Review: Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake

Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake

Title: Angel’s Ink (The Asylum Tales, 1)
Author: Jocelynn Drake
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager (20th June 2013)


Looking for a tattoo – and maybe a littel 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 speical 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 practise 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.

Rating: *** (3 stars)

ANGEL’S INK by Jocelynn Drake is the first book in The Asylum Tales. It tells the story of Gage Powell a tattoo artist with a mysterious past. He’s known as the best skin artist in town, and he’s the person to visit if you want a tattoo with a little something extra. When Gage’s past comes calling and a mysterious customer comes in search of a tattoo, he has no choice but to gamble everything on the slim hope of survival. Everything has a price in Gabe’s world; sometimes the dice are not stacked in your favour but you still have to roll them.

This book is an intriguing beginning to The Asylum Tales. There is a lot going on and Drake does a good job in setting up the trilogy; introducing the world and the characters. For me this book felt a little slow weirdly as there is a lot happening in it. Despite having a slow start, where I found it quite difficult to get into the book, once I did get into the story the pages just flew by until I suddenly found myself at the end. I liked the fact that although this is the first book in a trilogy when I reached the end of it the book felt complete.

The book is narrated in the first person by Gage, which I think works well. Gage is a complicated character, and I think if we weren’t in his head he could be a difficult character to like. The basic plot of this book follows the consequences of some choices Gage has made; most of the choices happened before the book begins, but they have far reaching costs. There are also a couple of hinted at subplots, which I’m hoping Drake will explore in future books. Overall this book serves as an introduction to the world and characters, and it does that well. There are possible hints about what the rest of the trilogy could be about, but for me there’s almost a standalone feel to ANGEL’S INK.

As the narrator, Gage is of course the main character of the novel. Drake also provides a couple of secondary main characters in the form of Gage’s friends Trixie and Bronx, who seem interesting but quite often get pushed aside by Gage. They do have quite a bit of page time, but I found it frustrating that Gage seemed incapable of asking for help. Drake also does a reasonable job with the secondary characters that Gage meets, though some of them came across a bit flat.

Overall I think ANGEL’S INK is a good solid read for anyone who likes the urban fantasy genre. Drake creates an interesting world with a complicated main character. Also there aren’t a lot of sex scenes, so if you’re looking for an adult urban fantasy that’s low on them then you might want to give this book a try. Although I did not love this book, I honestly quite enjoyed it and am looking forward to exploring more of the world in the future.

One thought on “Review: Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake

  1. I can think of maybe half a dozen urban fantasy novels that have done tattoos and inking as a major story element for their main character, but so far, I haven’t seen one that blows me away…the search continues!


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