Book Review: Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven

Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven is a young adult novel that is about friendship, dreams, life and finding ones true goals and worth in the context of the possible end of the world. This is a fast-paced novel, high in action and with a very interesting premise. However, the execution of the idea and the characterization of the major players seemed to be a little lacking.

Black Tattoo is a fantasy novel is a “teens need to save the universe’ story, with the premise being that a demon is released from its prison and out to destroy the universe. The demon, The Scourge, has the ability to possess and control humans, sometimes more than one at a time, by preying on their hopes and fears. The Scourge wants to return to Hell and wake up the legendary dragon that will devour the world and return the entire universe to an empty void. Charlie is an angry young man that The Scourge uses to bring his plans to fruition. Jack is Charlie’s best friend, and the narrator for the majority of the story, that is much more down to earth but always seems to get the short end of the stick. Esme has been training all her life to fight The Scourge, and has some hard truths to face in her efforts to defend the world and defeat the deadly demon. The theology that most people use in relation to the terms Hell, demon and God are called into question, with a twist on the stories we have been taught as our creation or history.

The twists on theology, premise and action scenes in Black Tattoo make it an okay read. However, the lack of depth to characters and the use of several cliques and twists I saw coming within the first few chapters keep it from being more than an average read. If you enjoy coming of age tales with strong fantasy flavor that includes demons and strange creatures, then add this to your list of things you might want to read. However, if you are looking for something exciting and new to get you through the dog days of summer I suggest skipping the novel, at least until you are out of other reading material. While Black Tattoo was far from the worst fantasy novel I have read, even when narrowed down to just young adult novels, it was also far from the best.
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