Series: The Asylum Tales #1
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: Oct. 16, 2012
Source: Received from publisher via Edelweiss
Buyer beware . . .
Looking for a tattoo-and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of true love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using his unique potions-a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks-to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart's desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has its price.
No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him the right to practice magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment-execution-will be swift.
Though he's tried to fly under the radar, Gage can't hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead-or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage just might make it through this enchanted world alive.
Why I Chose to Read Angel's Ink:
I received a review offer from the publicist, and the moment I saw the cover, I knew I had to read this book.
In a world where supernatural beings and humans have an uneasy coexistence, the power of magic is everywhere. Even in the Ink.
Angel's Ink represents everything that I love about Adult Urban Fantasy. You have characters who a complicated, tough, and have that extra special supernatural edge, a plot that is full of tension and action, and brilliant, gritty world-building. I didn't realize how much I had missed these elements in my reading, but this book was quick to remind me, basically, by the end of the first page.
Angel's Ink centers around tattoo-parlor owner Gage Powell, a man who walked away from the Ivory Towers, home of the most powerful of beings, witches and warlocks. Tired of the cruel, insensitive training and the discriminatory stance on humans, Gage was willing to give up everything, even his right to use magic. The only time he is able to perform magic without the threat of execution is in self-defense. But suddenly, Gage is defending himself at every turn.
Gage is joined at Angel's Ink by Trixie, an elf, and Bronx, a troll. Bronx, despite what we might assume of a troll, was so much fun, a big sweetie. He's very astute, yet very quiet. Bronx is the muscle in the shop, but also has a soft side for Gage and Trixie. Trixie is perfection. Many books tend to have strong female love interests who are prickly, try to keep the leading man at bay with dirty looks and sarcasm. That's fun, usually, but it's also nice to have a girl who isn't trying to push everyone away. Trixie is a tough girl, she wouldn't have survived her own crazy past otherwise, but she was also easy to adore. Her affection for Bronx and Gage was apparent.
Angel's Ink has a nice assortment of secondary characters, all who serve a distinct purpose in the story. There's Tera, a sweet human who's innocent request sets of a tragic chain of events; Gideon, a warlock who is tasked with watching Gage, and has a very surprising side; cruel Simon, Gage's former mentor at the Ivory Towers, Sparks, who gave Gage when he re-entered human society; Sofia, who was just plain crazy fun.
To say that Angel's Ink had an action-packed plot would be a massive understatement. From the first line of the book, Gage is confronted by people who want to do him in. Between the people who want Gage out of their way for leaving the magic community, an unsatisfied customer, to the freaking Grim Reaper, you could easily say that, yeah, Gage is up to his ears in trouble. But along the way, you see true friendship, a developing relationship that is both sweet and sexy, and people who will sacrifice to save those the love.
Now for the world-building: Angel's Ink has it, and it is So. Damn. Good. Drake has built such an elaborate, well-explained, very complete world. The first thing that hooked me, Gage uses potions to give his ink special enhancements. Seriously, tattoos are everywhere in books these days and I love it! There is a back story that explains who is in power (witches and warlocks) and how it was established (the Great War). The supernatural hierarchy was detailed, from the top of the heap, witches and warlocks, to the bottom, pixies, whose organs are harvested for potions (infuriating, right?!). Drake included so many great details such as: vampires can't be inked unless there's garlic in the potion, are super whiny and have extreme OCD; trolls can't get tatts because their thick skin will not absorb the ink, werewolves are perfect for getting tattoos because they have great skin, though they need to constantly shave, and being in packs causes them to be repeat customers. I took two whole pages of notes of all the things I loved about Angel's Ink. The nerd in me was so stoked by all the great tidbits that took a good story and made it fantastic.
Angel's Ink delivered a Home Run in what I'm sure will be an fun, thrilling, sexy series. If you need a heavy dose of Magic in your reading life, be sure to give Angel's Ink a go.
"My lips brushed against her temple as I spoke. Her scent wrapped around me, helping to ease the last of the tension still humming in my frame. I didn't know whether I was trying to reassure her, or was simply clinging to something good and wonderful for a few moments in an effort to blot out the horror of our reality." (eARC, 7%)
"The less people knew about me, the better. When there's a monster under your bed, sometimes it really is best not to look." (eARC, 17%)
You can purchase Angel's Ink at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository