Oct 16, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake (The Asylum Tales #1)

Urban Fantasy
October 16 2012
Trade Paperback
368 pages
Harper Voyage
Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Gage

From Goodreads –
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.


Angel’s Ink is the first book in Jocelynn Drake’s new The Asylum Tales series.  I have heard wonderful things about this author’s work so when I noticed that she was starting a new series I jumped at the chance to read her.  I’m glad I did.

Angel’s Ink is about a warlock ‘sort-of-in-hiding’ who runs a tattoo parlor called Asylum.  People and beings can come into the shop to either get a ‘regular’ tattoo or to get Gage and his crew to mix in a bit of potion to heighten the tattoo and giving it extra power such as luck or love.  In Jocelynn’s new world, warlocks use their power to make others fear them – something Gage wanted nothing to do with and the reason he left The Ivory Towers.  The premise of the series is fantastic.  And it’s told from Gage’s perspective which I also found unique.  You don’t often find books written by female authors being told using a man’s point of view.  And she did a good job with it.  Not once did I think “this is a woman writing as a man”.

I loved Gage as a character.  We’ve only just started scratching the surface of his story and I for one am looking forward to reading more about him.  His power, even though he is not supposed to use magic at all, seems to have grown since leaving the Towers and I’m curious to see how that will impact not only his life but his friend’s too.

Gage has two co-workers in his tattoo parlor.  Trixie and Bronx.  Trixie is an elf and doesn’t realize that Gage knows what she is.  She was cute and fun to read.  She’s also Gage’s love interest and I found they went well together.  Trixie has a pretty important plot line in the book that sort of came out of nowhere a bit into the book and it continues on.  The book ends hinting that hers will be a main plot in the next book.

Bronx, I loved him!  He’s a troll and the strong silent type.  But when he did talk it was important and meaningful.  And his actions spoke so much of him.  He’s loyal, smart and I found myself smiling when he was on the page.  There was just something about him.  He too is the subject of an odd and out of nowhere sub-sub-plot line that I know will continue in the next book.  His plotline really seemed forced in there though since it was introduced close enough to the end of the book and not enough of an explanation came along with it.  Let’s hope a little clarification comes in the next installment.

As I already mentioned twice, there are a lot of plotlines in this book.   The book opens with Gage facing off against an irate customer and then facing off with his guardian, Gideon (another great character by the way).  Then we meet Tera, a young woman who is dying of cancer and who wants angel wings tattooed onto her back.  That one was a great storyline.  I would have loved for the entire book to be just about that one but it wasn’t.  In fact, I found that this story fell to the side of the others after a while and that was a shame.  I liked Tera and her story broke my heart.  Her explanation of why she wanted the wings on her back gripped my heart.  But then Gage’s tattoo mentor and warlock mentor are thrown into the mix and Trixie and Bronx’s problems are shoved in there on top of the already too many story lines…it really was just too much.  And the storylines weren’t all introduced in the beginning of the book.  Nope.  Once you settle into one plot, the next one jumps out so you can’t focus on the first one or two or three because you are finding yourself thinking on the fourth, fifth and sixth!  I understand that the author was setting things up for the next books in the series but in doing so, she made it difficult for me to fully embrace any of the stories.  With a couple out of the way by the end of Angel’s Ink, I’d hope that the stories will be more refined in book two.

The world the author created, while a good one, seemed just thrown together.  I am thinking it’s like this because it is stuck in the middle of all of these plots and sub-plots and sub-sub-plots and that in the next book the world will become more refined.  At least I’m hoping that is the case because the frame is there and what I see, I liked.

Because the bones of the story were solid and the characters were good, I am not kicking this series to the curb quite yet.   I feel that this series has a lot of potential and I just think that the author has to streamline things a little bit.  Because really, Jocelynn has a great writing voice and the pacing of the book was nice.  So before giving you my true opinion on the series, as opposed to just this first book, I am going to give book two a try.  Then I think I’ll have a better feeling of where this series is headed.  Angel’s Ink had its issues but I still believe it is worth reading.

3.5 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“’Are you fucking insane?’ she shouted as I checked the one window in the living room.    …

‘I’ve begun to wonder that myself,’ I said lightly as I moved into the bedroom.  Sanity was beginning to appear highly overrated. I was managing quite well without it.”

  1. Interesting review! I’m hesitant about too many plot lines but I really liked the author’s atmospheric voice in her last series so I’ll check this one out.

  2. I totally agree with you the character were awesome. I was a little afraid to be the only one who a had a problem with the plot so I was glad to see your opinion. great review!

  3. I am reading this one right now so not reading your review. I looked at your rating though and it is pretty on par with what I think so far 🙂

  4. i really enjoyed this one. i am definitely going to read book 2. and yay bronx. love him.

    thuy @ nite lite

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