Book Review: Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake

Angel's Ink is the first book in The Asylum Tales, an urban fantasy series, by Jocelynn Drake. In this series the world is full of magic and supernatural creatures, but the witches and warlocks lord their power over all with brutal and careless disregard for humanity. On the streets of Low Town there are tattoo parlors where you can certainly get some quality ink, but for a price that ink could carry a little magic bonus as well. Gage owns one such tattoo parlor and he is goo at his job, a little two good. Like his two employees Trixie and Bronx, Gage is hiding something about himself but his walls are about to come crashing down. His former teacher has returned and is trying to kill him, meanwhile an unhappy customer, a customer that got much more than she bargained for, death and more are all vying for Gage's attention. Can he sort out the problems that seem to be gathering while keeping his friends safe, or is everything Gage cares about going to be destroyed.

Angel's Ink is a solid introduction to a new series. The world and character building was well done, however I was left wishing that it had been a refresher course like it must have been for those that had read the two prequels. Everything was made clear, and quickly, but I just liked the world enough that I wished I had already been familiar with it. The Asylum Tales series takes place in a world where elves, warlocks, werewolves, trolls, and all nature of paranormal creatures are abundant. Using unique potions and special inks with just the right symbol, Gage can fulfill any heart's desire for a price. Gage has magic and was originally trained to be a warlock. However, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruelty is the norm, a decision that cost him the right to practice magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment will be quickly executed by his guardian. He has tried his best to keep his head low, but Gage can't hide from a powerful warlock who wants him dead, or the secrets of his past. His two employees and friends are Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx have their own secrets and troubles. There is crime, obnoxious patrons, cruel or corrupt people with power; in fact the world is not so different from what we are all more familiar with. That is why the 'fantasy' portion is so much easier to roll with, because the universal truths about human nature still holds true.

I liked that after the initial build of of information the action rarely stops. I love a main character that can laugh at himself and the world around him even when there is nothing to laugh at. Gage accepts his faults and still keeps trying to do whatever he can to keep everyone else safe. The level of action and the self depreciating nature of Gage reminded me a little of the Dresden Files from Jim Butcher. Like Harry, Gage is confident (to a point) in his powers, willing to risk himself in order to protect others, and trouble just seems to gravitate towards him. The similarities did not make the story feel old, rather it felt like the two might have been good friends and make an unstoppable team if they ever joined forces.

I highly recommend Angel's Ink to readers that enjoy urban fantasy. There is a smattering of romance, and a wee bit of sex, but this does not overshadow or become more important that the rest of the story. Readers that enjoy The Dresden Files series, Nightside series, or any other well done urban fantasy with more trouble and action than romance, ought to give Angel's Ink a read. I think the male lead and the fact that the romance is not the fore front of the story gives the book more universal appeal, in other words guys can get into this tale just as easily as female urban fantasy fans. I look forward to going back and reading the prequels; The Asylum Interviews: Bronx: An Asylum Tales Short Story and The Asylum Interviews: Trixie: An Asylum Tales Short Story, as well as the second book in the series Dead Man's Deal: The Asylum Tales.  
Post a Comment