Book Review: Tattoo Atlas by Tim Floreen

Tattoo Atlas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: ARC via Publisher
Publication Date:October 18, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Point of View: First Person ( Rem)
Genres & Themes:  Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy & Adventure,  LGBTQ+


A teenage sociopath is “fixed” after he gets an implant that’s supposed to cure him in this thrilling coming of age tale from the author of Willful Machines.

A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.

Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.

Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?

Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.

But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too?


This is is a mindfuck of a book; simply, and crudely put. And as such, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

There’s some universal truths about me: I don’t like apples, but my favorite smirnoff flavor is apple. I hate bad ending, but I’ll look it over if the storyline is still amazing, regardless of the lack of HEA. Ever since I was in high school, and after a traumatizing ‘Not HEA,’ I’ve started this thing in which I look at the ending of a book. A lot of people don’t get it, and honestly I don’t need them to get it, it’s my thing. It’s my anxiety problem, it’s my security blanket. And so, naturally, I looked at the ending of this.

The question I get every time I confess this thing I do is, “Well, why would you want to read the book if you know the ending?” and the thing that gets me every time is how people believe the ending is what I read a book for. It isn’t, and it never was, and it never will be. Last time I was asked this I said, “As cliche as this sound, it’s not about the ending or the destination, it’s about the journey.”

“Being a nice person isn’t the same as being a good person, you know.”

What a journey is Tattoo Atlas. That’s what made this experience all the better for me; not the ending, but the journey Rem and Franklin went through. If any of you have Willful Machines, you know that Floreen writes an intricate storyline with technology and human nature and problems. He weaves it so that by the end your mind is in perpetual state of question.

“For better or worse, science had reduced the whole huge question of good and evil to a matter of electric impulses.”

Can evil be cured? That’s the question for Tattoo Atlas. Can a sociopath be cured through science, can empathy be created or stimulated through science? This book is a mindfuckery. For more reasons that one;

one, you feel conflicted if you should be pairing/sipping Rem with Franklin.

two, Franklin killed Rem’s best friend

three, first twist happens, and maybe shipping isn’t inappropriate

four, the twists and lies mount and you don’t know what to believe

five, lies and lies and lies and truth come out and you don’t know who to blame

six, the ending.

“Guys are straight lines.”

This book had so much going on, and never was it overwhelming. There’s tragicness, and drama, and questions, and doubts. One of the hardest part of this novel was Rem, Tor, and Lydia. Honestly, I felt angry at Rem for so much, and of course Tor, and really Lydia deserved better from all of them. The ending I wish could have been a little more deserving for Lydia, but I’m glad that topic was rectified.

“A fragment of Rem Braithwaite to mix with all the fragments of Franklin Kettle.”

As for Rem and Franklin, I’m still unsure of how to feel. I’ll be honest and say that I shipped them for a while, and maybe I still do. The whole question of evilness and is it evilness or is it about a person doing evil things?

I just really loved how everything weaves together, and how you doubt yourself so many times. How Franklin is developed throughout the novel, and how things don’t appear to be what they are. I’d really love to discuss this book with others because it’s so intricate, and at the end of the day it was amazing and creating so many emotions.

“After the Big Band, in my mind, I’d made him a monster. And later I’d made him innocent. When really he’d been neither.”

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