed upon the skin by the Maker. In such a world, a person without a single tattoo written across the body in the Maker’s own perfect handwriting can threaten the whole of civilization. “Failure to register” takes on a whole new meaning when Jane Sparrow appears out of nowhere with not a drop of ink on her body. She has no idea who she is or where she came from, and her body reveals nothing. She’s quickly imprisoned for her uniqueness, but her innocence and vulnerability win her stalwart friends who break her free under the approving watch of the demi-gods and mythological beings who fashioned her and impregnated her. Now what will happen?
Sadly, that’s where the story ends. It’s more of a premise than an actual story, narrated through the POV of the various characters involved in Jane’s prison escape. The base concept is that the “mono-God” has walked away from her creation after Judgment Day, and now it’s up to other immortals to fix the planet, which they do by forming Jane from clay, breathing life into her, and placing a fetus within her womb.
Tattoo is an enjoyable read up to that point where you realize it’s done and there is no clear story future, no indication of where Jane can go, what her inkless life can accomplish other than garner followers, what consequences her allies will face, or even what the immortals hope to bring to fruition. It’s thought-provoking, but don’t look for any theological depth despite the premise.
– Ef Deal