Review: Angel’s Ink (The Asylum Tales #1) by Jocelynn Drake
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.
Love this new series! Absolutely love it. A brilliant start to a new series.
A firm departure from the dark gritty world of Drake’s DARK DAYS SERIES and its sophisticated & self assured heroine, Mira. THE ASYLUM TALES is like a HARRY POTTER for grown-ups.
Gage is the only apprentice to have ever walked away from the wizarding world. A natural talent with a huge conscience and a heart of gold Gage doesn’t want to be a hero he just wants to live his life, his way. But much like Robert Rodat’s heroes (Benjamin Martin in “The Patriot”, Captain Miller in “Saving Private Ryan”) trouble always comes looking for him. He’s not the usual UF/PNR hero but he’s the kind we should see more often. The hero who is a scrapper. Good looking in a rugged way, honest , decent – not some cartoonish muscle bound Alpha male who is emotionally stunted, world weary or jaded waiting for some young girl to warm his heart.
Gage leaves the wizarding world and apprentices with a tattoo artist, Atticus Sparks, before branching out to start his own shop. Gage soon discovers that his magical talent can be combined with the ink in his tattoos to pass along a spell. [Got to love the tongue in cheek here. Atticus – an old Roman name for a man who copies letters; and Sparks -“something that sets off a sudden force” according to Merriam-Webster. Pretty good name for a tattoo artist.]
Gage’s shop, Asylum, and his two friends/employees, Trixie – an elf he harbors a secret crush on; and Bronx, a troll who watches his back while acting like his conscience, have created a nice place where folks & supes from all over can get awesome ink with a little “POW”. All Gage has to do is keep his promise to not use magic and the Ivory Tower Wizarding Council will stay off his back. But as luck would have it – Gage inadvertently changes the fate of the world with one tattoo and all hell breaks loose. A side note – Drake’s use of the name Ivory Tower is an interesting choice but could also be taken as unimaginative. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory_Tower
The sub plots are just as intriguing as the main story. The characters are imbued with some wonderful quirks and plenty of depth. The action is fantastic – barely letting up. But Drake still manages to give our hero some tender moments and humor. Huge props to Drake for bucking the trend in most PNR/UF by providing Gage with a love interest who is not a young girl with daddy issues. Trixie is cool & sexy and can take care of herself.
Tattoos have played roles in several PNR/UF novels Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer Series, Marjorie Liu’s Hunter Kiss Series, even an anthology, INKED. But the Asylum Series is different because the artist is the protagonist. Compared to the only other series I’ve read with a magical tattoo artist, Anthony Francis’ Skin Dancer Series, Drake’s work is worlds apart in quality and style (Francis’ was one of my first DNFs).
I highly recommend this series. The sequel to ANGEL’S INK hit the shelves in May 2013 Dead Man’s Deal: The Asylum Tales. There are also two prequels: THEASYLUM INTERVIEWS – BRONX and THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS – TRIXIE out on the streets.