Series: The Asylum Tales #1
Published by Harper Voyager on 10/16/12
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Source: ARC, Edelweiss
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In a world that is naturally filled with magic, it only makes sense that many of the non-magic folk (like humans) could use an edge. In this world, tattoo artists aren't just tattoo artists. They are also licensed potion stirrers. For the right price, they can help you get an edge. Need courage, love, or luck? A tattoo artist can stir a potion to be placed in the ink of a tattoo that can help you achieve those things. Unfortunately, Gage has a secret that keeps coming back to haunt him despite his attempts to keep his head down and his nose somewhat clean. Lucky for him, he had a pair of employees that help him out. The first is Bronx -- a patient troll who manages to keep a level head and his sense of humor when things get bad. The second is Trixie -- a elf who is pretending to be a human because she's got her own problems, but she still manages to make time to give Gage a hand when he needs it.
Angel’s Ink is the first book in Jocelynn Drake’s immensely creative new urban fantasy series, The Asylum Tales. The Asylum Tales world is an open one (meaning that everyone knows that supernatural creatures walk among them) and is full of any and every supernatural being you can think of plus a few that would probably never cross your mind at all. There are elves, trolls, incubi, succubi, vampires, weres, pixies, and even vestal virgins. Yes, you read that right, in this world there are vestal virgins and they are some seriously creepy ladies. The vestal virgins were introduced in The Asylum Interviews: Bronx which is one of two prequel e-novellas related to this series. The other is The Asylum Interviews: Trixie. Though they aren’t required reading, I suggest checking them out, as they are a great introduction to the series.
When you have a world full of all things scary, there has to be something keeping them in line. In The Asylum Tales world the big bad are egotistical, power hungry warlocks and witches whom reside in Ivory Towers and scare the bejesus out of everyone. No one wants to cross them and end up on the wrong end of one of their wands. Believe me when I say that warlocks and witches are creatures with which one does not want to frak with.
Welcome to Low Town, where things don’t just go bump in the night and tattoos can be magically enhanced. Want to give your love life a boost or feel you need a little luck? Head down to Asylum Tattoo Parlor where you’ll meet Gage, the only warlock in training to ever escape the Towers, Bronx, a troll with a heart of gold, and Trixie, an elf with a past she’d love to forget. These tattoo artists are talented and can stir a potion like nobody’s business, but even if they have all of the ingredients needed for your special tattoo, keep in mind that ingredients do go bad and sometimes a tattoo turns out wrong…..
Gage, the main character in The Asylum Tales, is former warlock in training who is no longer able to use magic for anything other than protection; that is if he wants to stay under the radar. When a dying girl comes in to see him to get her first and only tattoo, Gage feels bad for her and wants to do something to help. He decides to enhance her tattoo with an ingredient he shouldn’t have and swore he’d never use. Little did he know that by doing what he thought was right, he actually set events into motion that he has no control over. Events that will heavily impact not only his life but also the life of those around him. Every time he turns around, he’s digging himself a deeper hole. Poor Gage just can’t seem to catch a break.
I am a huge fan of Jocelynn Drake’s other dark urban fantasy series, Dark Days (if you haven’t read it you should because it is A-FRAKKIN-MAZING), and was super excited when she announced that she had a new project she was working on. Once I found out the series was about a warlock who owned a tattoo shop and could do magical tattoos, I squeed like a freak. I am a collector of tattoos and finding a fantastic world built around the idea of magically enhanced tattoos made my inner fan girl/tattoo-addict jump up-and-down in glee. Mad props to Jocelynn, who did a lot of research for this book. I’ve been around tattoo shops for most of my life, have seen the inner workings, and she nailed it. Well, minus the magic aspect. *grins*
I loved everything about Angel’s Ink; the character development, the plot, the world-building. There was a lot of action, a little smexy time, and some humor thrown in in the form of vampires with serious OCD issues and an incident involving a Chihuahua. You’ll get a kick out of the Chihuahua bit, believe me. I nearly choked on my coffee.
Jocelynn Drake has a huge imagination and I can’t wait to see what she has planned for The Asylum Tales. The secondary characters in this series are so rich that you can’t help but want more of them. Bronx and Trixie are fantastic and I look forward to learning more about the both of them. Angel’s Ink was made of awesome and between the creative world building and the very likeable characters, The Asylum Tales has a lot of potential for development. Gage was a very intriguing character and I look forward to seeing what kind of trouble he gets into next. I highly recommend Angel’s Ink to any and all urban fantasy lovers who are looking to spend a little time in a new place. The Asylum Tales is by far my favorite new urban fantasy world. I give Angel’s Ink 5 stars.
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