by Jocelynn Drake
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 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 might just make it through this enchanted world alive.
I’m always on the lookout for a new, good urban fantasy series. Though Drake is a known name urban fantasy world, she’s managed to slip my radar until now. Angel’s Ink was getting good buzz at ALA earlier this year and I was lucky enough to snag a copy. I think tattoos are beautiful (though I am too fickle myself to commit to one) and was immediately intrigued by the idea of being able to get a tattoo imbued with magic.
The story revolves around ex-warlock Gage Powell. Tired of the cruel and superior attitude of the witches and warlocks, he left his training and now lives in exile among the humans. Though banned from doing magic, Gage has found a way around the rules and runs Asylum, a tattoo parlor where he offers permanent ink with a little something extra. He’s aided at the shop by Bronx, a troll with a good heart and Trixie, an elf with secrets of her own. Gage can’t seem to stay out of trouble though and, after a tattoo goes very wrong, he must try to fix it while surviving more than one enemy.
Angel’s Ink reminded me a lot of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. You have a warlock who is in trouble with the magical council and who isn’t allowed to do (much) magic. Gage has his own guardian, much like Harry Dresden, who is tasked with keeping tabs on him. One step out of line and it’s execution time. However, unlike Harry Dresden, who always seems so martyred and put upon, Gage has a brighter outlook on life. He’s just trying to run his business and live a normal a life as possible. It’s hard not to like Gage. He’s smart, funny and very loyal to his friends. He wants to do the right thing, even if that means putting himself at risk.
I also really liked Gage’s friends and fellow tattoo artists at Asylum. Bronx, the big hulking troll, isn’t as mean as he looks. He’s a steady and calming presence and he has a big heart. Trixie is kind of what you would expect from an elf – pretty and sweet but with a bit of spunk.
The story was well paced and action packed. I think there could have been a few less fights (seriously when wasn’t Gage getting tossed around?) but it certainly kept things interesting. There were a lot of sub-plots going on within the story, but I was able to easily follow along. The story also has a pretty hot romance, which I wasn’t expecting and was a pleasant surprise.
All in all I found Angel’s Ink to be a very entertaining read with really likable and complex characters. I really want to learn more about Trixie and Bronx and what happened to Gage in the Ivory Towers. Drake’s created a rich and magical new world that I am happy to have found. There’s still a lot more to learn about this world and I am looking forward to following Gage and his friends into the next chapter.
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.