(Annorlunda Books, January 23, 2018, pb, 83 pp.)
Reviewed by Stephanie Wexler
Jane Sparrow is a walking enigma in Michelle Rene’s “Tattoo.” Due to Judgment Day everyone is marked with all their past deeds starting from birth for all to see. Apparently, the world can now judge a book by its cover, except for Jane who is mysteriously unmarked. No one knows why, but it doesn’t stop the hysteria, hope and panic to spread like a viral plague. However, there are a select few who see her beauty. Despite their lot in life scrawled across their skin, they feel an inexplicable pull to protect her life.
The concept of Judgment Day is steeped in mysticism. Finding a way to bring a fresh voice to a rich biblical retelling is a challenge. Rene’s method of starting at the end and spiraling backwards through various characters’ viewpoints seems tedious. The only character who seems to answer any questions about Jane and/or the state of the world is the tattoo artist Dakota. Even when the story finally does wind down to the god’s purpose for Jane, it leaves more questions than answers. Yet, if Gods, inexplicable miraculous acts of faith-based mysteries are a page turner for you, then dive in and enjoy!