Early Review: Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake

, by Kt Clapsadl

Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake 
The Asylum Tales #1

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.


In Low Town there is a tattoo shop where clients go to not only get fantastic ink, but also a little something extra to go with it. Gage can stir potions beyond imagination that give luck or love, or something decidedly darker as his unique background gives him a very large edge over the competition. He was to be a member of the Tower, Warlocks who rule over all with a iron and cruel fist, yet he turned his back on all of that at a great risk to himself. To keep his life from being forfeit he had to give up all rights to his magic with the exception of self-defense, or risk immediate execution. Yet, when things start to get a little dicey, the temptation to use magic to solve his problems gets a little harder, and he starts to break the rules placing both him and his friends right in the cross hairs.

I absolutely love Gage as he is a complex character that seems to have a knack for getting himself into trouble. Luckily he seems to also have the skill to get himself out of things too. He holds a great deal of power, but also has a strong reluctance to use that power when it comes to the offensive. Even when he, or the ones he cares about are threatened, he still makes every effort to resort to non-lethal and lessor means of response, where as his counterparts absolutely do not extend the same courtesy. He also has a fierce protective side that only endeared him more to me. Although, I will say that he should have been a little more forthcoming to his friends earlier on as it was obvious they had his back no matter what, even if he couldn't see that. I have a feeling it still will be a long time coming before he can learn to ask for help rather than being all lone ranger all the time. Speaking of those friends, I also really enjoyed both Bronx and Trixie's characters. Bronx is a huge and tough brute that has a soft side that is blatantly obvious to anyone who looks past that gruff exterior. Trixie on the other hand isn't quite such an open book, and despite her confessions to Gage about her past, I still think there is a lot more to her than really meets the eye. I look forward to getting to know her and the rest of the cast better in future books.  

As I write this review, I can't help thinking that I may just be impossible to please. Typically first books in any new series are rather slow for me due to the massive amount of world building that is required to set things up. In fact, some of my absolute favorite series had a pretty rocky start, but once book two came around I was irrevocably hooked. I just have a tendency to get a little frustrated with the slow build up that is involved as I always want to hurry things along to the action. That being said, Angel's Ink seems to completely avoid this issue by focusing almost of its attention on plot rather than the world set up. In all honesty, this led things to feeling a little disjointed and chaotic, especially when you add in the multiple threads of the different plots without any real explanation of the many different types of creatures. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't lost or overly confused about anything, it's just that things were pulling in several different directions that it had a feeling of a lack of focus. I just wish one of those plot threads had of been removed and saved for a latter book, while that empty space was in turn replaced by some much needed world building. Even just a little bit more would have gone a long way I think.

Coming off the intense high of the final Dark Days series made this book have a pretty tough act to follow, but when it is all said and done, Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake was a good start to this new series. Despite my wish for more information about the world behind it all, Angel's Ink more than held my attention as I was rather enthralled for most of the book. I doubt I could have put it down for very long even if I had wanted to. So, if you are looking for a fresh new world in the Urban Fantasy genre that has a very unique premise, then Angel's Ink is sure to strike your fancy.

(Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss)

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Other Reviews:
Previous Books:
     0.5. The Asylum Interviews: Bronx
     0.5. The Asylum Interviews: Trixie




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